With all this free time I have been able to concentrate on cooking and cutting down on my spending. I have been spending about £15 per week on groceries/household goods and that is great news for me!
This has also resulted in getting outside and collecting free fruit – blackberries and apples – so that I can experiment with making my own jams and chutneys. Now, it maybe that making my own jam isnt the most cost effective thing to do as jam can be bought quite cheaply relative to buy the ingredients and making it yourself but you get that added – special ingredient – your own time and invented flavours! You can make the jam exactly how you want it. So in this vain I have made my first test batch of blackberry and apple jam. I only had to buy the sugar, everything else was free!
I already had a spare glass jar to use, so I just needed to sterilise it and make the jam. My first batch is pictured above. I am really chuffed with it as it was giving off such great aromas as I was cooking it. It tasted great and so I am hoping that when I crack it open later on in the year I will be reminded of the fun I had picking the fruit and making the jam. I need to make another batch but need to collect some emoty jars first. I have placed the fruit in the freezer so that I can save the fruit until I have enough jars to make the batch.
After finding a great source for free apples while out riding my bike, I now have quite a few apples to use so my next experiment will be a spicy apple chutney. I am researching recipe ideas at the moment and had bough the vinegar (76p) as the basis for the chutney creation.
I am currently collecting jars to use for this next experiment. I just love apple chutney and I normally buy a brand which costs about £1.70/£2 per pot. I have calculated that if I can make my own chutney using the apples I have and experiment with the flavourings to mimic the commercial version I should be able to make a batch which would be the equivalent to 30p per pot!! A big difference in costs and this would mean I would save on my food bills over the winter and have a tasty supply of chutney. If they are good and I dont eat them all, they could also make good presents at Christmas.
This cooking lark is quite addictive!