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Share with us the secrets of your jams, pickles and other preserves

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      27.12.2013 15:20
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      A very easy to make jam

      Introduction

      Here's a recipe that goes well with meats - ideal for Christmas cold cuts of turkey, ham, game etc. I've never seen Rowan berries in shops, but look around where you live for the trees as they are really common and not easily confused with other types of berries which could be harmful to eat. There are still Rowan berries on the trees at the moment, but if you do forage for some then first of all make sure you have the landowner's permission and also don't strip a tree bare - always leave some for the birds who eat these over the cold winter months. You may know of Rowan trees by their other name, Mountain Ash. A quick google images search will point you in the right direction.

      Ingredients

      De-stalked Rowan berries, weighed
      The same weight in sugar
      1 apple, peeled and chopped

      Method

      Wash and remove the stalks from the berries. Then throw them and the chopped apple into a heavy bottomed pan and bring slowly to the boil. While the contents are heating up, add the sugar in small amounts. When it's bubbling away nicely, ramp up the heat and this will thicken up the mixture and make it more "jammy".

      Whilst still hot, add to sterilised jars and cover straight away.

      How easy is that? Personally, it's not to my taste as I find it too sharp - a bit like unripe gooseberries or unsweetened rhubarb. This sharpness does go well with duck though and I can tolerate it with that, I just wouldn't want to eat it on it's own as a jam butty - it really isn't that sort of jam!

      I've played around with this recipe and added less sugar, more apple, some lemon juice etc. It's not an exact science, it's a fairly easy jam to make so could recommend it to those who have never made a jam before.

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      10.02.2009 12:55
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      Rhubarb Jam

      Rhubarb Jam

      This is a home made recipe for Rhubarb jam. I do not like Rhubarb but my other half does and he assures me that it is absolutely fantastic and really easy to make. Some people dread even thinking about the hard work that goes into making preserves but honestly, it is easy and you can do it.

      These are the ingredients that I use to make a Rhubarb Jam.

      2 ½ pounds in weight of Rhubarb (we have a market here on a Thursday and buy from there, much tastier than supermarket rhubarb and from a market it is a lot cheaper as I buy in bulk!)
      2 ½ pounds also in sugar (granulated)
      Juice of one Large lemon

      Preparing the Rhubarb.

      Just wash the Rhubarb under cold water (leave the skin on for pink Jam!) and then slice so that it is easier for it to reduce in a shorter time.

      How to make the Jam.

      1.Put the rhubarb into a large heavy pan along with the juice of the lemon, on a low heat.
      2. Allow to boil.
      3. Add the sugar and let it dissolve, stirring every now and again.
      4. Allow to boil again and then leave it there for around 10 minutes boiling.

      Now the jam is done, it will be quite thick in the pan and this is what you need. Grab a funnel and funnel the jar down into a sterilised Jar (they need to be sterilised first!) that you have picked for your jam to go into. I use big jam jars so this mixture goes into 3-4 Jar Jars but could stretch to around 6 if you have normal sized jars. Make sure that you seal your jam tight with a lid also.

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      10.10.2008 22:02
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      Go on, have a go at making this - tell me how you get on!

      It is that time of the year, it is getting chilly and we're starting to think about winter, and some of us are thinking about Christmas and squirreling things away. Now is the time to make Chutney, so that it will be perfect to eat at Christmas and in the winter months. If you're worried about making it, don't be - Chutney isn't as fraught to make as jam (much easier) and even if it isn't perfect when you make it, it usually tastes lovely when kept a couple of months!

      This recipe is for my absolute favourite, Plum and Ginger Chutney, which is fantastic with a good cheddar or stilton and I'm sure would be great with cold meat, or even fish, too. It looks lovely in a jar - a deep dark purpley red - making it an ideal (inexpensive, but thoughtful!) Christmas gift. Plums are on offer in supermarkets at the moment, or you may even be lucky enough to find a tree.

      Prepare 4 jars - either reuse old (washed!) jam jars, or for presents you could buy the nice ones with a wire snap lid. If you reuse jars with a metal lid don't fill them right up to the top, or else use a circle of waxed paper and cellophane as a lid instead, held on with an elastic band. (Metal shouldn't come into contact with preserves.) They need to be sterilised either by pre-washing hot in a dishwasher or in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes.

