Forage and Preserve


Pamela loved to forage in hedgerows and to make use of seasonal ‘free’ produce. And, if there’s a glut, you preserve. That could mean jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles and liqueurs (also the famous exploding elderflower cordial). Here, in Australia, it’s spring and there’s plenty of citrus about. In Scotland, I suspect there are late summer fruits and maybe brambles and sloes, ready for the picking in the hedgerows.

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Cumquat’s from Annie’s garden.

I’ve been on an amateur adventure into the land of marmalades, pickles and liqueurs lately – channeling Mum, as I can’t bear to see lawn-fuls of fruit going to waste. Although I don’t have ample citrus trees, many of my friends do and I have always liked the idea of homemade goodies to give away at Christmas or to donate to a charity fundraising stall. So…

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16 year old gin-soaked cumquats! (These will be going in this year’s Christmas Cake.)

On discovering a quick marmalade recipe in Pamela’s recipe book, I put a call out for fruit and I searched for jars to prepare. I came across two Kilner jars of fruit in the back of a cupboard. Mum had preserved cumquats in gin and plums in brandy about 16 years ago, when we lived in Greenwich, Sydney – and these were the very same jars with the same said fruit! Although the majority of the liquid had long been consumed, some gin still remained – and wow, it’s good stuff!

Perfect neat or mixed as a cocktail with a squeeze of lime and a slice or two of fresh cumquat. Cheers to Mum & Dad.

Recipes coming along in the next couple of posts for Quick Marmalade, Lime Pickle and Cumquat Gin.

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Pamela and Ross, circa 1950. Cumquat gin, circa 1999 – served 2015.

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Cumquat gin, with tonic, squeeze of fresh lime, slices of fresh cumquat.

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