the preserving quest pushes on apace, after a bit of a break due to being a bit .. well, not poorly. i just had a tender back, so took it easy for a bit (did family history research instead, but more on that in another post). This afternoon saw me starting hot crab apple and chilli jelly (which i didn’t think i could make as i couldn’t afford a jelly bag, but encouraged by fn from the Cottage Smallholder‘s blog, i used a (clean) pillowcase instead. So far it’s working, if in a makeshift fashion! I also knocked up some sloe gin, remembered some sloe gin mom made from 2001 (yes, Mom, i kept it that long), drained it and sniffed it to see if its okay. Should be! Made some chilli jam as well. A busy day!

Photos behind the cut as usual..

the makeshift jelly bag

my makeshift jelly bag stand.. garden canes pushed into a pot of soil, the pot to catch the juices from the jelly bag ontop of the soil, the pillowcase wodged ontop of the canes in such a way as to leave a downward pointing corner, held in place with clothespegs. it seemed to work, although a lot of the beginning part went all over the place while i got the pillowcase wodged in the right way.. if i was going to do this again i’d cut the canes, but i didn’t want to do that – wanted to keep them as long as possible. This is being left overnight to drip through – squeezing it through makes a jelly cloudy. It must be left for 24 hours to drip through on its own.


crab apples


crab apples from the garden – windfalls, all. It surprised me that you didn’t need a huge amount for the jelly, only 600g. I love the blushing colour of these, so pretty, and give the juice a lovely pink colour.

chilli jam

Chilli jam. The recipe as given doesn’t make a great deal, but that’s okay. I did one thing different from the recipe, and that’s that i chose to whizz it, if only because i don’t like large bits of tomato skin, and it still looks pretty as it is. I don’t think this is meant to be a jam as in.. set, as it doesn’t say anything about boiling to setting point (and not enough sugar) – think of this as being more like a sweet relish. I haven’t tasted it yet. There’s a LOT of chillis in this, and 2 scotch bonnets – my hands are burning as it is! If i make this again i’ll certainly be using plastic gloves i think.

chilli vodka

Chilli vodka. Just a bottle filled with vodka and some chillis infusing in it. This is already rather spicy (has 2 thin red long chillis in it, deseeded, 1 fat green small chilli, deseeded, 2 scotch bonnets, deseeded and 1 extra scotch bonnet, with seeds) – one very very small sip was enough to make my mouth burn. I had intended this as a gift but i think its already too spicy for its recipient so i may just give this one to Michiel and make another – less spicy – one for the person i was gonna give it to. I also have a lovely recipe for Chilli Sherry i might well try as well – in a few weeks anyway when i can afford to buy a bottle of sherry!


Some of the booze making efforts!! L to R – Chilli vodka (as above), sloe gin (I made today), sloe gin (from 2001- just look at that lovely colour), and toblerone vodka. The last doesn’t look terribly appetising at the moment but i only made it last night. I’m assured the chocolate does dissolve, and makes a lovely gift. It’d better do!!!