The Edible Garden - Episode 4 - Juicy Fruits

The Edible Garden - Episode 4 - Juicy Fruits


In The Edible Garden Episode 4, Alys Fowler talks about the 'juicy fruits' from her garden.



Alys introduces herself as a writer and gardener, having grown up in the countryside she now lives in the city with her husband.

Alys gets pleasure from the simple things in life, home made bread, home grown vegetables, making things and looking after her much loved chickens.




Alys Fowler's garden
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Her garden is just 20ft by 60ft at the back of her Victorian terraced house.

This year Alys is hoping for as much home grown fruit and produce as possible and not shop bought, all grown in a beautiful but productive garden.


Juicy Fruits
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Alys when planning her garden devoted most of the space to vegetables otherwise they would starve on flowers and fruit alone.


She has although left space for fruit, especially soft fruit that can be costly to buy but actually simple to grow.

Alys garden plan for fruits
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Although space is limited Alys is to grow strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants as well her pre existing apple tree.

She is planning to grow some of the fruit in pots.

Patience is needed when growing fruit although unlike most vegetables once the fruit bushes or trees are established they provide fruit year after year.

Fruit liqueurs
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Alys says although its lovely to have the fruit fresh from the tree or bush it also about making sure you have that fruit throughout the year too.


Alys is gonna to show us how to turn it into jam, fruit liqueurs, dried apple rings and fruit leathers? I know which one sounds best to me! Pete Free 🌻


Raspberries
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Raspberries are one of Alys favourite fruit, little luxuries that is a burst of flavour on the tongue.

There are 2 types of raspberries. There are the ones that fruit in July and the ones that fruit in September.

Alys is already growing the Autumn fruiting raspberries.
Cutting back raspberries
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In late winter it is the time to cut back the raspberry canes to about 10 - 15 cm from the ground.


The raspberries are produced on the new growth canes in the Autumn.

Alys knows a little trick to make sure her raspberries are ready as early as possible.
 

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Alys only cuts half the canes and rotates which half to cut and these raspberries are ready in July to harvest.

Alys has bought some new Autumn fruiting canes from the garden centre.


She plants them making sure all the roots are covered then mulching them with a thick layer of multi-purpose compost.


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Everyone loves strawberries.


Alys plans to grow them both in the border and in pots.

To make a strawberry happy it needs a lot of light especially the sun to ripen the fruit.



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Once you have strawberries you have them forever as they spread using runners.

After about 5 years the plant is done so by dividing the runners there will be a constant supply of plants.

The one fruit that bring memories of her Canadian family is blueberries and eating them on cornflakes for breakfast.

Blueberry plants
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Blueberries are bursting with Vitamin C and Alys must have them in her garden.


Blueberries are native to North America where they grow in acidic soil.

Alys does not have acidic soil so she is planting them in peat free compost in an old tin bath and using the following 3 rules.



Blueberry
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Rule 1 - The bushes are kept in the sun.
Rule 2 - You keep them moist, so the bath is a good planter.
Rule 3 - Twice a year add rotted pine needles to the soil.

Oh there is another rule, they are better kept in pairs for cross pollination purposes.


May
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May is mad with young vegetables needing to be planted out.

Alys is growing all her fruit, vegetables and flowers together so she has to be careful of her fruit getting strangled and not getting enough sun.


She has to be ruthless in the garden with some of the established plants and its a constant round of pruning and cutting back.

Alys pruning and cutting back plants
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Most of the fruit is being grown in a 4ft by 6ft space under the apple tree at the bottom of the garden and a few in pots.

At the end of her brick path Alys has her small strawberry patch, so she can sit in the sun and pick them.


Blackcurrant plants
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Its part of a 'rule breaking' forest garden under the apple tree of raspberries, blackcurrants and her strawberries? 

Mimicking a forest with edible and pretty things?

The apple blossom is over and the fruits are starting to take shape, the blossom has done their job in attracting the pollinators.


Bees pollinating flowers
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When growing fruit you can suffer from a glut of them and that's why its a good idea to preserve some.



Drying fruit into 'leathers' is a good way of getting sheets of chewy sweet fruit and are easy to make.



Nina from Bristol forages for wild fruit to make her leathers.




Nina picks wild fruit
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Nina says there is an abundance of wild food out there and has gone weeks just eating for free from this bounty with just a few basics thrown in.

Today she is picking plums called Bullaces, the smallest of the varieties and they taste like Victoria Plums.


Bullaces
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To make the leathers the fruit is stewed and just the pulp is used.

Once softened it is passed through a sieve.

The Bullace pulp is an unappetising colour, Nina then sweetens it to taste with icing sugar.

The pulp is spread out on a baking tray
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The pulp then needs to be spread out so it dries evenly.

