Food preservation plans

I'm not a huge fan of raspberries, but a few weeks ago I had Bonne Maman raspberry and redcurrant conserve in Wetherspoon's and was quite taken with it. It is however ridiculously expensive in the few places that stock it and so my thoughts have turned to making our own. The younglings have already decimated around a third of the redcurrant bush crop this year; and so I've been out early every day to collect as many of the remaining fruits as I can as they ripen. I wash and destalk them and put them in jar in the freezer in wait of late raspberry season.

I purchased this chilli plant a few weeks ago's from Sainsbury and it has fruited prolifically. I plan to keep the plant alive for next year, perhaps even try my hand at Chilli Bonsai. How to preserve the current crop though - dry them? Freeze them? Homemade Chilli sauce? I can't decide.  

I've managed to acquire a few small batches of fresh apricots over the past few weeks. They too have gone into the freezer; when I've collected enough of them I will make liqueurs to give away for Christmas, and hopefully enough to keep back too. I need to price up the cost of brand new empty bottles plus bulk vodka, vs buying small bottles of vodka and reusing them to bottle the finished product.

I'm going to try my hand once again where I have previously failed - herb drying. Lemon Balm is good for 'nerves' apparently, so a year round supply might come in handy for a stress-head. I drink the odd cup of lemon balm tea and really enjoy it, I also add it to regular iced tea. I wonder what else you can do with it in the kitchen? I plan to dry some in the next week or so, along with spearmint, though we have a very rainy, soggy week forecast. I don't know that I will succeed this time either.

No doubt, come September, I will have a ton of green tomatoes to use. I see chutney in my future.

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