I’ve taken the last of the gin recipe out of the garage where it been since last year. Steeping away with the damsons at the back half of the garage in the dark.
I’ve just bottled it up into six small bottles, and I will take those to the allotment and pass them out. There are a few allotment holders who are new this year and didn’t get any from the Christmas run. I think they deserve a few bottles with the effort they have put in recently.
The recipe is the usual. Damson 50 g, golden caster sugar 250 g, gin 70 cl. Mix up in a mason jar and leave it for six months!
It’s Saturday, February 13th, 2021. And it’s the first time I’ve been down to the allotment for a very, very long time.
When I arrived the main gate house was open and they were allowing the public to visit the gardens. I have brought along a box of damson gin bottles for the girls in the main house at the front. Previously I had sorted out allotment allotment owners with their own box of damson vodka and gin at Christmas. However, because I have not visited the allotment in such a long time, this was the first opportunity I had to deliver for the volunteers at the main gate.
The snowdrops were out as I walked through the main gate and down the path towards the walled garden. The gate to the allotments was closed but there was one person inside tending their area.
The place wasn’t really in a bad state. I began by trying to dig the soil, but it was too frozen solid — the temperature is below freezing today. So instead I started by scraping the surface weeds off on the larger side of my plot. Then after that tiny bit of effort, I started to dig around the plastic pot that holds the horseradish plant. The plan is to take that out this year.
The last job was to move the tarpaulin sheeting from the end of my plot towards the middle. That would allow me to dig over the end of the plot which had been previously covered. This part was not frozen because of its covering, so it was really easy going. No weeds and easily dug.
The time now is about 2:30 pm in the afternoon. I’m back at the car and ready to head home. As things go it was a really easy time at the allotment today. Because of lockdown number two, I haven’t really been able to make it. Work has got in the way, it has been rainy throughout January the weather has not been too great for a while — there have been plenty of excuses. But now I’ve been I’m wondering if they really were proper excuses. I should make more of an effort.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to go down to the allotment, and last night, later on, just after sunset, I made a little trip. Work has been getting in the way for the last quarter of the year…
I had to drop off some of the damson gin that I have made back in August. That was one job, and the second job was to check the damage on the plot. Exactly how much went to clean up that I need to do?
As it turns out, it’s not as horrific as I thought. Things had stop growing. When I last came to the plot which was, months ago, things had pretty much stopped growing then. Now, just before Christmas nothing much has changed!
I dropped off the damson gin bottles into the shed, and left a few for my neighbour on her plot. Something for Christmas. After once round the plot, I got back in the car and went home.
I’ll try to do some stuff over Christmas. Once I get back to work it will be full on again until the spring, so I need to get a head start on clearing up the plot for the winter.
Over the weekend I bought some gin to go with the damsons that came off the wind battered tree at the allotment.
Ingredients for each… 500g damsons; 250g golden caster sugar; 700 ml bottle(s) of gin.
Rinse the damsons and remove any leaves and stalks; pat then dry, and put them in a freezer bag; freeze overnight or until solid. When solid bash the bag of damsons with a rolling pin and then tip everything into 1.2 litre jar.
Freezing the damsons and then giving them a good whacking helps to release the damson juice. I didn’t stop at a couple of hits, but I bashed the frozen fruits up until they were all damaged in some way. Since I intend to filter the condition before I bottle them up, I didn’t see the need to get dainty with a toothpick and individually prick each damson.
They will stay in a cool dark cupboard until Christmas. So, about 4 months away.
It’s been very high winds over the UK for the past 24 hours. Over 40mph for prolonged periods. When I visited the plot last night the trees in the main gardens were still being buffeted even though the high winds had decreased hours earlier.
Unfortunately the damson tree in the walled garden had taken a large beating and two of its main branches had broken off.
One was resting on the top of the wall that surrounds the garden and the other was hanging upside down from the main trunk. I managed to ease down the smaller branch into the floor but couldn’t reach the larger one leaning on the top of the wall.
It was getting dark outside and so I picked up the whole branch and carried it to the car.
This looks like it might be some of the last damsons from this tree. Maybe there will not be many more to get once this tree has been assessed in the coming days.
With the branch of damsons I collected, I received 1800g off fruit. Enough to make 3 to 4 litres of damson gin. That’s the plan …