3 ways to host your own Harvest Festival magic…

This morning I was compelled to talk about Harvest Festival after I heard an impossibly sweet 7 year old sing her school Harvest song on Chris Evans’s Breakfast Show…and yes, I shed a tear. My kids are past Harvest Festival and it is something I miss. I miss that formal recognition of what nature has done for us in the summer months, that acknowledgement that the changing of the seasons is so much bigger than our somewhat crazy little lives.

Of course, I also miss the little procession of uniformed cuties trying to carry their shoe boxes filled with carrots, potatoes and custard powder, covered in dodgy clingfilm. So post school Harvest Festivals, how can we celebrate?

It can still be a time for gathering the harvest – plums, apples, damsons, sloes, pears, marrows and so much more and creating delicious treats to take us through the winter or as gifts of treasure for loved ones.

damsons3

Here are 3 ways to create a little harvest magic in your life….and revel in the afterglow you will get when you have created your very own Harvest Festival:

  1. Plum Jam – I am NOT a great jam maker but plum jam is one of the easiest. Best of all, it has a soft set, so no one will know if it’s a tad underdone. The most tedious bit is de stoning beforehand but I recommend some decent music to take you through this job. Try adding a little winter spice to make it special – cinnamon perhaps? From just a couple of kilos of plums, you will get a lovely clutch of pretty pink jars to give away, look at with a smug glow or simply enjoy.
  2. Damson Gin – a perennial favourite in our house and frankly Christmas feels a little dull without it. For best results, freeze your damsons first so that the skins split when you defrost them. Fill sterilised Kilner jars up to 2 thirds with your defrosted fruit and then top up with you favourite gin. Add a few table spoons of castor sugar, seal and ‘swish’ about. Be cautious with the sugar initially and you can always add more later when you taste (oh yes…this is essential…). Keep in a cool, dry place and ‘swish’ regularly until you have a deep red, syrupy liquid to die for. Don’t forget to strain thoroughly before you drink.
  3. Blackcurrant Whiskey – ok, there is a theme. Blackcurrants are softer and you don’t need to pre-freeze. Simply wash them lightly and add to sterilised Kilner jars. I tend to only half fill. Add a blended whiskey (no need to be a single malt snob at this point). I don’t add sugar for a week or two until I check how much natural sugar is being yielded by the fruit. Wait for at least 12 weeks before consuming for best flavour.

Enjoy your own personal Harvest Festival……

Emily xx