      ****Ingredients****
      750g plums - de-stoned and cut into quarters
      2 onions (I usually use red ones) - peeled and chopped
      1 clove garlic - peeled and crushed
      50g fresh ginger - peeled and chopped finely
      125g sultanas
      400g brown sugar
      450ml distilled vinegar

      Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. (See how easy this is?!)
      Bring to the boil and then simmer (at a lower heat) for about 40 minutes. You should stir frequently during this time. The chutney will begin to thicken and go all glossy.

      Allow to partially cool before transferring to the waiting jars.

      You are going to want to eat this straight away, but believe me, it improves with keeping. This means that the most delicious spoonful will be the very last one of the very last jar. I made 2 batches last Autumn and begrudgingly gave several jars away. I think I better make more this year!

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        13.08.2008 16:03
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        a cheap and delicious accompaniment to cheese

        this recipe makes 4lb of chutney. take 6lb of ripe tomatoes and chop into chunky pieces. take 1lb onion and peel and chop. put them both in a large heavy pan. cook gently then simmer for 20-30 minutes until they are tender. add 1oz salt, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 pint malt vinegar and then cook gently for 45 minutes or until it thickens. add 12oz granulated sugar and another 1/4 pint of malt vinegar and then stir until all the sugar has dissolved. continue to gently cook the chutney until it becomes thick. while all this is happening take any jam jars with metal twist off lids and wash them then put them in a low oven until they are dry ( this sterilizes them ). when the chutney is thick put into the jars whilst they are still warm to avoid any cracking and put the lid on. leave to cool then put them in your cupboard for about 5 weeks then enjoy! i give these out to family along with their christmas presents and they love it.

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        12.07.2008 12:06
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        a really good lemon curd recipe

        LEMON CURD - makes about 500g or 1lb4oz

        I love traditional recipes - do you think there will be a revival with the economic climate as it is??

        INGREDIENTS:
        100g/4 oz butter
        200g/8 oz of granulated sugar
        3 standard eggs and 1 standard yolk, beaten together
        3 medium-sized lemons

        METHOD:

        1. Melt the butter in a double saucepan (or use a basin standing over a saucepan of gently simmering water)
        2. Add the eggs,sugar and exta yolk along with the finely grated rind and juice of the lemons
        3. Cook gently without boiling until the curd thickens sufficiently to catch the back of the spoon (This is important beacause if overheated the mixture may curdle and separate)
        4. Pour into clean,dry and warm jars and cover as you would for jam.

        ***store in a very cool place and do not keep longer then two weeks ***

        I love this recipe - we used to make it at school & my Granny used to sell loads for her local chapel fairs - I've never bought anything from the shops that tastes this good!

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        08.07.2008 19:13
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        Try it, homemade jam is great

        Everybody loves jam with it's sweet flavour and many uses ranging form a toast topper or sandwich topper to a cake filler. It may be bad for our teeth what with being full of sugar but at least it tastes good! Almost everybody loves jam, not just kids who often can't get enough of it, but adults too, I know I still love jam. What's more is that it comes in a range of flavours, the most common of which of course is strawberry! There are many others though for those of you who wish to give your taste buds a change, there's blackcurrant, raspberry, plum & quince. You can make almost any fruit into a jam but to able to do that you need a recipe. So here is a basic recipe for raspberry jam, you can't get much simpler than this one:

        To make 3kg of jam you will need:

        2kg of raspberries
        2kg of caster sugar

        Tip the fruit into a saucepan and switch it on to boil them.
        Mash up the fruit, this works well with a potato masher.
        Once it is satisfactorily liquid, allow to boil for 2 minutes.
        Add the sugar.
        Allow the sugar to melt into the mixture, keep stirring and let it completely boil.
        Remove from the heat and mix thoroughly for about 5 minutes.
        Ladle the hot mixture into clean hot jars leaving about 1-2 cms space at the top.
        Seal the jars.
        Put the jars in a bowl of boiling water for minutes.
        Allow to cool down and they should be ready to eat.

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          09.01.2008 20:42
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          Two recipes that are definitely worth a try

          I'm well aware that I sound like I've just walked off the set of The Good Life, but making your own preserves is a fun and original way of solving your Christmas present dilemmas. Save up nice-looking jars through the year, fill them with yummy chutneys and jams, cover them with a square of material tied with a piece of ribbon and you can even design your own labels on the internet.

