Archive for Fruit

First good haul of strawberries

The last few days we have had glorious sunny weather and the strawberries have come on in leaps and bounds.  In the week I picked a dozen ripe berries, but today I picket 2.3 kg of strawberries, that’s over 5 lbs.

DSC06712

I think we will have an abundant crop this year so I shall be making strawberry liqueur, strawberry cordial, and strawberry jam as well as eating them every day.  I do so love strawberries, they are one of my favourite fruits.

If you want fresh strawberries with your breakfast, come and stay at our B&B.

Look us up at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

please “like” our facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/LodgehouseBandB

our smart phone friendly website is http://www.lodgehousebandb.tel

 

Comments (3)

Growing our runner beans and an update on the veggie garden

We don’t have a greenhouse yet and we do suffer from slugs and snails here as we have had such a wet Winter, so I start off our runner beans indoors in the inside of loo roll tubes.

DSC06632

We end up with seeds growing on all the window ledges in the house.

After a couple of weeks they have started to sprout.

DSC06674

And when they are 8 to 12 inches tall I put them outside.  By putting the whole tube into the ground it gives the beans  some protection against the slugs and snails, and gives them a fighting chance.

DSC06688

I tie each little bean plant up to its bean cane so it doesn’t get blown around in the wind.  This year as part of our “no dig” experiment we have laid newspapers down around the bean poles to deter the weeds.

After 10 days or so they are already climbing the bean poles, so a success.  Just need to wait another month now before they produce some lovely beans for us.

DSC06687

Our other veggies are growing well too.  Here are our peas climbing up their pea sticks.

DSC06691

And our cabbages growing in their shrouds to protect them from pigeons and cabbage white butterflies.

DSC06690

This year we spread grass clippings around the potatoes and onions as mulch and again to deter the weeds.

DSC06692

DSC06686

The sweet corn are still small, they need some more sunshine to boost their growth.

DSC06689

We shall have a bumper crop of strawberries this year

DSC06693

And the gooseberries are already forming on the bushes

DSC06694

We are also growing lettuce, tomatoes, courgettes, radish, chard, parsnips, carrots, turnips and purple sprouting broccoli so we should have lots of lovely veggies if everything grows OK.

Look us up at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

please “like” our facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/LodgehouseBandB

our smart phone friendly website is http://www.lodgehousebandb.tel

 

Comments (3)

Strawberries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and jam

Yesterday we picked our first trug of strawberries.  I can hardly believe how laden the plants are with fruit, there are red berries everywhere.

DSC05620

I absolutely love strawberries and it is no problem for me to have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still we have enough over to make jam.  I also gave some to our next door neighbours as they were eyeing them up enviously!!!

Our B&B guests at the weekend had them with their cereal for breakfast.  If you want to share our strawberries then come for a visit.

Look us up at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

please “like” our facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/LodgehouseBandB

our smart phone friendly website is http://www.lodgehousebandb.tel

Comments (9)

Beautiful Blackberries

Last year I planted a cultivated blackberry cane into the fruit cage.  I started to regret this decision when the plant turned into a triffid and produced runners all over the place, but in the Summer it was covered in blossom, and the bees were all over it.  I thought I might get some good fruit from it, and I wasn’t wrong.  The blackberries are not only plentiful but enormous.  Some the size of a 10p piece.  The wild blackberries are more like a 5p piece.

Comparative sizes of blackberries

Last night I picked the biggest ones out and we ate them raw with some creme fraiche, they were delicious, but today I picked some apples from our Bramley apple tree and cooked up some apple and the remaining blackberries with them, to freeze and to turn into blackberry and apple crumble later in the year.

Beautiful blackberries

So now, not only do I not have to go foraging for wild blackberries in the hedgerows, but I no longer regret planting this blackberry plant, as it is producing bountious beautiful blackberries.

www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

Comments (1)

9 wins at the Buckland Flower Show

Today was the annual Buckland St Mary flower show. It’s not just flowers, but vegetables, cakes, eggs, photos, jams etc. We entered a few categories for a bit of fun, not taking it too seriously, although some people do.  It’s very competitive.  The money raised from entry fees etc is going to the Chard Hospital League of Friends, so a good cause.

