Gardening leave and preserving fruit liquer

The last few weeks have been such a very busy time for Genus, the big push for our trade stand at Hampton Court show, then running our Summer Sale as well as working on getting the new Autumn Winter 2016 stock ready for sale, it’s been go, go and more go. The last few days have really been focused on providing some much needed TLC for Sue the Genus director, and of course the slightly neglected Genus garden. Donning the gardening clothes and getting out into the garden again for a few days ‘leave’ has really boosted wellbeing, clearing the mind and getting some satisfyingly healthy exercise.

Of course it’s that time of year when the garden is really producing flowers, fruit and vegetables in abundance and once the harvest has been picked you begin to wonder what to do with the glut. We have found ways creative ways to use the annual courgette glut before, but this year the garden glut has been kilos and kilos of redcurrants, blackcurrants and Morello cherries. Being of the opinion that there is only so much jam and jelly a household can sensibly accumulate, the challenge was to find another delicious method of preserving fruit.The answer has been to create a variation of slow gin in the form of redcurrant and blackcurrant vodka and cherry brandy. Very little effort for high reward, the recipe couldn’t be simpler. Find a suitable preserving jar, 1 litre Kilner jars are perfect.Fill the jar with fruit, pour over sugar to the top – just let the sugar run into the fruit, then top up with vodka to the top of the jar agitating the jar a little to ensure there are no air pockets. Shake the jar on a daily basis until all the sugar has dissolved and then – and this is the difficult bit – store in a dark cupboard for 3-6 months – strain (use the boozy fruit for trifles!) and bottle the liqueur. For those of us not confident of recipes without measures, River Cottage and other websites provide more accurate quantities and recipe alternatives.

We look forward to drinking the fruits of our labours, and sharing some as Christmas gifts later in the year when we’ll really enjoy the flavours of summer during those shorter, bleaker winter days.