Making preserves from the comfort of your own home

Making preserves from the comfort of your own home


Posted 31st August


The end of summer is traditionally viewed as the ideal time for making preserves from the comfort of your own home

In years gone by, preserving was viewed as the perfect way of making use of the abundance of summer fruits, so they could be enjoyed throughout the autumn and winter months.

With preserve making season upon us, Elspeth Biltoft, owner of Rosebud Preserves, shares her top tips for making preserves at home, along with three new recipes.

With over 25 years of experience, Elspeth has a wealth of expertise to share.

She commented: "Preserving at home is inspiring, enjoyable and extremely rewarding. Whether you buy new season fruit, grow it in your garden or forage in the wild, it is possible to capture both traditional and innovative flavour combinations using time-honoured techniques."

"Cooking in small batches by hand can achieve truly wonderful flavours, which will surpass the quality of most commercial preserves and be shared with friends and family all year round."

Her top tips for making preserves at home are:

1 Make successful jam without using pectin infused sugar. Instead try using generous quantities of fruit and try a little lemon juice.

2 Golden granulated sugar is ideal for making jam. Less sweet than sugar made from sugar beet, it gives a slightly mollased flavour to your preserves.

3 When cooking jams, jellies or marmalade, remove th finished product from the heat and pour it into a heatproof container. This prevents the jam from continuing to further cook and spoil.

4 When you're making marmalades and herb jellies, you should allow the product to stand for a few minutes more than you usually would. This ensures that peel or chopped herbs will be evenly distrubuted when jarring.

5 Rather than using wax discs and cellophane tops with rubber bands, you can buy appropriate jars with matching twist off lids. Jar and cap them as soon as possible to draw a vacuum.

Grapefruit Marmalade
Makes 22 x 227g/8oz Jars

You will need: 

2.4kg pink grapefruit
700g white grapefruit
500g lemons
2.7kg golden granulated sugar
5.7 litres water

Equipment

10 litre heavy based saucepan
colander
large heatproof container
measuring jug
wooden spoon
sharp knife
sugar thermometer
22 x 227g/8oz glass jars
22 x suitable twist off lids

1 Prepare the glass jars by washing thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Rinse, drain and then place in a warm oven at 50°C until jam is ready for jarring.

2 Remove the calyx from grapefruits and lemons, wash thoroughly in warm water to remove the wax from the skin.

3 Using a heavy based saucepan add the water and grapefruits, bring to the boil on a medium heat with lid on. Turn the heat down to low before adding the lemons, cook for 45 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally, ensuring the fruit cooks evenly. After 45 minutes the fruit should be tender.

4 Place a colander over a large heatproof container and pour fruit and cooking liquor into the colander. Retain the cooking liquor in the heatproof container and set the fruit aside to cool for 30 minutes.

5 Add 4.5 litres of cooking liquor and sugar to the heavy based saucepan, dissolve sugar over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is thoroughly dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside until required.

6 Using a sharp knife, half the grapefruits and lemons then remove the centre flesh and pips from the skin. Place fruit and peel into separate containers. Slice the peel finely into 0.5cm wide strips.

7 Use a wooden spoon to press the juice and flesh through a sieve, discarding the membrane and pips.

8 Add the finely sliced peel and juicy pulp into the sugared liquor, cook on a high heat for approximately 35 – 40 minutes stirring occasionally, until the marmalade reaches 112°C.

9 When the marmalade reaches this temperature it will appear thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and empty marmalade into a heatproof container and leave to stand for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to distribute

10 Ladle your marmalade into a measuring jug, before filling and lidding each jar.

Pear & Vanilla Jam

Makes 12 x 227g/8oz Jars

You will need

1.85kg Conference pears, peeled, cored & diced (approx 1.5cm)
750g Braeburn apples, peeled, cored & diced (approx 1.5cm)
2 vanilla pods
570ml water
1kg golden granulated sugar
400ml lemon juice

Equipment

10 litre heavy based saucepan
large heatproof container
measuring jug
wooden spoon
whisk
sharp knife
sugar thermometer
12 x 227g/8oz glass jars
12 x suitable twist off lids 

1 Prepare the glass jars by washing thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Rinse, drain and then place in a warm oven at 50°C until jam is ready for jarring.

2 Top, peel and core the pears, wash and chop. Peel and core the apples, wash and chop.

3 Score down the middle of each vanilla pod, scraping out the centre before mixing with 100ml of lemon juice, whisking until the vanilla seeds are evenly dispersed. Keep the vanilla pods for later use.

4 Place the water, pears and vanilla seeds in a heavy based saucepan and cook on a low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes. Add apples and cook for a further 10 minutes.

5 Add the sugar and increase the temperature to achieve a fast boil and cook for 35 minutes, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice and vanilla seeds and cook for approximately 5 minutes, until the jam reaches 104°C.

6 When the jam reaches temperature it will appear thick and glossy and be ready to remove from the pan into a heatproof container. Leave to stand for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to distribute.

7 Ladle the jam into a measuring jug, before filling and lidding each jar.

Rhubarb & Strawberry Jam
Makes 16 x 227g/8oz Jars

You will need

1.5kg rhubarb, green top
1.5kg strawberries
1.1kg golden granulated sugar
200ml lemon juice

Equipment

10 litre heavy based saucepan
large heatproof container
measuring jug
wooden spoon
sugar thermometer
16 x 227g/8oz glass jars
16 x suitable twist off lids

1 Prepare your glass jars by washing thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Rinse, drain and then place in a warm oven at 50°C until jam is ready for jarring.

2 Top and tail the rhubarb, wash and chop into 20mm pieces. Wash and hull the strawberries, draining thoroughly.

3 Using a heavy based saucepan add the rhubarb and sugar. Cook on a low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, gradually bringing to the boil.

4 Add the strawberries and lemon juice, increase the temperature to a fast boil and cook for approximately 25 minutes stirring constantly, until the jam reaches 106°C.

5 When the jam reaches this temperature it will appear thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and empty into a heatproof container. Skim any foam left, off the top, and leave to stand for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to distribute.

6 Ladle the jam into a measuring jug, before filling and lidding each jar.

Recipe courtesy of Elspeth Biltoft, owner of Rosebud Preserves





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