Nina has a specialist dehydrator but Alys used a non stick baking tray in a low heat oven for 8 hours, with the fan on.

Once dried it is very shiny and tacky and is then peeled off and torn into strips to store.
The baked fruit before slicing
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The flavour is intensified.

Nina says there are so many places to forage, roadsides, in the middle of the city, there is always stuff to find if you know how and what you are looking for.

Alys says your garden grown fruit make good leathers too.


June
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After a wet May the garden is looking very lush.

The salad and vegetables need constant picking and the fruit crop are no trouble.

Alys has her first strawberry and gratuitous eating shot!

Alys tastes the first strawberry
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Underneath the apple tree her blackcurrant is not doing so well.

Unfortunately because Alys was keen for fruit this year after only planting it in Autumn.

 She didn't chop it back to promote a stronger growth for the second year.

Alys crop is a few measly blackcurrants for breakfast as a result of not having the patience to wait.


July
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On a midsummer morning in July, Alys is collecting her home grown breakfast from the garden.

There are eggs from the chickens and fresh berries for her cornflakes.



August
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It is late August and her early fruiting Discovery Apples are ready to harvest.

Discovery Apples
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You can tell if an apple is ready to be picked when you tilt them up and they come off the branch easily.

I feel an eating shot coming up especially as they are not a storing apple!

Alys eating an apple
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Eating shot of the sweet crisp apples and a bit of slurping.

As Alys has too many to eat so she is turning them into dried apple rings.

Alys cuts the apples
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They are simple to make by first coring the apples, then cutting into quarter of an inch thick slices.

To stop them browning you put them straight into slightly salty water.

The apple rings are hung out to dry
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Using a cane with a bit of sunflower oil on it the rings are suspended through the holes and left to dry out in a warm place for 2-3 days.

They are then stored in an air tight container and should last several months.
The finished apple rings
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Delicious and another eating shot!

Gluts in fruit and vegetables gives you the ideal chance to swap with others.

Emily's mum has a Damson glut so Alys takes along some eggs to swap.


Alys mum
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Damsons are a tangy plum that are great for preserving and are not found in supermarkets

Damsons and vodka make a lovely liqueur.



Making damson vodka
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The damsons are first pricked to let out the flavour, and sugar is added at the ratio of a pound of sugar for a pound of fruit.

This is then put in a jar and vodka is added.


This is then shaken not stirred. in 3 months time it will be ready to drink.





Damsons boiling in a pot
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Damson Cheese or jam is next to be made, her mother's way.



Put 6 pounds of damsons and half a pint of water in a saucepan and bring to a rapid boil.

Then simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat until the fruit is soft.


The cooked damsons are sieved
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Sieve to remove the skin and stones and add a pound of sugar per pound of puree and let it dissolve.



Having a cupboard full of out of season fruit makes Alys feel safe with the brightly coloured jars to use all Winter.


The damson jam is poured into jars
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Once thickened pour it into sterilised jars and then stick finger in the pan for yet another eating shot to camera.

Damson jam is good with cheese or yoghurt and some lucky people are getting these as Christmas presents from Alys.

Damson Jam, the finished product
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To decorate these she is going to use Hapazome, Japanese leaf printing technique.

Late September and Alys is on the hunt in the park for leaves to print for her jam pot covers.

Luckily she has an Hapazome expert for a friend called Grace. 

Leaves for Hapazome
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The best leaves are one with interesting colours or shapes and not dried out ones.

'Leaf Fetish'!

To the mixture of fleshy leaves, vibrant leaves, pine needles Alys adds Violas and Marigolds from her garden.

Hapazome printing
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These are placed on natural fibre cloth, folded over and pummelled with a hammer into the material.

Alys peels back the fabric and 'ta da' squashed plants on fabric, what a gift!

Leaves printed on fabric
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It does look very good and all the leaf veins are visible with both sides of the leaf different.

When the material is dry you iron it to fix the plant dye.


October
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With Alys's early apples over, she goes off scrumping at any neglected apple trees she can find.

There is some land by her local park with trees that are just left to rot so Alys has permission to collect the windfalls that are ok for juicing etc.

Collecting windfall apples
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Alys decides to offer free apple pressing for people that have a glut of apples.

She off to the local Farmers Market with friend Sid and his apple press which is powered by an electric drill and 2 car jacks!

Electric Drill powered apple press
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The apple pulp is squeezed between 2 boards and the juice collected out the bottom.

This proved too popular and the machine broke

They then resorted to chopping up the apples and pounding them by hand with a big stick!

This was then squished between the boards.


November
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November and a lot of the crops have finished but Alys is still picking her raspberries as the weather has been so mild.

She hasn't wired her raspberries to the trellis as if left natural the leaves then hide the fruit from the birds.

Alys chicken
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Alice and Gertrude the chickens gets some raspberries too for a treat.




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