          The easiest way to sterilise jars is in a baby's bottle steriliser, but if you don't happen to have one, wash your jars in warm soapy water and then leave to dry in an oven at 140 degrees centigrade.

          Here are my two favourite recipes for you to try:

          Onion Marmalade
          =============

          Goes brilliantly in a cheese sandwich.....

          Preparation time - 20 minutes
          Cooking time - 1 hour
          Fills three jam jars

          Ingredients

          3 tbsp olive oil
          1.5kg peeled onions, sliced as finely as you can get them
          300g dark muscovado sugar
          200ml red wine vinegar
          3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
          3 garlic cloves, crushed
          1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
          half a tsp salt
          pinch of paprika
          1 chili

          Fry the onions in a large saucepan over a very low heat until soft and starting to go a sweaty brown colour. Stir in half the sugar and cook for 5 minutes, still on a low heat. Stir in all the other ingredients. Simmer for about 45 minutes until reduced and spoon into sterilized jars while still piping hot. Cover with circles of waxed paper or baking parchment.

          Blackberry Jam
          ===========

          So delicious that it's worth finding the nearest blackberry bushes to where you live...

          Preparation time - 10 minutes
          Cooking time - about 30 minutes
          Makes 4 jam jars

          Ingredients

          1kg blackberries
          1kg jam sugar
          juice of 1 lemon

          If you've picked the blackberries from a hedge, rinse them first in plenty of water. There's always the odd maggot and this will get rid of them.

          Put all your ingredients in a big heavy-bottomed saucepan and let the sugar dissolve over a low heat. When dissolved, turn the heat up and bring the jam to a boil. Boil until setting point is reached. You can tell this by either using a cooking thermometer, or by dropping a drop of jam onto a cold saucer. If it wrinkles when you push at it with your finger, it's ready.

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            20.11.2007 11:48
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            Home made chutneys.

            I love Christmas! I love shopping for special food and presents. I also love cooking. I make my Christmas cake in October and always make my own mince pies. I love buying lots of different cheeses for the holiday period and like to make, my own chutneys to go with them. Here are a few of my all time, foolproof favourites. I hope you will enjoy them too!

            Simple chutney.
            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
            This chutney is easy to make and doesn’t need any cooking. It is a fun chutney to make with your children as there is no danger from getting burnt.

            1 lb of stoneless dates.

            1 lb. Cooking apples.

            1 lb brown sugar.

            1 lb sultanas.

            1-teaspoon salt.

            1 lb onions.

            1-pint vinegar.

            11/2 teaspoons of pickling spice.

            ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

            1 piece of whole ginger-grated.

            1. Mix the first 4 ingredients together and then ad the salt.
            2. Mix the spice and grated ginger together. Add the sugar and vinegar. Mix well. Then add to the other ingredients.
            3. Leave the mixture in a bowl for 24 hours covered. Stir the mixture several times.
            4. Pack into jars.

            Date chutney
            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
            1 lb stoned dates.
            ¼ lb onions.
            ¼ lb Demerara sugar.
            6 red chillies.
            ¼ lb raisins.
            1 clove of garlic.
            1 teaspoon of salt.
            1 pint of vinegar.

            1. Chop the dates and garlic finely.
            2. Put all the other ingredients in a pan with the vinegar and boil until everything is soft.
            3. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
            4. When the chutney is cool pack into a jar.
            This makes about 1lb of chutney. It tastes lovely with cheese and cold meat!


            Beetroot chutney.
            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
            This recipe makes about 5 lbs of chutney. You could always give some as a present with a selection of cheeses. I gave a friend a jar of chutney with some unusual cheeses on a cheese board last year and she has asked for the same again this year!

            3 lbs beetroot.

            11/2 lbs cooking apples.

            ½ lb sugar.

            1 pint of spiced vinegar

            Juice of 1 lemon.

            1 teaspoon of salt.

            ½ teaspoon ground ginger- I like to grind my own.

            1. Boil the beetroot. Peel core and chop the apples.
            2. Chop the onions.
            3. Place in a pan with the salt, ginger, sugar lemon juice and vinegar.
            4. Cook slowly for about 20 minutes until everything is soft.
            5. Add the peeled and chopped beetroot and boil for another 15 minutes.
            6. When cool place in jars and seal.

            Tomato Chutney.
            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
            2 lbs of tomatoes.

            2 onions.

            1 lb of cooking apples.

            1 teaspoon of salt.

