Oranges and Lemons..

So after last year’s preserving efforts (I didn’t know I would later be selling them when I made the majority of them) I decided to keep a better record of the other bits n bobs that are needed for jam and chutney making: namely sugar, vinegars, various spices as well as the beloved oranges and lemons, of which I cannot take any credit for as they are always imported and I was unable to afford to buy organic citrus fruit which has always seemed a shame when the rest of my fruit and veg ARE organic.

Being more mindful about these extra bits has seen me notice just how much money I do spend! Obviously it was always in dribs and drabs: a few bottles of red wine vinegar here, a couple of bags of dark brown sugar there, and always bought specifically for a batch of something. So this year I knew I needed to keep a better handle on what I am buying, where I’m buying it from and the quality of the ingredients. I started to do some research around buying organic and/or Fairtrade ingredients and whilst they are more expensive, they are generally kinder and better for you!

This is when i came across the Crowd Farming guys and Buy Wholefoods On Line. I signed up to both and put my orders in. The order arrived first and I’m thrilled with it! I’ve always bought my mustard powder from Amazon before, but not any more! They offer free delivery and are ethical employers. They also do a huge bag of organic dates which are now waiting patiently in my cupboard for when the rhubarb is ready for harvesting! If you haven’t tasted my Date and Rhubarb chutney yet then you are in for a delicious treat, especially if like me, you love a cheeseboard: it really is the BEST chutney for this!

Next up is the really exciting bit: buying my lemons and oranges direct from farmers in Europe! The boxes of citrus loveliness are driven rather than flown, and are organic, un waxed, freshly picked and every penny goes straight to the farmers! I immediately loved this idea, being a grower of organic fruit myself. So I put my (first) order in which consisted of a 10kgs box of organic lemons from Spain, a 11kgs box of blood oranges (remember them? Hardly see them anymore..) which are a little more bitter and perfect for marmalade, and a pre order of 12 kgs of organic oranges due to be delivered at the end of April (when my rhubarb will be in full swing and I’ll be making loads of my best selling Rhubarb and Orange marmalade! Honestly, I am beyond excited about having organic fresh citrus fruits, something I’ve never had before! Now I know how sad that sounds but it is actually true! Below is a photo of the gorgeous lemons that were delivered to my door on Monday! A few of them have already been used in my first ever batch of Lemon Marmalade! For the first time I actually filmed myself making it: whether I ever actually release these little videos is another matter entirely as I hate seeing myself on camera and I sound bloody awful haha! We will see…

Finally I wanted to add that after a lot of research, I have decided to stick with Whitworth’s sugars! My reasons for this are as follows:

  • They are based less than 15 miles away from me in Wakefield.
  • They are an ethical brand who work fairly with their farmers
  • Their packaging is recyclable
  • They are ethical employers using a Co-Operative model
  • They do the best jam sugars!

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