Jams, chutneys, vinegars, cordials and pickles are seasonal products, which give us pleasure throughout the year, hence the name preserves.
At first it may seem difficult but if you learn a few basic techniques along the way you can soon use you own creativity in ingredients, spices, seasonings and of course presentation, for gifts in pots with colorful materials, colors and forms or for daily use at home to brighten many cold cuts, cheeses, soups, roasts etc, they can even replace many a sauce on your plate
I remember as a child helping my cutting up the orange skins with Mum making a years supply Dads favorite marmalade.
In fact marmalade is still one of my favorites and my friend Fayleen makes the best marmalade I know. I get one pot a year, so I am careful with it.
The harvesting of the fruit from your own garden is of course great, but picking in the wild and foraging is fun too, like I do for my elderflower cordial and of course buying at local markets and farms can provide you with your top quality ingredients at a reasonable price
Here are a few of my favorites gathered over the years
Green tomato chutney
A harvest chutney recipe inspired this recipe from Celia Brooks Brown
3 kg green tomatoes chopped into pieces
8 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp mixed spices
I used: – coriander, fennel, mustard, cumin, and (a few nigella seeds) if you have them
8 bay leaves
750g soft brown sugar
5dl vinegar or you could use verjus but be careful some are more acid than others, you need 5% acidity for preserving
Put the tomatoes into a preserving pan with the salt, spices and bay leaves and bring to a slow boil for 20 minutes, add the sugar and vinegar, bring to the boil, then simmer until the mixture is sticky and jammy and almost all of the liquid is evaporated, stir well during the cooking as it may stick and burn.
This took about 2 hours with the tomatoes, as they are quite moist. Cool for 10 minutes, then pour into jars and store it may take time to mature in flavor, but I could not wait to try a small pot last week, it was delicious
This I have been making for 16 years
Its origin is an English Caterer, from Kensington and yes I forgot her name. I think it was Sally Clarke, the forerunner of Ottolenghi for her time
1½ kg onions peeled and cut into thin slices
2 tbsp. salt
1,2 kg sugar
6 dl champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp. cloves in a cloth
2½ tsp. cumin seeds
1. Sprinkle the onions with the salt cover and leave to stand for 1 hour in a cool place, rinse well and pat dry
2. Place the sugar vinegar and cloves in a flat-bottomed pan with thick bottom, bring to the boil stirring well, and allow cooking for a few minutes.
3. Add the onions and the cumin bring to the boil again, then turn down the heat and simmer gently stirring from time to time for approx. 2 hours
4. If you wish to keep the marmalade sterilise the pots well before use and make sure that they are dry before filling
A quince tree in the Moezel
Mostarda di Venezia
This is a recipe from Anna de La Conta but I make it from quince and not pears it is a recipe out the book “ The Complete Mosterd “.
2 kg quince
1 bottle white wine
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Sugar (same weight as fruit puree
5 tablespoons of mustard powder Coleman’s
150 g candied peel
1. Peel the quince and remove the hard core, cut into pieces.
2. Place in a pan with a thick bottom and pour enough wine over to cover them. Add the lemon juice and the rind and allow to cook slowly until the quinces have become soft.
3. Puree the mixture, add the same weight in sugar as the weight of the quince puree to the pan
4. Mix the mustard to a paste; add to the quince mixture with 1 teaspoon of salt and the candied peel.
5. Bring to the boil again and simmer stirring from time to time until it becomes a thick puree. about 20 to 30 minutes.
6. When cooled keep in sterilized airtight jars.