            ½ oz mixed spice.

            ¾ pint of vinegar.

            12 oz brown sugar.

            4 oz sultanas

            1 teaspoon of ground ginger.

            1. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Place in a pan with the finely chopped onion.
            2. Peel and core the apples. Then ad to the pan.
            3. Add the salt and sultanas.
            4. Cover the pan and cook gently for about an hour until the onions are soft.
            5. Add the other ingredients and cook uncovered until the mixture is thick.
            6. When the chutney is thick place a little onto a plate to check it is set.

            This recipe can be made using green tomatoes if you prefer your chutney to be a little less sweet.

            I have made all these chutneys and they work well. My favourite has to be the tomato chutney. I hope the recipes are useful.

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              28.10.2007 14:04
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              Homemade and yummy!

              Where we live we are fortunate enough to have quite a few areas of unspoiled (ie not near a road) blackberry bushes.

              After making several batches of blackberry jam recently (my preserving pan is very old and has been inherited and can only cope with 1kg of fruit - slightly annoying), I had 450g of blackberries left over. I was about to freeze them as I wouldn't have had enough to make a whole 2lb jar and the only small jar I had left would have been too small and then I remembered the punnet of blueberries I had in my fridge so thought that I would combine the two fruits and try out a black and blue jam.

              The recipe is simple and to be honest I think I hit on the right balance of the fruit straight away - 60% blackberry and 40% blueberry but you are more than welcome to try another combination and see how that turns out.

              The jam is a beautiful, glossy dark purple colour. It looks really sumptuous and is very moreish (hence why there isn't much left!). It is sweet and yet it has bite from the blackberries which is balanced with the blueberries which add a real smoothness to the taste. I like to keep as much of the fruit bits as I can in my jam but you can strain it if you are not a fan of blackberry pips. But the fruit gives it a lovely texture that makes it look even more yummy on crumpets and bread. I even used it in an upside down jam pudding and when it was turned out the jam formed a rich sauce with lovely pieces of blackberry through it, which oozed down the sponge. Totally scrummy!

              I was also really pleased that there was no cloyiness after you finished it. It was just nice and clean and made you want more!

              I use Tate & Lyle's Jam sugar (£1.08 for a kg bag from Sainsbury) so that I don't need to worry about adding pectin etc. It's just all in the sugar and you use the same weight of sugar to fruit - how simple is that!

              So for this batch of jam I used

              450g of blackberries (washed with all stalks, leaf debris etc removed)
              300g of blueberries (washed with all stalks removed)
              the juice of one good size lemon (ensure no pips get in the mix)
              750g of jam sugar.

              Method:
              - Heat the blackberries, blueberries and squeezed lemon juice in your preserving pan or heavy based saucepan for a couple of minutes until the fruit starts to break down slightly and release its juice.
              - Add the jam sugar and mix/stir until dissolved and then let it boil at a rolling boil for 6 minutes or until the setting point is reached. If you have a confectionary/sugar thermometer you should look out for 105 degree centigrade. According to my Mum's jam making recipes this is the usual setting point but it is always wise to check. One thing I always do to check setting point is put a couple of saucers into the freezer for a few minutes before I start making the jam and when I am ready to test take one out, take the jam off the heat and place a teaspoon of the mixture onto the cold saucer. If it immediately sets and when you push it with your finger the surface crinkles then it has reached its setting point. If it is still a little too runny then put it back on the heat boil for a little longer testing at 1 minute intervals (hence why you need 2 saucers in the freezer just in case!)
              - Once setting point is achieved you allow it to stand for 15 minutes and then you can skim off any scum from the surface before jarring up.

              Your jars must be sterilized. I always do this by
              - washing the jars (usually old jars that I buy honey, olives, pickles in etc) in very hot soapy water and then rinsing in hot water
              - I pour freshly boiled water into them and allow them to stand for a few minutes.
              - Just before I start making the jam I turn the oven on to 200 degrees centigrade (depending on how long it takes your oven to heat up you may need to do this earlier) and by the time the jam has finished cooking the temperature is reached. Then using tongs I tip the water out of the jars and pop them onto an ovenproof tray and put into the oven for 10 minutes.
              - I boil the lids for 15 minutes in a pan of water.
              -Always remember to handle the hot jars with tongs or oven gloves.

