One of the appeals of this property was the big block (2300 sqm) with established fruit trees and other fruity delights. Ian has been working hard to get a handle on the overgrowth and we have both been turning our attention to what can be done with the produce.
My initial forays into preserving some of the garden bounty have been with mixed success.
Firstly I wanted to find something to do with the abundant cherry plums available in our back yard (the trees are technically in our neighbours' yards, but they hang over our back fence).
After looking around for recipes I came across Sally Wise's blog and an entry devoted to cherry plums. Sally is a local and appears to be a preserving guru. So I gave the jam a bash and the results were great, a little tart as promised and the high-pectin fruit meant it set really easily. The colour was the biggest surprise - it looks almost artificial in its intensity. I am planning to try the cordial recipe as well.
I was also keen to make use of the chamomile that had gone nuts in the abandoned vegie patch. I figured it would be good dried for tea. It seemed to be the common advice to use only the flowers, no leaves or stems. Ian and I harvested a quantity of the flowers, dried them on trays and I spent a number of evenings snipping the stems close to the individual flower heads. Unfortunately, the resultant tea was very bitter (sorry to my guinea pigs Susie and Liz) . I am not sure why it turned out so unpalatable, but I do not think I will go to the effort again.