Category Archives: Preserving Fruit

Preserving the Summer!

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The abundance of summer and early autumn fruits are ideal to be preserved, to warm up a winters day.  I have been generously given by ‘Mi vecinos baskets of mangos, apples, limes, and chilies.  So it was time to get my big pan out and get busy.

These are two of my favourite recipes that I adapt according to what spices, sugar, and vinegar I have in the larder.  The aroma as they bubble away is so comforting and is an ideal job to do when you have a few hours to while away, chopping, stirring and jarring.

 

Spiced Apple fruit chutney:  Ideal with cheese, cold and roasts meats & pates.

Mango chutney: Ideal with curry, poppadoms, bhajis, loaded on cottage cheese, or on top of baked brie.

 

Both recipes would make ideal Christmas presents for a ‘Foodie’ part as a hamper for a family gift.

 

 

 

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Ruby Pomegranates !

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As every year, I’m always delighted when the first Pomegranate is ready or ‘Granada’ as they are called in Spain.  They hang dripping from the trees on the mountains. some splitting with their over ripeness, giving a sneaky peak to their ruby-red jewel’s inside.

I use them as much as I can when in season, Pom Raita, Pom Punch, Pom Cous Cous , This year I created a lush salad with other fruit  and herbs in season, Poms, watermelon, feta, rockets, nuts and local jamon and olives delish !

Pomiliicious Salad

Pomiliicious Salad

I also went about creating my first Pomegranate Molasses, an ingredient that I use a great deal in Middle Eastern cooking, but surprisingly have never been able to find locally , the results were fabulous.  Now I have the ruby spectacular syrup to take me through the winter months.  I also jarred cute bottles for friends for ‘C’ just can’t say the word yet, I hope they’re not reading !!

POMEGRANATE MOLASSES…HERE’S HOW !

Pomegranates

Gather as many Poms as you can.

 

Slice in half.

Slice in half.

Juice the poms.

Juice the poms.

Pomegranate juice, 20 poms makes about 1.5 litres !!

Pomegranate juice, 20 poms makes about 1.5 litres !!

Put the juice in a pan, with 2 tbs of sugar and a juice of a lemon, bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered to reduce to a thick pouring consistency, then bottle.  Will keep in the fridge for several months.

Bottle of ruby nectar Pomegranate Molasses.

Bottles of ruby nectar
Pomegranate Molasses.

 

 

 

To enjoy another day..

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Preserving fruits and vegetables, is the most glorious way to capture a moment and save the memory for another day.

When I open a jar of something that I have pickled , jammed or chutnied, I remember back to the time of year the ingredients were picked, the weather, & what was happening in my life – To open a jar of homemade Mint jelly or Sun-dried tomatoes, transports me back to warm summer, fun filled lazy days – When I open a jar of fig chutney, the end of summer  & autumnal scents

Boiling Lemons

and a time to begin routine once more springs to mind.

This week I have preserved a winter & springtime jewel, the Lemon, handpicked off our trees. Preserving lemons will allow me to use them in Summer dishes of Moroccan & arabesque flavour, as well as adding to a simple chicken for the most delicious roast.

My normal method to preserve lemons is very simple & cost effective, and lemons will be ready to use in a months or so time …

 

Method :

Scrub lemons and cut them into quarters but stopping before going all the way through.

Stuff the lemon with a tablespoon of sea salt.

Put the lemons into sterilised jam jars, stuffing them in.

Allow them lemons to purge overnight, then top up the jars with squeezed lemon juice, till the top of the jar.

Store until ready to use.

Preserving Lemons

A new method I tried this year I think will become my favourite – It was taken from the delightul book ‘Arabesque’ by Claudia Roden. This time I boiled the lemons whole, in water & salt until softened, then put them in jars with oil – I added herbs of fennel seed & cinnamon sticks, then I can use the oil too, for roasting vegetables.

Lemons in Oil & herbs.

Harvest Time

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Seems an age since I’ve blogged, well it’s not that I’ve been sitting idle. I decided to re-write my website

La Rosilla – Catering

and give it a new look, gosh that took some time, much more than I’d planned. So my scribblings about life on the mount, have been out of the window for a while. Although not putting my happenings in type, they’ve still go on..never a dull moment on the mount.  So while flowers come back to bloom after fresh rains, Autumn brings with it some mountain house keeping, and preparations for the months to come.

