Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Crab apple and rosehip jelly

The light is beautiful but I have to be quick,  for the apples turn brown in minutes. 
I have been threatening to buy a terrier for a while and so when I heard that there were some ready for collection I told myself I was just going to have a look.  Even as I write this I am shaking my head and laughing  -  of course I couldn't resist and I bought a little girl home.

Waiting for my husband to arrive home all afternoon I worry that he is not going to be happy.  I am sure that he will love her, but I don't phone him.  I wait, fussing and drinking camomile tea. He walks in the house, straight past her and into the kitchen. I laugh nervously and pick up the wide eyed pup he missed. My instincts are right, and although he tries to be cross he adores her. Her name is Polly .. the children called her Pickle and I think that she might be the naughtiest puppy in the world  .. ever ... and I'm mad about her.

Today the October sun is bright and I go for a bike ride. The weather holds but it takes me over two hours to cycle eight miles. The hedges are full of crab apples and rose hips and I keep stopping to pick them. I suppose really I am foraging, but I must say that the term just doesn't sit well with me and for some reason when I think of the word forage I picture a pig in the Dordogne snorting about for truffles.

I load my harvest into the basket on the back of my bike and reluctantly leave the blackberries and elderberries on the basis that I shall pick them and make hedgerow jam at the weekend.

When I get home  I can't resist cutting them on a beautiful old painted board that shows off the bright red and the acid green.  They smell sweet, appley and tart. The hips burst with seeds and I take no more than five minutes to take a snap shot from above whilst standing on a chair in the garden room.  The light is beautiful but I have to be quick, for the apples turn brown in minutes.

I throw them in to a pan, cover them in water and simmer until the kitchen is steamy and smells like apple pie.  The soft fruit is now sitting in cotton with the juice dripping ever more slowly into a pan and tomorrow I shall add the sugar and make crab apple and rose hip jelly in the morning.

I know that as the children get home from school in the dark in November that I will light a fire, make a pot of tea and spread this peach coloured tart jelly onto hot buttered crumpets.  I think that tart sweetness is even more delicious eaten in front of a crackling fire when it is cold outside.

 The hedges are full of crab apples and rose hips and I keep stopping to pick them. 


  1. Isn't she adorable? The jelly sounds delicious, I can just see those chilly November evenings, so comfortable. Your photographs are, of course, simply amazing, beautiful.
    Jude x

  2. Your puppy is adorable! I've had my eye on a few crab apples myself, just too tempting not to pick and do something lovely with!

  3. She is a sweetie!
    Do you cut out the seedy bit of the rosehips before cooking? I've been told they cause itchiness but haven't ever cooked rosehips before...

  4. Yes .. they do cause itchiness .. we used to shove them down other children's shirts when we were little ... evil I know .. but fun when I was 7!

    The seeds get left in and cooking them stops any itchiness

  5. Simply gorgeous puppy and lovely, evocative posting. Thanks for sharing your day. xx

  6. Beautiful little puppy dog! Love the first photo of the apples and rosehips - real, simple autumnal bounty.

  7. How wonderful! This made me laugh - I did the same thing two years ago - I just went for a 'look' at the puppy's, and ended up with Byron - my own Jack Russell Terrier - they're absolutely gorgeous little scamps - but make sure that your garden has good dog proof fencing - he led us on a very merry ride for the first year - lol! I just bought your book and it's fantastic - I'm having tremendous fun going through it. We are all going bonkers over the peanut blondies - I've made them at least three times and I've only had the book a week! The jelly sounds delicious too - will definitely try that.
    Sorry to have missed the gift swap - it sounded brilliant - well done.
    Paula x


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