By: GreenandPleasantLand on Dec. 13, 2020, 2:07 p.m.
We have historically preserved fruits, vegetables and meat so that they can remain edible for longer, however with the invention of refrigeration this is no longer required. However, preserving fruits and vegetables offer different flavours and consistencies which make them a delicacy today.
Methods of Preserving
There are two different methods of preserving fruit and vegetables: using sugar and using vinegar.
Jams are made from fruits and sugar that is cooked together until it sets. They contain bits of fruit and seeds, but should be spreadable. Once they have been sealed in a jar they can last up to one year.
Marmalades are similar to jams except they are made from citrus fruit such as lemons, limes and oranges, and can contain the fruit peel which adds some bitterness and texture. They can last up to a year once sealed just like jams.
Jellies do not contain any bits of the fruit, just the fruit juices. It is made by gently cooking the fruits and then they are left to strain overnight. The juice is then boiled with sugar until it sets.
Chutneys are made from a mixture of fruit and vegetables cooked with sugar, spices and vinegar. They need to be left to mature for at least 6 weeks before they are ready to be eaten as this allows the flavours to develop.
Relishes contain the same ingredients to chutney except the vegetables are usually more roughly chopped and less vinegar is used. Unlike with chutneys, they can be ready to be used the day after it has been made.
Sweet pickles have the fruit or vegetables stewed in sweet and spicy vinegar.
Mixed pickles have the mixed vegetables brined or salted before they are cooked in thickened vinegar and usually with spices.
What equipment do you need?
Thankfully there isn’t much specialist equipment that is needed apart from a preserving pan. These should be large with a heavy bottom and made out of stainless steel and a pour lip is very useful. They tend to cost between £30 - £60 and can also be used for making chutneys and relishes, so they are very versatile.
You will need jars in order to store what you have made in. You can either buy new jars or reuse the jars you have bought food in. Either way, you will need to buy new lids and rubber sealing rings. For jam jars, use metal twist-top lids lined with either plastic or rubber, and you can also use wax discs or cellophane covers. For vinegar based preserves, don’t use metal lids as these will rust, instead use plastic lined screw tops or clip top jars with rubber seals.
In addition to the above and basic kitchen essentials, you will also need:
• Jelly Bag and stand
• Small freezer-proof plates
• Nylon Sieve
• Jam Funnel
• Measuring Spoons
Here are some videos to give you an idea of what to expect:
How to Make Strawberry Jam!! Homemade Small Batch Preserves Recipe
Seville Orange Marmalade | Pam 'the Jam' Corbin
Tomato Chutney Recipe | How to make Tomato chutney at home
Cucumber Pickle | Pam The Jam Corbin