Abundance Wimbledon Newsletter
June 21, 2021
Welcome to Abundance Wimbledon - July 21 2021 Newsletter
With the heatwave this week we are looking forward to the local fruit ripening! It has been such a late season so far this year. In 2020 we had already completed more than two weeks of picking and donating by this date and with the delays in ripening it will be "all hands on deck" when the fruit finally ripens. Details below on how you can get involved.
Sue had a waitlist after her last jam masterclass and we are delighted that she scheduled a new one for August 9 - which is now also full! If you would like to be added to a waitlist, please email Sue direct at email@example.com.
We not only looking for fruit this year, but if you can help in any of the following ways, we would be delighted to hear from you (Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Fruit donors
- Charities requiring fruit
- Fruit pickers (and distributors)
- Jam. chutney and cordial makers
- Raynes Park North Coordinator (see details below)
- Volunteers for Fruit Day (September 18, 2021)
- Save the date!
- Seeking a Volunteer Coordinator for Raynes Park North Area
- What can I do with Rhubarb?
- Are your Mirabel and Damson Plums ready for jamming?
- Its not time for pruning your trees. In Winter, here's what to do!
- Your fruit trees need a drink in this hot weather too!
- The busy bees!
- Our next newsletter
Abundance Wimbledon, 11th Annual Fruit Day
SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER, 2021
11.00am - 2.30pm
St Mark's Church Hall & Grounds
St Mark's Pl, Wimbledon, London SW19 7ND
This year featuring:
- Opening by Merton Mayor Cr Michael Brunt
- Home made Jams, Chutneys, Cordials and Butters stall
- Home made Bakes and Cakes stall
- Freshly Squeezed Apple Juice (have a go at the manual press!)
- Local Honey stall by Alison (Cash only)
- Plant stall
- Coffee Van
- Children's activities (Cash only)
- About Abundance Wimbledon
- Merton Friends of the Earth
- Sustainable Merton
- Merton U3A
- Performances by Songs on Wheels
- Performances by Ukulele Orchestra
Don't forget to buy your Abundance Wimbledon Cotton Tote bag for just £2.00!
Seeking a Volunteer Coordinator for Raynes Park North Area
Once the fruit ripens, we will be looking for donations and pickers across our six local regions. Our volunteer region coordinators are an integral part of this as they link our donors with our pickers who then either distribute the fruit/vegetables to local charities or send to locals to make into home made jams, jellies, cordials, pies, bakes, cakes and juice for our annual Fruit Day (September 18. 11.00am - 2.30pm, St Mark's Church Hall - entry via Compton Road - Wimbledon SW19 7ND).
We are seeking a Raynes Park North Coordinator (area North of the Raynes Park station through to WImbledon), so if you are interested and able, please contact Juliet at email@example.com - we would love to hear from you! It is a great role and a perfect opportunity to spend about 8 weeks meeting new people in your area, knowing that you are saving fruit and supporting a great community initiative!
After a slow start to the picking season we were delighted when one of our best local pickers sent through this photo of their first pick of cherries (or so they thought....)!
At the recent committee meeting, Sue bought along these donated "cherries" only to discover they were plums! Would you have been tricked too?
What can I do with Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is not only fantastic in the home made favourite Rhubarb Crumble (my Grandma's speciality!) but makes great jams and cordials. With recent ripenings of rhubarb, Sue has been busy making Rhubarb and Orange and Rhubarb and Ginger Jam and Cordials. Juliet has also been busy making her own Rhubarb recipes ready for Fruit Day. Do you have a favourite rhubarb recipe you can share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org?
Are your Mirabel and Damson Plums ready for jamming?
Overloaded with plums and looking for a never fail plum jam recipe? Here's our Master Jam Maker Sue's recipe:
6lb plums, halved, stones removed (makes about 10lb)
1½ pints water
Stage 1 – Preparing the jars
Make sure your jars are scrupulously clean; soak off the labels if possible. Sterilize the lids by pouring boiling water them. Leave them in the hot water for 5 minutes, then place to drain and dry in the air. When your jam is nearly ready (stage 6 below) heat the jars in the oven at 150°C to sterilize them and to stop them cracking when you pour in the hot jam.
Stage 2 - Selecting the fruit
Avoid over-ripe fruit; slightly under-ripe fruit will probably set more easily. Skin and pips are often high in pectin, which will help the jam or jelly set. For jelly it generally isn’t necessary to peel, core or stone fruit for jelly, but roughly chopping it may make it quicker to cook. Wash the fruit. Remove stones if necessary.
Stage 3 - Soften the fruit
Add water if the recipe specifies. Simmer gently over a low heat until the fruit is really soft. Stir occasionally to prevent it burning. This can also be done in a slow-cooker or in a tightly covered pot in a very low oven – 140°C (in which case reduce or omit the water, depending on how juicy the fruit naturally is).
Time taken will depend on the fruit.
Stage 4 – for jelly –Strain the juice
Put all the fruit and liquid in a jelly bag (a muslin bag which is suspended over a bowl) and let all the juice drain out overnight.
