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Courgette Jam (with some cucumber)

Courgette and Cucumber Jam 3

I didn’t have quite enough courgette to use up the 1kg of sugar in my cupboard, so there was an added 150g cucumber to make up the numbers.  We were quite surprised by the result of this, as it’s a very marmalade style texture and taste, but without the tartness.

I will definitely make this again.

I didn’t do any of this picking out of the pips.  They all went into the jam.

Courgette Jam (with some cucumber)

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Preserves
Cuisine Scotland
Servings 3 x 1lb Jars


  • 1 kg Peeled and Chopped Courgette and Cucumber. Chop into small squares or slices.
  • 1 kg Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Sachet Tate and Lyle Pectin


  • Remember to prepare your jars for use. Sterilising them while your jam cooks.

  • Either steam the vegetables, or add a little water and bubble the courgette and cucumber on the stove, until the vegetables break down, and boil off any excess water. I think I overdid this, but it hasn't made any difference to the jam. Mine is lovely, but a little thick.

  • Add the sugar and pectin to your jam, folding it into the courgette and cucumber.

  • I use a hand stick blender at this point to mulch down most of the seeds. In the end, I only had a few left, which wasn't a problem.

  • Then let the sugar dissolve over a low heat, then rapid boil for up to twenty minutes, or until your jam reaches setting point.

  • To find out if my jam is ready, I keep a couple of teaplates in the fridge for a few minutes, then let a few drops land. When the surface creases if you push it with the back of a spoon, your jam is ready.

  • Serve as usual, like any other sweet jam.


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Pickled Beetroot Preserve & Foraging Fox Beetroot Ketchup

We have to admit to being beetroot fans around here, and I’m going to talk about two different beetrooty things today.

1 – The Beetroot Ketchup sample sent by the Foraging Fox.

2 – What I’ve done with the beetroot from our plot this year.

1 – Beetroot Ketchup

Foraging Fox sent us some beetroot ketchup to try, which was a no brainer as far as middler is concerned.  He’s not much into tomato ketchup, but he sure does love his beetroot.

The ketchup is made from naturally sweet beetroot, with apples and spices making up the distinctive taste.  I have to say, that I’d find this amazing in a home-made potato salad or coleslaw, for an extra taste kick, but our sample got used up so quickly, that I didn’t have time to make anything else with it.

2 – My Pickled Beetroot Recipe

We prefer it in sweet vinegar from the shops, and this was my first go at preserving some for using later, as we had so much from the plot.

I’m not 100% sure how long this will actually keep for, but at the rate my middle child goes with his beetroot, I can’t imagine it being around for too long.  There have been occasions where a jar has only lasted a day with him.

DSC_0669 DSC_0685


Pickled Beetroot Preserve

Lesley Smith
Course Preserve
Cuisine Preserve


  • 3 kg Beetroot
  • 1 Litre White Vinegar
  • 400 g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Sterilised Jars


  • Put rinsed beetroot (with skin on) into a big preserve pan and simmer for between 30 - 40 minutes, or until the skins on the beetroot can shed by rubbing your fingers across them. To do this, I have to take a beetroot from the pot, and run it under the tap, cooking it enough to try taking the skin off.

  • While the beetroot is simmering, put your vinegar and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. At the beginning, the vinegar solution will look cloudy. Add in a salt, and also ensure the jars are sterilised for use. When the vinegar mix clears, it's ready for use. Take it off the boil.

  • When the beetroot are ready, peel off the outer skins and slice the beetroot, then add it to the pan of white vinegar. Some people use the beetroot cooking water for jarring up, but I didn't like the look of it, and I wanted to allow the sweetened vinegar to work its magic.

  • Fill your jars and leave the vinegar solution to soak in with the beetroot overnight. Then, enjoy your pickled beetroot.


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Apple & Cucumber Jelly Jam

Apple and Cucumber Jelly Jam

With an over abundance of cucumbers from the plot, finding things to make with it, is more difficult than it looks.  We also had a bag full of small apples from the communal apple trees down there, so I made a lovely version of jam, that is more like a jelly version, as it was whizzed by my hand-held mixer until all the bits dissolved into the jam.

