Pimm’s jelly — or what to do when you’ve only grown five strawberries

When your entire straw­berry crop amounts to five, an effort­lessly boun­ti­ful bowl of fruit and cream isn’t going to work. The gen­er­al rule is the few­er of some­thing you have, the harder you have to try — unless you’re talk­ing about kid­neys, in which case just be very relieved.

The five fruits I’ve man­aged to grow are pretty good ones. I could have put them in a jug of Pimm’s, but that didn’t seem cere­mo­ni­al enough for the Grand Har­vest.

Trap­ping them in Pimm’s jelly felt more in keep­ing with their status as pre­cious treas­ure. The psy­cho­logy of this had some­thing to do with lock­ing them in a fig­ur­at­ive bank vault I think.

I was also in the mood to drag out my jelly moulds. My mum’s great friend Sally — the per­son who encour­aged me to throw eggs over the roof when I was little — gave the moulds to me when I went to uni­ver­sity, along with the com­plete works of Percy Bysshe Shel­ley. Jelly and poetry cater for a lot of things in life I think.

Pimm’s Jelly

Makes enough for about six

4 sheets gelat­ine

570 ml of Pimm’s and lem­on­ade, mixed one part Pimm’s with three parts lem­on­ade

5 straw­ber­ries, sliced

Snip the gelat­ine into small pieces and add to a bowl with about 50 mls of the Pimm’s mix. Leave for ten minutes and then warm the bowl over a pan of sim­mer­ing water. Once the gelat­ine is thor­oughly melted, pour the mix­ture into the moulds, with a few pieces of straw­berry in each.

Cool in the fridge for a couple of hours and then tip the jelly out into bowls that will show off the glory of the pre­cious fruit. I made a pure lem­on­ade ver­sion for my chil­dren, using the same tech­nique.

Eat the jelly look­ing at a beau­ti­ful view and exclaim­ing in amazement about the deli­cious­ness of the ber­ries. Make a men­tal note to do bet­ter next year.

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