IMGP2816 (2)

At this time of year when plastic pumpkins and devils forks and horns begin to appear in all the supermarkets, quite a different phenomenon takes place here in France. The pavements outside florists and corner stores begin to be crowded with large displays of pots of chrysanthemums in gorgeous rich autumnal colours, russet, gold, yellow, and purple. Stalls selling them in abundance set up outside all of the cemeteries (see my last post for information on Parisian cemeteries) and the High streets are filled with colour and nature and the scent of flowers, not witches hats and horror masks and tubs of disgusting cheap sweets to ward off ‘Trick or Treaters’ throwing eggs at you window or burning your car!

‘Halloween’ is celebrated very differently here than in the Anglo Saxon countries. In fact it is not referred to as Halloween at all, but ‘Toussaint’ (all Saints).Toussaint is on the 1st of November and is a public holiday. Families flock to the cemeteries armed with these said chrysanthemums to adorn the graves of their relatives.


The start of tings to come – in a few days time you will not be able to see the pavement – but as I leave for the UK tomorrow, I will miss the best displays!

I am going to spend Halloween with my family in the UK this year, so won’t be posting for a little while. But before I go I thought that the colours of these late plumbs resembled those of the flowers. They are no longer good for eating (and it is a little too cold now for fruit salad) so I have made some jam…….

If you have not made jam before and think that it is complicated – nothing is simpler, providing that you have some basic equipment


Basic jam making essentials

You will need:-

A large pan (preferably copper bottomed, as this distributes the heat more evenly and stops the jam from burning)

A large wooden spoon

A ‘jam’ funnel with a wide aperture

A ladle

Clean jam jars

Cling film


Labels (fancy or functional!)


1kg seasonal fruit

500g jam sugar (I use ‘Fruttina Extra’ by ‘Dr Oetker’ this allows for a higher fruit to sugar ratio – if usng regular sugar the ratio is 1kg sugar for each kg of fruit)

1 tablespoon of lemon juice


Sterilise the jam jars with boiling water, keeping the water inside until ready to use (the jars need to be hot when the jam goes inside to form an airtight seal) I usually wash in the dishwasher immediately before.

Wash and chop up the fruits into small pieces

IMGP2810 (2)

Put the fruit and sugar into the pan and bring to boiling point stirring constantly with a wooden spoon

Reduce the heat, add the lemon juice and simmer for around 15 minutes

Test that the jam is ready by taking a small amount and placing on a plate that has been in the fridge. If it is set when cooled then it is ready, if not continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes and test again.

Pour the jam into the warm pots, leaving ½ /cm air space at the top and cover with cling film before securely fastening the cap.

Leave to cool – when cool the security button on the cap will become flat as it is on an unopened jar of jam, indicating that there is an airtight seal. Once this happens the jam does not have to be stored in a fridge – only after opening.

IMGP0947 (2)

Delicious on some home-made bread!



  1. Osyth says:

    Yup – that’s a mega yum! Toussaint took me by surprise the first year I was here – it coincided with driving to Lyon to pick up Two Brains from the airport and it remains the fastest trip ever … the French are really on holiday that day – they lay their chrysanths and then spend down-time en famille. Enjoy yours. I have the challenge of Englishers who have no concept that much will be shut!!!

  2. lindaravello says:

    Oh dear are they expecting plastic pumpkins – show them this post if they doubt your word – I will be in UK as leaving for there tomorrow – so I may not comment on any posts next week, due to the fact that my mother has no internet access.
    Family are descending on Marc as there is no grave to visit, then it becomes a family day – SO different in a very nice way………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s