Monday, 29 July 2013

Chickens, broccoli & jam

Interesting blog title did you think?

My sister, a few weeks ago decided she would like to have a go at growing her own, I gave her some veg plants, she bought some seeds, pots & a plastic greenhouse & listened to me as I talked about getting some chickens next year. Her husband thought it was a great idea, I have spent several years talking Mike round to the point he agreed, unfortunately lack of space means it will be next year for me. My brother in law purchased a coop with a run, he built a larger run to attach to it & at the weekend bought four chickens.


They are so entertaining, & they really do have their own characters, I really can't wait until I get mine.

Onto the the broccoli, in an earlier post I mentioned I hadn't netted my summer brassicas. I wasn't too worried as I had been out morning & night to remove caterpillar eggs & the odd caterpillar. I now know why I was only finding a few caterpillars, the little horrors had migrated to my pristine looking broccoli heads. I cut two heads for dinner last night, very lovely they looked to. To ensure there were no lurking caterpillars I cut the heads into florets & put them into cold salty water. Five caterpillars wriggled out, I left the heads soak for a bit longer. Another caterpillar was found in the bowl.  I changed the water to a warm salty mix, after a few minutes six more caterpillars were found. I gave up then, I didn't want to eat the broccoli & the family were none to keen either. The plants will be donated weekly to my sisters hens in return for some eggs, I shall make lemon curd & cakes instead. If that isn't a lesson in why you should net yours brassicas then nothing is.
Several weeks ago as the strawberries were ripening in the sun they were lovely & sweet. Now they are all ripening at once they don't seem so sweet so I made some jam.
Yes you can buy jam very cheaply in the supermarket, but jam made simply with your own fruit & some preserving sugar really has to be priced at the luxury end of bought jam.

500g of freshly picked strawberries, a good squeeze of lemon cooked over a low heat until there is lots of juice in the pan & the berries are soft. Add 500g of preserving sugar & stir until dissolved, boil for 10 - 15 mins before doing a jam test. ( a spoonful of the mixture on a cold saucer, if it wrinkles when you push your finger through it is ready if not boil it for a couple of mins more & repeat). Pour into sterilised jars & there you go. Yum, it really is a divine.

Enjoy your day

20 comments:

  1. Cost isn't the only consideration - you are right to make your own.

    Such a shame about the broccoli!

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    1. It is so easy to make too, & yes it is a shame, my own fault for not netting it.

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  2. You can buy jam very cheaply in the supermarket, but it tastes absolutely nothing like jam made with your own strawberries. Yours looks lovely.

    Shame about the broccoli 'caterpillar infestation', but the chickens will sure be very grateful and it will make the yolks of their eggs delicious, so I guess all is not lost.

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    1. Why thank you, it tastes fantastic, I have never had enough strawberries to make jam with before, I have made lots of other jams but never strawberry. The chickens will be very pleased with the broccoli.

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  3. Sorry about you broccoli. You jam looks amazing, supermarket stuff maybe cheaper but at least you know exactly what is in your jam. X

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    1. I am very pleased with the jam. It tastes lovely. If I had netted the broccoli it would have been fine.

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  4. I never thought to check the broccoli heads before we ate one the other night.. they are netted, but it sounds like the caterpillars hide themselves well!

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    1. They do hide extremely well, however if you netted your crop it should be fine.

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  5. I don't keep chickens but do find them entertaining, I don't eat broccoli so don't grow it and I much prefer raspberry jam.
    Thank goodness that we all like different things otherwise our blogs would soon get a bit boring, which thankfully they never are. Flighty xx

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    1. They are huge fun a lot of responsibility which is also part of the reason for putting them off until next year. I rather like raspberry jam too, I make it when my autumn bliss raspberries have a lot of fruit on them.

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  6. I gave up growing my own brassicas for this very reason. And they are so cheap in the market. It has been a lot less stress growing other crops. I have really enjoyed growing sweet peppers and all sorts of chili peppers.

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    1. I am just growing the tender stem broccoli next year, under netting of course. Sweet peppers will also be a crop I'm not growing next year, I have never been successful at them.

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  7. Funnily enough my broc wasn't netted and I haven't had any problems so far - touch wood. I have found that if a butterfly gets in under the netting and they can't escape they do even more damage. Home made jam is fab but is getting quite expensive to make with the cost of the sugar, but well worth it. I bet you can't wait to get your hens - have you decided how you are going to make room for them.

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    1. I buy the sugar through the year so I'm not hit with the expense all at once & yes I know how we are making space for the hens. My little greenhouse is being removed.

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  8. What a shame for your broccoli. I wouldn't have wanted to eat it either!

    The chickens are very entertaining I love to sit and watch mine.

    Laura.

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  9. Don't be such a wuss.... The caterpillars taste just like broccoli, and have the added advantage of protein! Ours is sadly all finished, and the strawberry jam is in the larder.

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  10. I bet the chickens will love the dinners of broccoli with a side of caterpillars and homemade Jam is 10 times better then shop bought.

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  11. Your jam looks great far better than the stuff you get in the shops i made carrot jam this year sounds strange but tastes nice i will be visiting again soon

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  12. Your jam looks great far better than the stuff you get in the shops i made carrot jam this year sounds strange but tastes nice i will be visiting again soon

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  13. Your jam looks great far better than the stuff you get in the shops i made carrot jam this year sounds strange but tastes nice i will be visiting again soon

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