Summer fruit harvest and making garden jam

What a summer! My poor garden is burned to a crisp and everything’s wilting, including me. But the fruit garden is producing bumper crops. You’d think they would shrivel in 32C heat, but the black and red currants, gooseberries and blackberries are sweet and juicy.

Last night I wandered round the garden collecting a basket of fruit to make jam. I had planned to make strawberry jam from the pots of runners planted in April. But the tiny plants only yielded a handful of fruit. So delicious though. The plants only cost 60p each, mail order. I wrote about planting them Here. I’m hopeful of larger crops next summer.

The blackberries were the best I’ve ever seen though. A bumper crop and large fruit. Sometimes wild blackberries are so tiny they are hardly worth picking. But these soon filled a basket.

I threw the whole lot in a heavy based pan to make garden jam. Wow, what a scent. If it’s possible to capture sunshine and summer in a jar, this is the way to do it.

Garden Jam

To make 2 jars I used 500g fruit, 500g sugar 75ml water, juice of 1 lemon.


Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the setting point later.

Put fruit, water and lemon juice in a heavy based pan. Cook the fruit gently until soft.

Add sugar and simmer carefully until all the sugar crystals are absorbed.

Increase the heat to a rolling boil. After 10- 15 minutes, put a teaspoon of jam on the plate and gently push. If it wrinkles, it has reached setting point. If not, cook for another 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the jam.

Stand for 15 minutes

Pot into sterilised and warmed jars.

Fresh scones :

3oz butter

1lb plain flour

Pinch salt

1oz caster sugar

1.5 tsp. baking power

2 eggs and 6floz milk beaten together.

Add all the dry ingredients and rub together. Add liquids and mix carefully. Don’t over handle the mixture

Roll out thickly and cut into circles. Brush top with a little of the reserved egg/ milk mixture.

Bake for 10 mins until golden, oven temp. 230C, gas mark 8

Eat whilst still warm – or as soon as possible. Can be frozen as soon as cooled, to keep fresh.

I often ask twitter friends for recipes and gardening advice. Here’s a reply that came from Bob Flowerdew. I’m looking forward to trying his recipe.

And this came from June Girvin, which is similar to the recipe I ended up with. It’s absolutely delicious.

After all that foraging and cooking, we sat in the 1930s summerhouse, turned to face the cool woodland and pond and feasted on the jewels of the garden.

Surrounding us, there’s sounds of harvesting and baling. There’s a scent of new hay and oats on the breeze, and we watch entranced as barn owls swoop across the empty fields, like ghosts. They don’t notice us sitting quietly amongst the trees.

Here’s this week’s Garden Hour on BBC Radio Leicester where I chat away about what’s happening in my garden. Put your feet up and have a listen in sometime. The programme starts at 2.10.27 on the timeline. And the music’s not bad this week too.

I am @kgimson on twitter and karengimson1 on instagram. Please share this on any social media platform you like, and don’t forget to leave a comment below. Thank you.

35 thoughts on “Summer fruit harvest and making garden jam

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  3. My mum would always make scones for tea in the summer (with cream, of course!) and she would have been very interested in your jam recipe. I love the summerhouse, what an idyllic way to spend a warm evening – so in tune with the seasons watching and smelling the hay being cut. Makes me want to move away from the city! Hope you’re well. Caro xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s wonderful here in the summer. Dire in the winter when you can’t get to the village in the snow. We haven’t got a 4×4. Sometimes have to wait for the neighbour to put a snowplough on his tractor. I didn’t go anywhere in January. Must admit though, that summerhouse was a dream find and we really enjoyed renovating it. My FIL is a skilled woodworker which helps. We sat in it tonight and watched 4 baby hedgehogs snuffle around the doors, and the owl swooped by in the back Field, so quiet and deadly.


  4. Karen I am very glad that despite the heat the fruit garden has given a magnificent harvest. The red and black currants and the blackberries look great and appetizing, and if they are sweet and juicy it is wonderful. Strawberries, although few, have also been delicious. I love your harvest. How easy it is to make marmalade as you explain it! I thought it was very difficult. One question Do you sterilize the jars to store the jam in boiling water? The fresh buns seem easy to make for a kitchen apprentice like me. They look delicious in the photo: I would eat them if I could. The House of the garden of the 30s I love as the forest in which it is located. It is a very special place. No wonder you want to sleep in it! Awakening there must be magical. Many memories and love to your Mother from me. I hope your father-in-law is better at the hip. Love and health for your whole family. Karen love and health. Take care. Loving greetings from Margarita.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margarita. It’s been a wonderful harvest so far, despite the heatwave. I wash the jars in soapy water, and then dry them and put them upside down on a tray in a warm oven to sterilise them. I pour the jam straight into the hot jars. This way, the jars don’t crack and there are no germs in the jars to cause mould. Family members are all making good progress thank you. Enjoy your weekend. Love and greetings from karen xxx


      • Karen thank you very much for explaining how you sterilize the boats step by step. I am very happy that everything goes better in the family. Enjoy yourself also of the week. Take care. Very loving greetings from Margarita.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Luscious pictures.
    We have a gooseberry bush up against the end wall of our house, courtesy of birds, it gives us bumper crops. The birds eat some as well. This year, hubs made eight 500gm jars of gooseberry jam and we have a good sized bowl of sweet fruit to eat as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yum, that sounds delicious. I’ve just been sent a new red gooseberry bush trained as a triple cordon to try out. I’m just deciding where to grow it. I made a lovely gooseberry tart for my father shortly before he died. I can still remember him praising me for my cooking skills and saying how delicious it was. Isn’t it funny the little things you remember most.


    • Thank you Mike. I’m madly picking blackberries again today. I think they’ll be spoiled by the rain- when it comes! Glad yours are good too. Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Our peaches are still firm! They seem to be in good condition, just lte. The cane berries are coming on slowly, which is good. It spreads them out a bit, instead of ripening all at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, our peaches are still hard. I’m going to put mine into jars of brandy for Christmas treats. It’s much easier to deal with if the ripening is spread out a bit. Thanks for reading, Tony. Have a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We have noticed that everything is sweeter this year: the strawberries just got more and more concentrated in powerful strawberry flavour, as the fruits got smaller. The raspberries too have been incredible. Even beetroot is sweeter! We have garage shelves groaning under the weight of jam. Thank you for these recipes – I love to make the most of our gluts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and getting in touch Ali. I can just picture your shelves. Everything does seem sweeter. The weather seems just right for fruit and veg. All the best. Karen


    • Thank you Ron. My fingers are stained red with the blackberry juice. I’ve really enjoyed collecting such a bumper harvest. I’m making more jam tonight. The kitchen does smell absolutely wonderful! Thanks again for your kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The blackberries look wonderful. It’s nearly always too dry to pick decent sized blackberries here. Yours must have benefitted from the wet weather during spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. Phew, it couldn’t get much hotter. It’s 32C today and windy. It’s a weird hot wind, like a hair dryer. I’m glad I picked the fruit when I did. Those scones are so quick to make. Only 10 mins in the oven. Thanks for reading. Enjoy 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

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