              I always time it so that I take the jars out just after I have skimmed the jam and then I am ready to pour the jam in. I use a funnel to ensure no mess gets around the side of the jars and it is far quicker as you just ladle it in. Fill the jar to 1/2 a centimetre below the jar neck and place a wax disc onto the jam immediately. Once they are almost cool I wet the cellophane discs and place them over the jar top and secure with an elastic band. As that dries it forms a really tight seal and then I screw the lid on. As long as the seal is not broken you can keep the jam for up to 6 months and or 3 weeks in the fridge once opened.

              I made approx 950g of jam in the batch and all it cost me was the blueberries which were on offer in Sainsburys and were £1.49 (but can be as much as £3.99), a lemon - £0.16 and £0.81 for the sugar (750g of a 1kg bag) - a grand total of £2.46 (£1.17 per 454g). It isn't really any cheaper than buying the jam but it is so much nicer.

              If you are looking for something slightly different I can really recommend my little experiment of a jam.

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                10.07.2007 13:40
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                Easy, cheap, delicious accompaniment to pork and cold meats

                When I first decided that I was going to have a go at making jam, I was under the impression that it was some mysterious dark art practiced only by the duly indoctrinated members of rural covens (or the WI). A few years on, I will admit to having had a few disasters, but in the main things have turned out edible. One of my favourite recipes remains one of the easiest, and an excellent one for beginners: crab apple jelly. (“Jelly” just means a clear jam, not the wobbly stuff you have with ice cream, by the way).

                INGREDIENTS

                Crab apples, up to 4lbs
                1 lemon
                Sugar, 1lb per pint of cooked apple juice
                Cinnamon stick (optional)

                “Crab” apples are small, sour apples; the trees that they come from are descendents of wild, rather than cultivated, apple varieties. I have always been lucky enough to have them growing in my garden; however, if you are not blessed in this way, you may find them for sale at farmers’ markets and the like, although they’re not typically available from supermarkets.

                EQUIPMENT

                LARGE pan and lid, preferably stainless steel
                Clean tea towel or, if you want to be fancy, a muslin bag
                Ladle
                Glass jars and lids
                Waxed paper discs
                Clear plastic film covers, elastic bands, sticky labels

                METHOD

                To start with, rinse the apples and cut them into quarters. Don’t worry about peeling or coring as you will be straining the fruit later. Put the apples together with the halved lemon into a large saucepan, with a couple of inches of water in the bottom to stop them from sticking when you turn on the heat. You will need a large enough pan to hold TWICE the volume of the fruit and sugar. This is because to get the jam to set, you need to cook it at a “rolling boil”, which makes it double in volume. So if you don’t have a very large pan, it’s best to make your jam in batches. In any case, the largest batch I would recommend is about 4lbs of crab apples. Put the lid on tight and boil them to destruction – usually around 45 minutes to an hour is sufficient. (If you have a pressure cooker, then this would be ideal for this step and cut down the time).

                I have also experimented with freezing the apples and crushing them once frozen – something my dad used to do when he was making cider – to lessen the cooking time needed, but frankly, they break up easily enough from quarters, so it doesn’t seem worth the bother, plus I’m not sure whether freezing them spoils the taste.

                Now you need to strain the fruit. I do this by pegging a CLEAN tea towel over a big old mixing bowl, although you should be warned that this step does take ages so you might want to invest in a “proper” muslin bag (like a long sock) that you can just fill to the brim and leave to its own devices overnight. A tea towel needs a couple of refills – but since my husband sells them, amongst other things, for a living, we have an endless free supply so it would seem churlish not to use them! Do NOT squeeze the bag, or you will end up with a cloudy final product – the aim is to get a completely clear apple juice. The lemon is not completely necessary, by the way, but gives a nice zing, and makes sure that the juice is acidic to help the setting process.

                Once you have your clear juice, put it back in the cleaned pan, and add 1lb of sugar per pint of juice that you have extracted. You can use ordinary granulated sugar, or pay extra for special “jam” sugar which has a finer grain, although I can’t tell you whether this gives a better finish as I’ve never bothered (ahem, could afford) to try it. Dissolve all the sugar over a gentle heat. You’ll be able to tell when it’s all dissolved if you use a wooden spoon as you can no longer feel a crunch at the bottom of the pan. Then crank up the heat and get the mixture boiling – you need to achieve a “rolling boil”, which means that it is actively boiling (ie more than a simmer) but not rising up the pan. If you can not get rid of the bubbles with stirring, but it’s not rising up the pan, then you are at the right point. You can add the cinnamon stick here if you want extra flavouring (wrapped in a piece of muslin to prevent it breaking up). You want to boil for about 30-45 minutes, or until the jelly will set.

