I believe that creativity is an intrinsic part of a human being and to be able to create arts/ crafts can be extremely important for a person’s wellbeing. Arts and crafts, usually relating to the garden, are often used at Social and Therapeutic Horticulture projects. They feature strongly in the projects that I manage in Cambridge with homeless and vulnerably housed people.
Today, I started a new side project – The Riverside Garden Arts and Crafts Project – which will run on Tuesday afternoons at the Victoria Project hostels. The group and I have already had loads of ideas about the sessions that we want to do, including – building a flower press and pressing wild flowers from our garden, making paper out of scraps from the garden, building solitary bee houses, making chutney from our gluts, making wire and stone hangings for the trees, making mosaics from found objects in the garden…….. I will be posting about some of them as we go ahead.
For our first session today we made some bramble cordial in one of the communal kitchens.
We picked a load of blackberries from the wildlife area and rinsed them in the sink.
We put them all in a saucepan and just covered them with water, then put them on a medium heat (but didn’t let them boil) for about ten minutes. Then, using a steamer and some clean muslin we separated the juice into another big pan. Paula couldn’t see any go to waste so she squeezed every single drop out of the muslin (see worrying third picture!)
We then put the liquid back on a medium heat and added the sugar (about 200g per litre but you can use more or less depending on how sweet you like it.) That was then heated (not boiled) for a few more minutes to melt the sugar and we decanted it into clean glass jars and bottles using an ingenious funnel made by Greg.
At this point you can add acetic acid to help preserve it but we didn’t bother because all the bottles have been snapped up by project group members, other residents/ staff at the hostel and will be used up quickly.
The cordial is really tasty and it was great to use our own produce to create something so delicious. Can’t wait for our next project sessions. Watch this space.