I suspect much of this will be added to stir fries over the winter, as it’s a perfect mixture of sweet, yet I can still taste the cucumber, which is odd, given that in the cucumber and courgette jam, I couldn’t taste it at all.

Apple & Cucumber Jelly Jam

Lesley Smith
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Preserves
Cuisine Jam
Servings 8 Jars


  • 1.5 kg Mixed Apple and Cucumber. Peeled washed and chopped into bite sized pieces.
  • 1.5 kg Sugar. I used caster sugar for this recipe.
  • 1.5 Sachets Pectin from Tate & Lyle
  • 2 Knobs Butter


  • Put the apple and cucumber into a large pot with a thick bottom. This is a fairly large portion for a home preserve session, so a decent preserve making pot is a good idea. My one is a Lakeland special and is one of my favourite kitchen pots.

  • Put the heat on and slowly let the fruit and veg break down a little, just enough to soften it. If you need to, add a tablespoon of water at a time, but be sure to bubble it off before you add the sugar.

  • Add the sugar and pectin, along with the butter, and bring to a slow boil. This is when I take my hand mixer and whizz the mix, to smooth it out. Be very careful if you do this, as you're dealing with boiling sugar and it's very easy to spray yourself. I have managed to spark myself with boiling sugar and it's very painful indeed. Take extra care if you do.

  • Let it rapid boil until your jam reaches the setting point, when the jam wrinkles slightly when you put a drop onto a chilled plate.

  • Jar the mixture into sterilised jars, then simply enjoy whenever you need it.


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Rhubarb Jam Recipe: Garden Goodies

Rhubarb jam has to be one of the easiest to make.  I’ve been a bit lazy with the first batch from our allotment this year and just used preserve making sugar instead of adding lemon juice.  Last year, my rhubarb jam was just a tiny bit too runny, although it tasted gorgeous, but the hope was to have a slightly more set jam this time round.

I used the red stalks to make rhubarb crumble, so this jam is more brown in colour than the lovely reds that come from using red stalks.

Rhubarb Jam 2

Rhubarb Jam Recipe: Garden Goodies

Lesley S Smith
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Preserve


  • 1.5 kg Rhubarb washed and cut into 1cm lengths.
  • 1 kg Preserving Sugar


  • Put the rhubarb and sugar into your pan, mix and leave overnight. There will be a fair amount of slushy watery content in the morning. You might want to use a hand blender to mush down your rhubarb now, or you can wait until the mix is boiled, but at that stage, you would need to take much care, as you are dealing with boiling sugar.
  • Bring your rhubarb to a slow boil, melting the sugar.
  • Let the rhubarb bubble on a simmer for around 5 minutes, then test the jam on a plate, with a drop, then see if it sets. If it does not thicken, simply put it back on the heat for another few minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Take the jam off the boil and leave it for ten minutes before you put it into you readied containers. Make sure these are sterilised and warm before you put hot jam into them.


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Foraged Wild Blackberry Jam Recipe

At the weekend, two of my boys decided to pick some blackberries.  With the instruction of not to pick below waist height, I hope they stuck to it, but if not, we’ll never know for sure.

I used golden caster sugar for a change for this recipe.  The taste and smell while it was cooking was the best of any jam I have ever made.   It’s also not as sweet as strawberry or rhubarb jams.

It would be amazing served warm with ice cream.

Blackberry Jam 3

Wild Blackberry Jam Recipe

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine Baking
Servings 4 -6


  • 800 g Wild Blackberries
  • 750 g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 50 g Butter
  • 4 tablespoons Pectin
  • 50 g Water


  • Put the washed blackberries and the water into a thick bottomed saucepan. Simmer for around 10 - 15 minutes to soften the fruit.
  • Add the golden caster sugar and bring to the boil slowly.
  • Add the pectin, then allow the jam to rapid boil for around 5 minutes. Add the butter.
  • You might have some scum to scoop off the top, or you might not have. Whichever way, let the jam settle for a few minutes after turning off the heat, and place it into clean and sterilised jars for storage.

