Friday, October 15, 2010

Easy Rosehip Jam

This is the perfect time of year to use those bright crimson seedpods from your rosebushes for a delicious and very healthy product. When I look at recipes for rosehip jam, it surprises me that people are willing to do so much painstaking work and add so much sugar. If you have a Passevite (get one now!) it will make the job so easy.

(Top Photo)First, collect the hips by cutting them off the tip of the branch, which you hold with a good protective glove (those prickly branches could spoil your enthusiasm!).

(Photo #2)Here you see a 10" colander filled with 1 kilogram (2 lbs. 4 oz.) washed and picked over rosehips. Cover them with water in a saucepan, place a lid on the pan and cook gently for about 20 minutes. From time to time, stir and mash the fruit.

(Photo#3) Now put about 1/6 of the mixture in the Passevite (using the medium-sized sieve) and let this gaget do the hard work of separating the seeds and stems from the fruit. Throw out the debris after each portion has been pressed through the sieve.

(Photo#4)You will get at least 2 cups of very thick rosehip puree. If you are not a fan of jams, freeze the puree in portions (for example in an ice cube tray). Use the frozen portions in your smoothies, to add zing to a gravy, or for a wonderful mousse dessert. If you get more puree because you had more cooking water, it is fine: you will just need to cook the fruit a bit longer to get the jam.

(Photo #5) Now cook the puree with only 1 and 1/4 cups sugar for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly because it is thick. If your puree is more liquid, then you must cook the jam longer and it will get darker. You will know the jam is ready when you drop some in a glass of cold water and it holds together at the bottom of the glass.

Sterilize 2 small re-cycled jam jars (350 gram capacity) by washing them with boiling water and placing them upside down on a clean tea towel to dry. Have them ready before you cook the jam!

(Photo#6)Pour the finished jam in the jars and screw the top on tightly. When they are cooled, you will hear a popping sound as the vacuum inside pulls the lid down. Add a label with the date.

This jam makes a perfect Christmas or birthday present for those health-conscious friends!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Garden Story

There is a row of apartment buildings in Hawkesbury that have only a strip of lawn and a row of honey locust trees in front of them. I asked the property manager whether he would object to my creating some perennial gardens.

He gave permission and I started in May by stripping a 12' by 9' area of the lawn and putting a 5" rubber edging around it to keep the grass out.

In June, I got some help to ram in 2 t-bars to hold up my trellis for the honeysuckle ("Lonicera"). In front of that, I planted a dappled willow ("Salix integra") and, in front of it, three Sedum. Behind the trellis, to one side, I sunk a perforated tin pan with two wild summac saplings. They have to stay in the pan to keep their pesky runners from invading the whole flowerbed. I love their foliage and brilliant crimson leaves in the fall. In the empty spaces, I added some campanula for next spring.

Later, in July, I put in lots of Cana lilies and snapdragons (the garden supply stores were throwing them away!). This project was so much fun that I went ahead and made two more flowerbeds.

Now it is time to say good-bye to my gardens for the season. The Canas have to be dug out and stored in peat moss, the salix cut back and the snapdragons composted. I will leave the sedum: they stay gorgeously maroon in the winter snow.