                As an aside, the reason that this recipe is so good for beginners is due to the high pectin content in crab apples. Pectin is a naturally occurring sugar found in some fruit and vegetables, and acts as a gelling agent, in the presence of acids and sugar, to make jam set. With some fruits, the pectin content is very low so you have to mix n’ match, or use additional pectin to get the jam to set, but this crab apple recipe seems fairly bomb proof and sets well every time. You can tell when the jelly will set by dropping a teaspoon full onto a refrigerated cold saucer. If it sets, the mixture is ready.

                In the meantime, you need to prepare your jars ready for the jelly. I have an assortment of jars that I have collected over the years, but if you’re doing it for the first time, it’s worth knowing that a 2lb jam jar holds about 1 ¼ pints of jelly. (And for those of you who actually DID go metric in the 1970s, that 1lb = 454g). These need to be scrupulously clean, so that the jelly will keep for a long time without going off. A hot wash in the dishwasher should be sufficient, although give them a quick check over afterwards. I usually wash them just before I’m going to use them, so that they are kept warm in the hot steam; be warned, if you allow them to get cold and pour hot jelly into them, they will crack. So if you wash them by hand, you may want to keep them warm them in the oven before use.

                As soon as your jelly is at setting point, take it off the heat and ladle it (or if you’re brave, pour it) straight into your waiting jars, and slip a wax disc on top. The aim is to get an airtight seal as quickly as possible, to lessen the chance of any germs getting in. Put a transparent plastic cover over the top, and secure with an elastic band, then the jar lid if you have it. The jelly should then keep in a dark, cool place for at least several weeks, possibly longer although mine never lasts that long before it’s eaten so I couldn’t say for sure. It would be sensible to check for signs of mould by then anyway!

                THE COST

                I expect that any of you who are thinking of trying this recipe are wondering how much it will cost, so I have done a rough break down per pint of jelly and per a 2lb jar. A 2lb jam jar holds about 1 ¼ pints. The crab apples are free from my garden so you’ll have to add the cost of these if you are buying them, and the jars themselves if you have not accumulated recycled ones. All consumables prices are from Tesco, wax discs etc. from eBay.

                Fair-trade sugar:
                94p per 1 kg/2.2lbs = 43p per 1lb sugar = 43p per pint of jelly = 53p per 2lb jar

                Lemon (assuming 1 lemon in 4 pints):
                19p per lemon = approx 5p per pint of jelly = approx 6p per 2lb jar

                Cinammon sticks (assuming half a stick used in 4 pints):
                £1.08 for 4 sticks = approx 4p per pint of jelly = approx 4p per 2lb jar

                Wax discs/covers/bands and labels:
                Approx £2 for a set of 24 = approx 8p per 2lb jar

                Overall cost:
                Approx 71p per 2lb jar of jelly

                I have not included the cost of cooking, but you can see that this jelly is quite cheap to make. As well as being delicious, it makes an ideal cheap present and I have found it to be well received by friends and family.

                THE TASTE / USE

                This crab apple jelly goes really well with roast pork and particularly all cold meats, especially with the cinnamon added. Admittedly, it does have a fairly high sugar content (although lower than most shop-bought versions of apple sauce or jam) but it’s an accompaniment, not a main meal and I think we can all get a little paranoid about our food these days. You could try making it with a smaller quantity of sugar, although this would probably affect the setting, and also as crab apples are very sour, they do need a lot of sugar to make the jelly palatable, unless you like a particularly tart taste.

                Enjoy!

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                  30.05.2007 09:44
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                  A long wait till ready but worth it!

                  I love pickled eggs! Especially the ones from the chip shop. You know the ones. You go and get your fish'n'chips and get a lovely pickled egg on the side. Yummy!

                  Well unfortunately for me I cannot get chip shop style pickled eggs here in germany. Probably because the locals use a different kind of vinegar for their pickles and it doesn't taste the same. Fussy me. So I decided that I would make my own......

                  You will need

                  A large pan (I use my soup pot as it is huge)
                  A clean, sterilised glass jar
                  Eggs
                  Pickling vinegar

                  (I used a very large glass jar which holds 22 eggs, so the recipe is for a large amount of eggs, although the process is the same no matter how many eggs you use.)

