Last week we went on a little adventure to Gladstone Park Gardens Allotments on a cloudy summer day. Well, I say ‘adventure’ but it was only a 10 minute drive from the heart of Hampstead.
My sister is lucky enough to have a patch in this inner-city oasis, and I joined her early one morning to harvest beans, onions and damsons…as well as to soak in all the green-thumbed gorgeousness that abounds. After a morning of ogling flowers, fruits and vegetables (and butterflies, bumblebees and birds) my eyes and spirit felt refreshed! I hope these photos have the same effect on you.
We returned home carrying bags full of produce, and got to work making jars of jam from our damsons and onions. Of course, you don’t need to grow vegetables yourself in order to make jam, and you don’t need specialty ingredients either. Scroll down for simple recipes to make your own homemade preserves. But first, let’s explore the allotment.
Caramelised Onion Jam: I’m sure you can imagine the heavenly aroma in your kitchen while this is boiling away. Slather it onto sandwiches instead of Branston Pickle, or use it as a relish substitute with your BBQ burgers and sausages. It pairs brilliantly with cheese as well.
I served up my onion jam on crostini made from pan-fried sliced bread. This works particularly well if the bread is slightly stale. Throw some salt, pepper and a few fresh sage leaves into the frying pan with the bread to liven it up. It’s delicious and simple.
Damson Jam: These small, sour plums make for a vibrantly coloured sweet-tart spread which is just as lovely on toast as it is served with cheeses. It also makes for fabulous (and not overly sweet) jam tarts! We can’t guarantee that your stovetop won’t get sticky, but it’s definitely worth it.
Making homemade preserves is truly much simpler than it sounds . Give it a go! You’ll end up with several jars of long-lasting deliciousness for yourself and your friends and family, which is never a bad thing.