Latest posts by gardenjeannie

Get it off your chest

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 01:05

Panda, thanks for that, will try it.

Zoomer, thought I was the only one who called them 'destructions'!  True tho' ain't it?  Especially when they come with flat pack furniture! I mostly buy from other companies if I have to spend REAL money, and I try to get any offer I can from any company, but I still think you get what you pay for, and T&M plants have always all come through, when those from other companies have failed.  And t&m replace them, no questions asked.  Having said that, have had some great buys from the pound shop! (and some c**p, if I'm really honest,but more good than bad.)

Get it off your chest

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 00:47

Hey GF, you took the words right out of my mouth. Was going to email to see if I could sort it.

Lizzie, I have my settings set at that, and have gone back to check on numerous occasions, but it still always takes me to first page.

Diddy, Patience IS a virtue that I haven't got! (According to my late mother!)  I have infinite patience in my garden and grooming dogs, but very little with technology (and some people, ha)  If I ask my computer to do something, like remember me to log in, or to remember my settings, it is a machine and should do it.  Why ask me then suit itself?  I often want to use man's best friend on it, or chuck it out the window

Get it off your chest

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 16:17

Welsh onion, I've never had a problem with any of their seeds, even very old packets have germinated well. The catalogue does give plenty of info, and I love that I can use my tesco vouchers, so I don't feel guilty about spending too much on plants.  Although I have to agree trhat they are a little dearer than others, the service has always been brilliant and the plants very good quality.

How do you store tom chutney...

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 16:12

Hi, again, Tea.  Shall I pickle your neighbour you while I'm at it? Although that smell might not be so cosy....

Don't suppose you still have any of her old recipes, do you? I love old recipes.

How do you store tom chutney...

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 15:54

Thanks Dove, Shall I start one? Anyone out there interested?  And if I start on another forum I'll never get anything done, but must just go and have a quick look The pickling and housework can wait a bit.  Raining too hard to pull my beetroot!

Bees have died

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 15:30

BB are very gentle and unaggressive, Tracy. You could rescue them in a jar if they trapped in the house.

Get it off your chest

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 15:27

Hi, Gilly, great isn't it?

Diddy, t&m is Thompson and Morgan, plant and seed specialists. Their plants are great quality.  I got mt blueberries from them on last order and they are lovely well-grown plants.Google them.  I guarantee you'll be on there for ages!

How do you store tom chutney...

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 15:22

Thank you Dove and Alan.  I treat best before dates as a guideline, not a rule. And don't get me started on additives! I'd love to be able to smoke my own bacon and hams, but that's one for another time. Anyway, that's Tesco just brought my viginar so away to pickle my beetroot! Do it for my elderly neighbour, we hate the stuff! Do we have a recipe thread on here does anyone know?

How do you store tom chutney...

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 03:31

Zoomer, No one's questions are ever silly, Are we all supposed to know everything?Nobody is an expert on anything, we are always learning, however much we know about a subject.  We can pass on our experiences or those of others, but everyone should look for other ideas, all of the the time, and that is why this forum is so good and so busy. ANYWAYS, When I make jams, sauces, pickles etc, if I only have metal lids, they go in the oven with the jars, then I use greaseproof paper(also warmed in oven with jars) on top of the jar and then screw the lid down. You need everything to be sterile, and preferably hot when sealing so as to cause the vacuum that Dove mentions.  some recipes state to put the produce in the jar when cool, but I have tried that and then opened them to find mould.  Everything should be as hot as poss and bottled quickly.

As far as choosing your vinegar and spices, this depends on your preferences. If you want a consistent flavour, then Sarsons(can get at Tesco, just ordered some) make a pickling vinegar which is 6% acid and already has the spices added.  They make a white Distilled and a malt version. If you want to keep the colour, eg pickling beetroot, red cabbage or onions, I would choose the distilled, for chutneys where colour is less important, the malt.  There is little difference in flavour.

You can vary the flavour of your produce by using different vinegars and spices, and your ingredients  You could use all green toms, or all red, or mix the two.  The spices that Dove mentions are quite traditional, and you can buy packets or mix your own, depending on taste. Always use the same measure and record what you did to get any kind of consistency if you like something.  I tend not to, and have regretted it, but this yr made the most amazing strawberry conserve (should have been jam but didn't set enough, so was a successful mistake) that everyone wanted more of.  Luckily, I DID write it down this yr, so may be able to do it again.  I made 12 1lb jars and a few little jars, and they had all been finished 1 wk later (given to people) with requests for more next yr.  The prob is reproducing that.  Will I get the same fruit? will it be picked at the same time? Will it have the same taste or will it, next yr, be ordinary strawberry jam? A mistake made the best produce I have ever 'produced'  My redcurrant jelly was the clearest ever, looked the best, but has not gone down so well. Sorry, going off the point while I brag about my conserve!

Whatever vinegar you choose MUST have an acid content of 5% or above, or it will not keep properly.  You can use wine, cider, malt or any other that you can find, as long as the acid content is at least 5%. IME very cheap vinegars can be weak in the acid content, and as not all will give this on the label, it is worth using ph paper to test it first.  If you can't get this at your chemist, you can buy it online.  All of these vinegars will give a different flavour to your produce, just as much as your choice of spices. When I make mint sauce, I use white wine vinegar as it has a mild, soft flavour that doesn't overpower the mint.  You can really taste the mint, whereas bought mint sauce uses malt or distilled malt vinegar, so you may as well just put vinegar on your lamb!  My youngest boy doesn't call it 'mint sauce', he asks for 'mum-made sauce'!

Chutneys often benefit from a malt, if you are mixing a few different veg, but experiment with vinegars and spices. The rules are only those of preservation, flavour comes from your imagination, so when you get a good un, I hope you will post it or pm me with it! 

I know I go on a bit, sorry, but if I can share what I've learned through my own mistakes, I can learn from others, too.  Incidentally, my Nanna made Damson jam some 30 or more yrs ago.  Mum died 2 yrs ago and i found a few jars still in her  cupboard.  I have opened one, and it is lovely, and perfectly preserved, like a fine wine.  Comes to something when even ice cubes have a best before date!  Can no-one exercise common sense or discertion, these days? BBD are the reason that so much food is wasted now. 30 y-o jam is fine, but Ice cannot be kept for more than a yr!  So use your own discretion in storing your produce. And put some in really nice jars for presents.Wouldn't mind a wee sample myself, and i'll send a bit of mine?



Posted: 08/09/2013 at 01:37

I have a cat that visits, ( a big old tom) and he NEVER dug up my garden, he must have his old haunts to use. In 3 yrs of freshly dug beds and all kinds of other surfaces that cats are supposed to like, he has been a good boy.  He keeps down the rats etc, and mt wee dog is terrified of him. But recently, a new cat has come to the area and kept digging up my carrot bed. (hardly any carrots this yr)  I think Old Tom may be getting too old to patrol all of his territory. (he has been here for yrs, and no-one knows whether he even has an owner) New young cats don't last long here, as the road is not busy but is fast, and any new people who get a cat don't have it long so cats have not been a prob of mine. This is obviously a 'streetwise' cat, and I have heard them fighting at night in my and surrounding gardens. Old Tom was obviously the best repellent, but his power eppears to be waning.  I will be giving all of your answers due consideration, and if I find something that works, will let you all know. My so-called terrier seems to be useless, but as he has been trained to allow me to groom other dogs without jealousy, and plays with our pet rats, I can't ask too much of him!  A mouse ran under his nose last yr in the kitchen and by the time he relised that it didn't belong, it was well gone! Useless article!



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