Syrian Preserves

I do like to cook so I don’t want the reluctant housewife thing to suggest I am far too busy and cosmopolitan and interesting to be bothered with the stove.

Nothing I like better than pottering about the kitchen, but I never saw myself as a jam-maker.

Still, I had a tree full of crab apples and one of the builders doing our kitchen extension started nagging me to do something with them.

At the time he was dowsing with a wire coat-hanger to find our water supply whilst I was beating nettles out of the way so he could get a better fix.

He did find the supply and also told me of various ways to ensure the best crab apple jelly.

So I made some and handed it around the neighbourhood to the (few) people round here who don’t make their own extensive range of preserves. ( I am of course talking women.)

Last year we had more crab apples – that being the way of nature, though this year the tree isn’t well and is – thus far – in a crab apple sulk or perhaps feeling very under the weather.

Down the road there was also a tree laden with elderberries and of course, being the crunchyside, there were blackberries.

I had been re-upholstering chairs and selling them in aid of Syrian Refugees – see what I mean about being a Sussex housewife – and so decided to make a shed load of pickles, jams and preserves and have a party at which everyone was morally (and insistently) obliged to buy them for the Good Cause.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – it is a long and daffy process making preserves but I persevered. (sorry)

Courgette relish for burgers, elderberry vinegar which I have to say was rather the star of the show crab apple jelly of course – and it got rave reviews when it landed up in a Scottish restaurant via a friend, blackberry jam, pickled peaches for serving with ham – I could go on….

Then I caught sight of myself preening over preserves.

Panic-stricken at the thought of being that woman, I hot-footed it to an exhibition in London and read a book on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Still, the Syrians got a couple of hundred quid so all was not lost.

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