The Seed List is Growing
For three years or so I successfully grew huge Italian tomatoes on the allotment and then about four years ago blight struck and then struck again. So this year I am pleased to have found seeds for Koralik a very early bush type which produces a surprisingly high yield of sweet, bright red cherry tomatoes that are tolerant to blight. They are happy growing in both open ground or the greenhouse and should fruit early in the season.
The beetroot seeds I’ve chosen are ‘Monika’ a monogerm type bred to produce one seed per cluster which means no thinning. It can be sown both early and late in the season so it will be useful to have seeds to hand ready to sow direct in the ground throughout Spring and Summer.
And I have added to the list a lettuce ‘Freckles’ blogged by enthusiastic veg growers regularly last year. It’s a Romaine lettuce with red splattered leaves and is ready to crop within six weeks from sowing.
It’s marmalade making time and Seville oranges are appearing in the shops but today I’ve experimented with a new recipe found in my cuttings drawer. It’s from Dalemain Mansion where annually they judge 1,000 jars of marmalade from around the world. Aside from the recipe the article offers two excellent tips that improved last year’s marmalade making for me. One was to cook the fruit whole before chopping which was effortless -I cut the cooked fruit with kitchen scissors. The other tip was keeping the acidity high and the sugar relatively low results in the punchiest flavour.
Dalemain’s Three-Fruit Marmalade
1 grapefruit cut in half, 3 oranges and 2 lemons quartered then cover the lot with water and simmered for 2-3 hours till the skin dissolves when pressed against the side of the pan. Once cooked strain and cool the fruit editing out pips and pith and saving the cooking liquid. Reduce the liquid by hard boiling till you have 500ml then add the peel and 400g caster sugar and bring to the boil. Skim off any foam and keep it boiling until 104C. With no jam thermometer I used the cold plate test to show it had wrinkled and was ready to set. Leave to cool for 5 mins then pour into hot sterilised jars.