Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Homegrown Fruit .... and Costings

The next harvest to come in was the Blackberries, picked from the wild brambles in our woodland.  We only pick the ones we can reach from the paddock side of the fence, leaving all the rest, and there are LOTS, for the wildlife .... they have to eat too!!  

The dogs hate the days we stop to pick blackberries, they like to keep moving not loiter at every bush.  At first they seem to find it entertaining, but like little children they get fed up with the novelty of Mum and Dad moving along sooooo slowly and soon want to move on to the next thing, not visit every bush along the full length of the paddock.  

We managed an impressive 1.5kg between us in just half an hour or so.

Added to the apples I mentioned in yesterday's post and some more that had fallen off the cooking apple trees by the next morning, I had a total of 1.5kg of mixed cooking and eating apples, so three kilos of fruit to process.

Lovely Hubby's request was for Bramble Jelly, so after bringing the fruit and 2 litres of water to the boil, and then simmering it all for around half an hour it was all tipped into my jelly bags and left to drip overnight.

There was a pesky fly buzzing around the kitchen so I draped everything with some tea towels ... I don't want wildlife in the jelly!!

I decided to price up what the fruit would have cost me to buy just out of interest, and I was shocked to find out that this amount of Blackberries would have been £20 and the apples would have cost around £2.60 ,  Wow, over twenty two pounds worth of fruit for free, how glad am I that we have this wonderful resource on our own land, and they just grow away with minimal help from us.

With the fruit pulp happily dripping through the jelly bags I was in 'squirrel mode' and looked to see what else I could do to save us some money and I found half a loaf in the breadbin.  Lovely Hubby loves a shop bought white tin loaf every now and then, but usually he leaves some behind when he goes back down south to work.  Mostly I'm kind and after it goes nice and dry I give the chickens a treat and break it up for them, but in 'squirrel mode' I decided this time it was for us.

So it was quickly whizzed up in my little processor and turned into breadcrumbs which were promptly tipped into a labeled tub and put straight into the freezer.

Having the price comparison site up while I priced up the fruit I decided to price up the breadcrumbs too.  I could only find plain fresh breadcrumbs in Asda which came out at £1 for a tub of 150g., mine weighed around the same.

Then I found these ....  

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Lemon & Pepper Crust Breadcrumbs (135g)

...  at just  £1.85 Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Lemon and Pepper Crust Breadcrumbs 135g tub.  (£1.37 for 100g)

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Thick Sliced Soft Wholemeal Multiseeded Batch Bread (800g)

You could buy a full quality loaf for less than this price, use some of it as fresh bread and then whizz up a few slices to make your breadcrumbs, a few twists of your pepper grinder and a quick zest of half a lemon and you would have something twice as tasty for a fraction of the cost and the satisfaction of it being homemade too.

Sainsbury's Basics Medium Sliced Wholemeal Bread (800g)

Or of course you could buy a value brown loaf and make up a massive 800g of breadcrumbs for just 40p

As they say 'You pays your money, you makes your choice'.

I know what my choice is.  I'm off now for the final stage in my Bramble Jelly making  ... the best bit, I love a kitchen that smells of homemade jam  :-)

Sue xx

If you want to use mysupermarket to compare prices here is a link ....  http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/


  1. I am going to introduce my brother and sister in law to your blog. They live out in the wilds in Devon and have a huge apple orchard. They sadly do nothing with all the apples. They just fall off the trees and basically rot. The last time we visited I bought 3 carrier bags of apples home (a 300 mile journey) and made some crumbles. They also have several raised beds, a large greenhouse and a large field but their interest is the house, not the potential for growing crops unfortunately. (Mrs LH)

    1. What a shame!! It must break your heart not to be able to salvage more from them.

      Could they get in touch with Land Share or something similar, and there are organisations and cider makers who would come and pick all their apples and put them to very good use.

    2. I will suggest that when we see them shortly. They're always interested in new ventures. I will be coming home in a fortnight though with a boot full of apples if I can!

    3. It's maybe a bit out of the way where they live, but here people leave apples in boxes or carrier bags outside their gates with a sign saying 'help yourself'. Could they put up signs inviting people to come and gather what they want or advertise in their local shop/newspaper? Just an idea.

  2. Must try for blackberries on this off shift, they looked like they were approaching peak a couple of days ago

  3. you have inspired me to go blackberring

  4. Yet another year with very few blackberries around here. It's just too dry - even though we had quite a bit of rain in the last few days.

  5. I've noticed they are quite small in Essex but at a friends in Surrey the other day they where huge. I still pick them to make seedless jam. I'll be back out at the weekend.

  6. Love foraging for free stuff!

    I've noticed you've used the words 'squirrel' and 'squirreling' a few times recently. Maybe an idea for your challenge title next year lies there ;-)

    1. Haha .... I think I am using that term because all day long I see squirrels running off with our produce, they must have better Winter storecupboards than me!!

  7. Yum I love bramble jelly. I've been collecting them & freezing them, also teaching my husband the etiquette of only a few from each plant! x

  8. I've never made jam and although it's something I would love to do I'm a bit scared of it. I'm not sure about sterilizing the jars and you seem to need a lot of equipment. I would be scared of poisoning everybody!
    I do make loads of crumbles with blackberries though x

    1. You really don't need much to try it out. A big deep pan, some jam jars and lids and a wooden spoon. Keep it simple until you know it's something you want to do more often, then gradually get yourself a proper jam pan, funnel and thermometer.

      As for sterilising your jars simply put them in a low oven for ten minutes or through a hot cycle in the dishwasher if you have one. Give the lids a good wash and rinse and then once you have bottled your hot jam into the hot jars put on the lid and invert the jar. The hot jam sterilises the lid and tipping it means that no bacteria will form in your jam.

      Google 'simple jam recipes', there's loads out there :-)

    2. I was scared the first time I made jam too, but it's really quite simple.

    3. I didn't realise that sterilizing was so easy! I'm going to give this a go. Thanks very much to both Sues for your advice x

  9. Blackberries are my favorite. I wish they grew where we are!

  10. Why not call it your Tufty Time? IIRC Mrs Tufty was always cooking, storing & providing for her family and that sounds just like you!


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