                  Hard boil the eggs. I boiled all 22 in one pan for about 20 minutes, then refreshed them with cold water. After they had cooled sufficiently for me to handle them (unfortunately I do not have asbestos fingers like hubby the chef lol), carefully shell the eggs and place the eggs in the jar. Dispose of the shells any way you like (we have a bio bin for food waste so they go in there). Pour in the pickling vinegar, covering the eggs but leaving a small gap at the top of the jar, mainly so that it can get closed properly. I used Sarsons Ready Spiced Pickling Vinegar, but you could make your own pickling vinegar if you want to.

                  You must leave the jar of eggs untouched for at least 3 to 4 weeks. After that ...... enjoy at your leisure! My eggs are pickled in brown vinegar so they do come out a brown colour, but will stay white if you use white pickling vinegar (unfortunately our naafi only stocks brown vinegar suitable for pickling!).

                  Thank you for reading and happy pickling! Di xx

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                    28.05.2007 14:18
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                    Home preserving is not difficult and is fun to do

                    I love to cook, and quite enjoy buying or growing some of my own food, as well as plucking freebies from public hedgerows in season. In addition to eating them fresh or cooking shortly after obtaining them, I quite like preserving them for later use.

                    To preserve, or home can as it is often called in the US, you will need a few basic supplies to keep on hand, such as preserving jars, wax discs, and lids. While easily obtained in the US at super markets and discounts stores, it is not quite so simple to buy these on the high street in the UK. You can find supplies on Ebay however, or from specialist retailers such as Wares of Knutsford, who operates offline as well as online (you can find them online at www.waresofknutsford.co.uk/ )

                    Here are a few of my favourite preserves, which also happen to be the first ones I ever attempted, so are easy for beginners too.

                    ~~~~Grape jelly~~~~

                    American jelly is actually a clear jam, not a gelatine dessert. Grape jelly is traditional on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and also a firm American favourite on toast. Seeing as I cannot buy Welches’ Grape jelly here at the supermarket, I make do making my own using their juice.

                    Sterilise the jam jars as advised by the manufacturer. Then proceed with the recipe:


                    3 3/4 c .jam sugar (the sort that has the pectin already added in)
                    1 c. water
                    2 c. grape juice (the purple kind)

                    Measure the grape juice and water into a large saucepan. Over high heat, stir until it comes to a fast boil. All at once, add all the sugar., return to rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes, while stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and pour quickly into 5 or 6 hot jam jars. Fill to 1/2-inch from top and seal immediately.


                    ~~~~Hamburger and Hot Dog sweet pickle relish~~~~

                    Great for these BBQ summer days, to jazz up a quick home cooked burger anytime, and you can even use up extra courgettes from the garden instead of cucumbers.


                    6 c. finely diced cucumber or courgette or both
                    2 onions, finely diced
                    1/4 c. salt
                    1 each - red and green bell peppers, finely diced
                    2 1/4 c. vinegar
                    3 1/2 sugar
                    1 tsp. each: celery seed, dry mustard, turmeric, nutmeg
                    Dash black pepper

                    Place cucumbers and onions in a deep bowl., add salt, cover with cold water. Let stand 2 ½ hours. Rinse and drain. Combine vinegar, sugar and spices, add cucumber mixture and chopped the green and red peppers. Simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat.. Hot pack into hot jars (boil seals and rings) and seal immediately l. Process 10 minutes in hot water bath.

                    ~~~Blackberry Rhubarb jam~~~~

                    Another firm favourite that also makes a great gift tucked in a homemade assembled gift basket is this recipe. I adapted it from the Tate and Lyle recipe that uses raspberries instead, but why ignore free fruit from the hedgerows?