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Raspberry Jam Recipe

Easy Raspberry Jam Recipe Using Jam Sugar

Silver Spoon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Bread
Servings 4 -6


  • 1 kg Jam Sugar
  • 1 kg Raspberries
  • 50 g Butter


  • Put raspberries into a thick bottomed pan. This needs little crushing as raspberries break down quite easily.
  • Add sugar to the raspberries.
  • Bring to a slow boil, stirring while the sugar breaks down and melts.
  • Add the butter and allow to rapid boil for approximately 4 minutes. Stir.
  • While the jam is cooking, wash jars in warm soapy water, then place on baking sheet for around 10 minutes at 170 degrees. Take out of the oven a few minutes before you are ready to put your jam into it. The ideal conditions are to put your jam into jars when the jars are still warm,
  • Cover the jam jars if you plan to keep some for later, and simply keep until you need it. Once a jar is opened, make sure you refrigerate it until it is used. I used small jars and from this recipe, I filled 5 small/medium sized jars.


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Easy Strawberry Jam Recipe

For this recipe, I used Silver Spoon Jam Sugar to avoid having to use pectin.  As a rule, strawberry jam can be tricky to set, but there were no problems at all using this recipe.  I’d even go as far as saying it set too much, so I might be tempted to slightly up the fruit to sugar ratio for my next batch.

We have had loads of strawberries from our plot this year, so making jam for the next year has been a sensible idea.  It’s nice to think that due to the plot, we won’t have to buy jam for a whole year.  It’s an impressive achievement considering we only had about 4 strawberries in total last year.

[gmc_recipe 28704]

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Microwave Lemon Curd Recipe

Making recipes easy and quick to do always sits well with me.  Toffee is quite hard to make in the microwave, but lemon curd is as easy as saying 1.2.3.   To cook lemon curd (lemon cheese) on a stove, you need to do a pan within a pan of water method as the curd can’t sit directly on the heat unless you want it to curdle.

Buy lemons fresh.  Lemon juice in a bottle won’t cut it for this unless you want a very tart curd.  This made a fair bit and in the microwave you need a good-sized jug or bowl as it does expand a lot while you heat it up.  I’d be tempted to go down to quantities of 3 eggs, 200g caster sugar and 100 or so grams of butter at my next attempt as I ended up with rather a lot.  I started off basing mine on the recipe at BBC Food and their quantities probably are good to follow if you want less than we had.

You will need a couple of small jars to put your curd into.  Make sure they’re washed and dried before using them and your curd will keep for up to 3 or 4 weeks in the fridge.

Lemon Curd Recipe

3 from 2 votes


  • 4 Lemons Grate the zest.
  • 4 Eggs
  • 330 ml Lemon Juice From Fresh Lemons
  • 130 g Butter - Unsalted if possible.
  • 275 g Caster Sugar


  • This is easy. Just whip the sugar and eggs together until they are smooth. I used my food mixer for ease. Then it was just a case of stirring in lemon juice, zest and butter.

  • Cook in the microwave for one minute at a time and take it out to stir at the end of each minute.
  • When the mix is thickening and leaves a good coating on your spoon after stirring, it's ready. This could take longer than 5 - 10 minutes if you have a lower wattage microwave.
  • Pour into jars to set, pop into the fridge and enjoy.





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Gorgeous Red Cranberry and Cherry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry Sauce

How to make cranberry sauce is something I have wondered for a while.

I wanted to try something different, and visiting Cosco saw me pick up a box of fresh cranberries that I fancied using to make a sauce for Christmas Day. I’m pleased to say it was easier than I expected to do, and it’s a recipe that I will probably make every year now. I would however, make it in far less quantities than I’ve ended up with as it is just to go with turkey trimmings.

I intend to freeze some tonight to see how it holds up when it’s defrosted at a later date.

[gmc_recipe 9529]