I’ve just spent a week down in Essex, introducing Thrifty Baby to the massed ranks of his nearest and dearest.
We spent a couple of days staying with Frugal Grandma and Grandad. They may be in their eighties, but they are pretty good with technology – and mad keen to press it into use when it can save money. There are solar panels on the roof and Frugal Grandma regularly skypes me from her laptop to see for herself what Thrifty Baby is up to. (There hasn’t been a baby in the family for 20 years; I should probably stop calling him Thrifty Baby and start calling him The Worshipped.)
At the same time, as long time readers will know, Frugal Grandma remains a devotee of the old school thrifty ways. Very little goes to waste and one example of this is her fabled jam cupboard. I have mentioned this before: it is an old kitchen cupboard that my Grandad has fixed up in the garage. The shelves inside are stacked high with jars of glinting jams and jellies. The jars have all been saved and pressed into service time and time again; much of the fruit for the jam comes from her garden, her friends’ gardens and the brambles that dot the sides of the local lanes and highways. Frugal Grandma makes a lot of jam.
Every time I see her, I leave with a couple of jars. Recently though, I’ve been gobbling jam like it’s nobody’s business, as keeping Thrifty Baby fed means that I am eating far more than usual. (What this is doing to our grocery budget is the subject for another post…) The other week the unthinkable happened: we actually ran out of Frugal Grandma jam and actually had to go and buy some. The horror!
As it turned out, a crisis of a different kind had taken place at Frugal Grandma’s at the same time. Her giant freezer had broken down. The food inside was thawing, fast – and it included a lot of fruit that she had frozen with the aim of turning it into jam at a later date. So the kitchen became an impromptu jam factory, with saved jars hurriedly retrieved and all the heavy-bottomed saucepans pressed into service.
The result? A jam cupboard filled to bursting. Frugal Grandma was very concerned that I had actually been out and bought jam, so this time I came away with a box of jars of different flavours, some of which are pictured above. They are delicious. Greengage, blackberry and apple, marmalade, plum… But my favourite is the mysteriously labelled “Raspand”. This is FG shorthand for raspberry and… In this case, the … stands for all the bits and bobs that came out of the freezer, from blackberries to plums and gooseberries.
The marmalade, in case you were wondering, is often made by Frugal Grandma from the tiny oranges that grow on an ornamental plant in her conservatory. They are horribly sour when fresh (yes, I have tried them), but make delicious marm.
Thank you Gramps! Hopefully there’s enough here to keep me going for a while…