Stage 5 – Add the sugar
Use a preserving pan, or other large heavy bottomed pan. The larger the diameter of the pan the quicker the cooking process will be. Use normal granulated sugar; there should be no need to go to the expense of using preserving sugar or pectin solutions. Weigh out the sugar (for jelly you will usually need 1lb sugar for 1pint of juice/ 450g sugar for 600ml). Stir it into the fruit/warmed juice over
a gentle heat, until it is all thoroughly dissolved and there is no gritty feel when you stir the pan. Then bring the mixture up to the boil and boil rapidly. This is when you need to make sure the jam doesn’t boil over! Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Stage 6 – Setting point
After about 10 minutes take a teaspoonful of jam, put it on a small plate and put the plate in the fridge. Meanwhile keep the jam boiling. Remove the plate from the fridge after 5 minutes. Run your finger fingertip gently across the surface of the jam. If it crinkles (ie a light skin has formed) the jam has reached setting point. Turn the heat off. Make sure your jars are heated in the oven (see stage 1 above). If the jam sample is still liquid and no skin forms return your spoonful of jam to the pan and continue boiling for another 5 or 10 minutes before testing again.
Stage 7 – Filling the jars
Use oven gloves to place the heated jam jars on some newspaper close to the stove and your preserving pan. If a foamy scum has formed on top of the jam or jelly skim it off. It is perfectly edible so you might want to put it onto a plate and store in the fridge to eat later, but it detracts from the appearance of the jelly or jam, so it is best removed. A jam funnel helps pour the jam neatly into the jars. Use a cup or a jug to pour from. Fill the jars very full; the jam will shrink as it cools. Cut circles of greaseproof paper to fit the jars and place over the full jars. Carefully screw the lids on tightly before the jam has totally cooled, wiping the necks of the jars to remove any spills if necessary. When the jars are cool label and store in a cool dark place.
N.B. Remember to label your jars saying what it is and when it was made. If plums or any other stoned fruit was used, you should include a note that there might be stones in the product. (Do this, even if you stoned the fruit, as it’s really difficult to get every last one out). Also, if you used nuts, please include that on the label too.
Its not time for pruning your trees. In Winter, here's what to do!
We often get asked how to prune fruit trees (particularly apples and pears) and have tossed around the idea at our committee meeting about whether to offer some pruning masterclasses. However, it is not time to prune your trees when they are preparing to (or are) fruiting, so we have found this video for you on you-tube which you might find useful.
You can view the You tube video by Crocus.co.uk here.
Your fruit trees need a drink in this hot weather too!
Don't forget that in this heat, fruit trees love a good drink of water. Jane (at our recent committee meeting) recommended that owners keep an eye on the tree and when it is this hot, a good 40 litres of water per tree to top up does not go astray.
Having said that, on looking at the Orchard Project's website, they recommend the following:
A Good Soak
So now we come back to watering. This is all too often neglected, as moving around large volumes can be hard work in the summer. Finding ways to make this less of a slog can make all the difference.
One great little invention is the H2go; an 80l water bag designed to sit in a wheel barrow where it can be filled up and emptied through a spout by simply tilting the barrow forward. That’s up to four trees in one journey. Using a couple of these, two people could water a whole orchard in a short time.
If you planted your trees last winter you should be watering every two weeks. We recommend a good 20 litre soaking per tree every fortnight. If they’ve been in for longer and are established, it’s still important to help them through these dry times with a good soaking here and there. Pour the water slowly to allow penetration, and focus where most of the roots can be found. Fruit trees tend to distribute their roots in a wide circle with the ‘feeder’ roots occupying a ‘drip zone’. This is an area beyond the leaf canopy on which rain drips from the foliage above. Focus water and feed here. Watering in the cooler evenings will ensure optimum uptake.
In the first two years aim to soak your whole mulch area. This will ensure the whole root system has access to the water. This will also encourage the outward growth of new absorbing roots towards the edge of the mulch ring In subsequent years, focus watering and feeding around the drip line as this is where the absorbing roots will lie; there’s little point in watering and feeding the woody ‘secondary’ growth around the base of the trunk.
And remember - if you have other plants planted around the base of your tree - it is likely that they are taking some of the water away from your fruit tree - so more watering may be required!
The busy bees!
Alison has advised that she is looking forward to a great crop of local honey ready for our Fruit Day. Her Spring Honey is sold out but the summer honey is already in process. Alison is a committee member and stalwart of our Fruit Day with many returning customers heading straight to her stall each year! Alison (Martin Way Honey) will again be joined by Tooting Honey's David so make sure you get in early on Fruit Day so as not to miss out!
Our next newsletter
Our newsletters will be fortnightly from now until the end of the season - Fruit Day on September 18.
Feel free to send any news to our editor - Sally at email@example.com.
** To get in touch about any of the above, please just reply to this email **
Best wishes and sincere thanks from us all
Juliet and the team at Abundance Wimbledon