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Our Jane Austen festival dresses and bonnets arrived this week! I ordered the girls each a dress in the same pattern but in different colors and a poke bonnet to match. I am going to spend the next few weeks embellishing the dresses with some beading or lace or ribbons.

Meanwhile, my eldest daughter is in the United Kingdom right now with her church handbell choir on a concert tour. A few days ago, she played at a church situated about two miles from Bath, where Jane spent five years of her life. Though Jane did little writing while in Bath, and stated she did not like the resort city, it’s clear she took notes on the people she met, and blended characteristics of their personalities into her more interesting characters. Lily told me she could see why Jane loved to go for longs walks in the country-she says the scenery is gorgeous.

This is the church in Bathford, a little village two miles from Bath.

This is the church in Bathford, a little village two miles from Bath.

My ongoing Jane Austen recipe series continues with a gem that I have been dying to make ever since I spotted it in The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black and Deirdre LeFaye.

For children, a cheap preserve.  But delicious!

For children, a cheap preserve. But delicious!

This is the easiest jam you’ll ever make in your life-and it makes good use of leftover pieces of fruit. It’s funny to me that the instructions state this is a jam for children-probably because it’s a mixed up combination of fruit. I think it’s a wonderful addition to any biscuit or bread at tea time.

In this batch, I used strawberries, two apples that were starting to shrivel, and a couple of really ripe pears. Peel the skins off the apples and pears. You can also use peaches or plums-just be sure to blanche them first to remove the skin.

Those pears were on their last day.

Those pears were on their last day.

I did not can these-although you can to preserve them longer. I merely put mine in canning jars and set them in the very back of my refrigerator, where they lasted for several months!

Ingredients
• 2 pounds of fruit-strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, peaches, plums, currants, or gooseberries in any combination you like.
• 2 cups of sugar

Instructions

Remove the skins off any fruit like apples, pears, peaches or plums by peeling or blanching. To blanche, boil a saucepan of water. Drop the peaches or plums, one at a time, in the water and count to ten. Remove and put the fruit in a sink of ice water. After about a minute, the skins on the fruit should peel right off for you!

Chop fruit into small pieces.

Ready for cooking down!

Ready for cooking down!

Place all your fruit in a large saucepan. Mix in the sugar. Cover, and heat the mixture slowly to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft, stirring frequently.

Take the mixture off the stove and let cool for a bit. Pour into a blender and pulse for about 10 seconds.

The preserves in the blender.

The preserves in the blender.

Pour the mixture into your containers and can or refrigerate! I got two pints and a half pint container out of two pounds of fruit.
Enjoy!

You can see we had nearly finished the half pint by the time I got around to taking my beauty shots.

You can see we had nearly finished the half pint by the time I got around to taking my beauty shots.

Happy tea time!

Happy tea time!

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