Living in our own olive grove, with some 50 trees scattered precariously on rockie ledges and hard to reach places, the annual task of pruning and harvesting the olives, isn’t one we look forward to with relish.

Olive Picking La Rosilla

 

So this year when our neighbours , offered to do the job in exchange for oil. We jumped at the chance. The Mulos, had flattened the areas under the trees a few months before ( Think the neigbours were planning ahead) so two days later, after they proposed their question, our trees were plucked, shaken and pruned.

We kept one tree for ourselves for eating olives. We have a lovely old Hojiblanca tree, whose olives are too beautiful to press. A big bucket load was gathered, then each olive was bashed by hand, by all the family, a laborious hand aching job, taking care not to crush the stone. They were washed then put in a large jar, filled with clean water. We will leave them in here, changing the water daily, until they can be eaten without tasting bitter, some say a week – I say more like 4 weeks. After this curing time, I will bathe them in spices, and salted water, and some special few, will be put into the our 0live oil a little honey, a squeeze of orange, cumin & bay. These will be enjoyed at Christmas with our Jamon –Deliciosos.

Olives Curing in Water

So with olives curing, and trees pruned – We only hand to clear the debris and prunings, so after the week-ends rainfall, we set to our annual bonfire. A sense of Hunter gatherer all around.

 

Next on my preserving agenda Quince Jam & investigating ideas for my ruby grapefruits – I have millions ….Suggestions on a postcard please 😉

Caqui , or Persimmon to you ;)

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My virtual ‘Twitter’ friend @carolmarybyrne, like me lives in rural Andalucia, but although I’m up in the ‘Montes de Malaga’ and feel quite high and remote, at least when some visitors arrive, they often speak about altitude sickness !!! Carol is higher in the unspoilt Alpujarras 1114m UP !

We share a love, of local, fresh home grown produce – We share a love of recipes, cook books and we share a love of sharing this..Gosh that’s a whole lot of sharing going on.

So when I read Carols blog post today ,  I asked if I could share it .

Our next fruit on the seasonal platter is the Kaki, or Persimmon to many, it grows natively in our neck of the woods.  And can be seen its orange globe like presents hanging from it’s tree, well that is if your goat hadn’t eaten your tree, as happened at La Rosilla.

Below Carol shares her recipes to enjoy these fruit at their best…Take note , if you don’t you could be spitting feathers 😉

Persimmons!

08 Nov 2011 Leave a Comment

by toptapas in spanish, tapas Tags: , , , , ,

I have been sooo lazy with this blog!  As November starts I shall make an early NY resolution to get on a bit more with it.

We are so lucky to live here in Las Alpujarras and I guess I just neeed to have my camera at the ready a little more – we are spoilt with the bounty of food that we receive from neighbours and friends, and the amount of wild food available, and we do use it all – I´m a great preserver! – I just need to take more photos and blog it as I do it…

Today the bag was from Antonio and the contents a ton of Caqui fruit – persimmon to you!

Now, if you´ve ever taken one and bitten into it straight off the tree – yeuch!

Straight from the tree?

Like the olive – no way baby!

Astringent is the only word, these little fruit can dry your mouth in seconds…………..but there is a trick.

Place a circle of them whole and unpeeled in a stainless steel container, with a shot glass of any clear alcohol – Gin, Vodka – whatever in the middle.

Allow them to ripen and the booze will do the trick of removing any astringency like magic.

Also, slice some harder ones across the middle and lay them on a cake rack on top of your log burner if you have one…or the airing cupboard if you have one of those!

Allow to dry naturally for a super chewy fruity vitamin packed snack…kids love them. Go Moroccan and casserole with Chicken or Lamb.

Use the fruit for cakes with dark brown sugar – yum . Or place in a lidded container with vodka and sugar and allow to develop into a Christmas drink with a punch – wow!

I love Autumn – the fig season has ended – the Granadas – Pomegranates – are nearly all burst open with their fat red jewels – but we still have the Caqui, citrus fruits, wild Saffron Milkcap mushrooms and the olive harvest to come….Like a good Joanne Harris novel – bottles and jars are rattling with anticipation!

 

You can follow Carol’s blog TopTapas here