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September: Jam, Picnics and Ghosts

on September 19, 2020

This time last year Harrogate was preparing to be descended on by thousands of cycle enthusiasts for the UCI World Championship and York was preparing to be descended on by thousands of food enthusiasts for the Food Festival. How the world changes eh? Yorkshire Appetite did get a run out to the Vegan Festival at Leeds Kirkgate Market at the end of August and it turned out to be very jolly. I am now the owner of a new glass straw and have expanded my knowledge of vegan cheese as well as meeting lots of lovely people and next week we will be welcoming Grace and her family onto the tour as winner of our prize draw (see the live draw). The comedy festival I mentioned last month is no longer going ahead but I have found one festival for you to attend if you’re keen – the Horror Film Festival at the Crown Hotel! Of course, it’s coming up at Halloween and there is a whole week of events which includes an exclusive Harrogate Ghost Tour which we will be partaking of – to improve our knowledge of local ghosts beyond Alice (the theatre’s ghost) and Mary (who fell off Spofforth Castle, that was careless). If you like horror, then have a look here (boo!).

We have had a pretty busy August and September as people have had to cancel their exotic holidays to far flung places and have decided to take advantage of the wonders of Old Blighty and it’s been lovely to meet so many of you. Last year after the UCI and the highest rainfall for fifty years, West Park Stray in Harrogate was looking less than happy but we are pleased to report that it is now looking GLORIOUS and the council are planning to plant 60,000 crocus bulbs ready for spring. These will add to the 8 million, yes, that’s eight MILLION planted over the years. It may be that as the weather slowly chills and we may be moving more into social isolation once more, you may want to make the most of your garden or try your own indoor gardening. Apparently, September is a very good time to sow vegetable seeds for winter and spring, including leafy crops, autumn onions and broad beans. It’s time to sort out your outside space, if you’re lucky enough to have some so that once the cold weather comes, you can happily shift inside. But before you do, try to gather some bounty such as blackberries, sloeberries, apples and plums so that you can make jam!

The first jam recipe appeared in the first century AD! which kind of puts the Yorkshire Pudding to shame (1747) and even Joan of Arc liked a bit of quince jam before battle to give her courage. Sailors would take jam with them on ships as the fruit helped prevent scurvy, although it took until the late 1700s to realise this, bless them. During lockdown many of you brushed off your cooking skills so don’t stop now, have a go at some hedgerow jam; that’s what you call jam made of anything you manage to find while out foraging and jam into a jar (yes, that is why it’s called jam).

Keep positive my friends, keep enjoying the culinary delights of our fair isle, have a day out somewhere you haven’t been for a while. Walk with llamas, try wild swimming (quick before the freeze comes), have a picnic, love food, love life. Now, get on with that jam!

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