A selection of veggies and flowers

Anyway, we took our exhibits in early this morning and went back this afternoon to see the results of the judging.  A red card is first prize, a green one second and a blue one third.

prize winning cabbages

My cabbages won a first prize, which was a bit of a surprise.  Of course I never normally pick 2 cabbages at once, there being only 2 of us to eat it, but luckily we have friends coming for dinner tomorrow night, so I can use them up.

I also won first for my courgettes.

prize winning courgettes

I picked about 8 courgettes including some yellow ones and put these 3 in because they were roughly the same size, so that obviously worked.

My blueberries won a second, should have been better than that, our blueberries are gorgeous!!

My blueberries

Neil got a second for his onions, which was really good as we have never grown red onions before.  Last year his onions were not placed but he won a first for potatoes, but this year his potatoes did not win.

Neil’s red onions

Overall we came away with 9 wins, so we reckon we did quite well.  When we got home I laid out all our prize winning products and here is a picture of them all, including a photo that got a third.

All our prize winning products

If you want to sample our prize winning produce, then visit us at www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

Comments (9)

Our first peas and glorious fruit from the garden

We have had a week of lovely sunny weather here and it has done the garden good, bringing on the fruit and veggies after all the rain we have had.  Yesterday we picked our first peas.

Our first peas

They were lovely fat pods of really sweet peas.  We have never grown peas before so this is a definite success.

shelled peas

We had them last night with baked trout and our home grown potatoes – yummy, followed by home grown raspberries that have been so abundant this year we have been eating them daily.

Home grown raspberries

We have the raspberries served with meringues and squirty cream, an unbeatable combination.  Not only do we have raspberries but loganberries and for the first time tayberries, which are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry, so quite dark in colour.

Also the blueberries have been plentiful.  I think all the rain made them swell up, we have never had so many big ones.

home grown blueberries

Our gooseberries are now ripe and I have been picking both green ones and red ones.  I made strawberry and gooseberry jam with some of the green ones and raspberry and red gooseberry jam with the others.

Green gooseberries

Red gooseberries

So what with the blackcurrants and strawberries we had earlier our fruit garden has been bountiful.  With regard to veggies as I said we have harvested peas and potatoes, our beans and cabbages are coming along OK and we have had several courgettes, but our sweetcorn doesn’t look up to much, got dashed down by the rain we had, and the seeds of our carrots, parsnips and beetroot have all come to nothing.  Also there are very few apples on the trees.  Our British weather has a lot to answer for, but we must be grateful for the fruits we do have!!

Our B&B guests will be enjoying freshly picked fruits with their breakfast.  www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

Comments (3)

Beautiful blackcurrants and making Cassis

We planted our blackcurrant bushes the first summer we were here, that is 2 years ago now but this is the first year we have had any significant berries off them.  With all this rain they are big and beautiful.  Easy enough to pick but what a pain they are to top and tail prior to stewing up!!

beautiful blackcurrants just picked

So I decided to look for what else I could make with them, without having to top and tail first and the first thing I came up with was making some blackcurrant liqueur or Cassis.  This is how I made the first batch. First remove all the stalks and leaves.  There is no quick way to do this, you just have to sit and painstakingly go through them all, but still quicker than topping and tailing.  Then weigh the fruit.  You need: 

600g blackcurrants

700ml brandy

400g sugar

6 fresh blackcurrant leaves

1 small stick of cinnamon

3 or 4 cloves 

Add the brandy to a demi john or similar large vessel.   Add the washed blackcurrants.  I did this with a small spoon. You then add the sugar, the cinnamon and cloves and a stopper and give it a good swish round, then leave for at least 2 months.  After that strain the fruit and you are left with a lovely liqueur which you can bottle up.  I have saved my brandy bottle for this reason.

 

 Today I made my first batch with one bottle of brandy, but I am going to get another and double up on the sugar and blackcurrants to make a larger quantity.  It will all fit into the demi john. 

I used the rest of my today’s blackcurrants to make blackcurrant and raspberry jam, using 200g blackcurrants to 620 g of raspberries and one packet of 1 kilo jam sugar.  Delicous and all ready now for my B&B guests for breakfast. visit us at www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

Comments (1)

Older Posts »