                    Ingredients
                    900g (2lb) trimmed rhubarb (prepared weight)
                    250g blackberries
                    2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
                    1kg Jam Sugar
                    Instructions
                    To make;
                    - Cut the rhubarb into 2.5cm (1") lengths, and put into a large bowl with the lemon juice and sugar. Mix together then cover and refrigerate (stirring occasionally) until the sugar begins to dissolve and the juices run from the fruit.
                    This is best done overnight and softens the rhubarb.
                    - Turn the mixture into a very large heavy pan and bring the rhubarb mixture to simmer over a medium heat.
                    - Add the raspberries and boil the jam for approximately 6 minutes until the mixture is thick.
                    - Remove the pan form the heat and using a slotted spoon remove all the froth form he surface
                    - Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes then stir the jam gently and pour into pre sterilised jars while still hot.
                    - Cover with waxed discs, cellophane covers adn secure with a rubber band.
                    - Label the jar with name and date


                    ~~~~Jarred tomatoes to use instead of tinned~~~~
                    Many people like to grow their own tomatoes. It is quite easy in summer to get quite overwhelmed with tomatoes. You can of course juice them, or you can can them, and this is how to go about canning them safely by following the US Dept of Agriculture’s advice (courtesy of http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/nutrition/DJ1097.htm):


                    ~~CRUSHED TOMATOES
                    WITHOUT ADDED LIQUID~~
                    A high-quality product, ideally suited for use in soups, stews, and casseroles.
                    Quantity
                    An average of 22 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 14 fresh pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 17 to 20 quarts of crushed tomatoes-an average of 2-3/4 pounds per quart.
                    Procedure
                    Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins, and remove cores. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions and quarter. Heat 1/6 of the quarters quickly in a large pot, crushing them with a wooden mallet or spoon as they are added to the pot. This will exude juice. Continue heating the tomatoes, stirring to prevent burning. Once the tomatoes are boiling, gradually add remaining quartered tomatoes, stirring constantly. These remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed. They will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added. Then boil gently 5 minutes. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars. See instructions under Acidification. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. Fill jars immediately with hot tomatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.
                    Recommended Processes
                    (Crushed Tomatoes Without Added Liquid)
                    1. Boiling Water Bath:
                    o Pints, 40 minutes
                    o Quarts, 50 minutes
                    2. Dial-gauge Pressure Canner:
                    o Pints and Quarts,
                    o 20 minutes 6 PSI or
                    o 15 minutes 11 PSI
                    3. Weighted-gauge Pressure Canner:
                    o Pints and Quarts,
                    o 20 minutes 10 PSI or
                    o 15 minutes 15 PSI

                    ~~WHOLE OR HALVED TOMATOES
                    PACKED IN WATER~~
                    Quantity
                    An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 15 to 21 quarts-an average of 3 pounds per quart.
                    Procedure (for hot or raw tomatoes filled with water in jars)
                    Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split; then dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve the tomatoes. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars. See instructions under Acidification. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. For hot-pack products, add enough water to cover the tomatoes and boil them gently for 5 minutes. Fill jars with hot tomatoes or with raw peeled tomatoes. Add the hot cooking liquid to the hot pack, or hot water for raw pack, to cover the tomatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.
                    Recommended Processes
                    (Whole or Halved Tomatoes Packed in Water)
                    1. Boiling Water Bath:
                    o Pints, 45 minutes
                    o Quarts, 50 minutes
                    2. Dial-gauge Pressure Canner:
                    o Pints and Quarts,
                    o 15 minutes 6 PSI or
                    o 10 minutes 11 PSI
                    3. Weighted-gauge Pressure Canner:
                    o Pints and Quarts,
                    o 15 minutes 10 PSI or
                    o 10 minutes 15 PSI

                    These are really great to have on hand, and once jarred, you can safely stow these in a garage or utility room on a shelf as long as it doesn’t freeze in there.

                    ~~~~Applesauce~~~~

                    Applesauce is a great lunch box filler, or as a side dish to go with pork chops or steaks. It is also quite nice added to yogurt in layers in a sundae dish for healthy pudding. Many people get a dearth of these, especially if they are able to go scrumping. You can use smaller jars if you have a baby or toddler you wish to make this puree for as well, simply omit the spices and lemon juice as necessary.


                    12 medium eating apples
                    1 cup water
                    1/2 cup sugar
                    1 tbsp. lemon juice
                    1/2 tsp. cinnamon


                    Wash, peel, core and slice the apples, then place in a large pot. Add the apple jwater and ook overa medium heat until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. For a fine puree for infants, mash with a potato mashe or use a hand blenderr. Add the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, and mix. Pour into hot, sterile jars . You can also freeze this in a Tupperware container if preferred. If you have cooking apples, or Granny Smiths, omit the lemon juice and ad another ¼ cup of sugar. You can also leave add 1 cup drained strawberry puree for a blended pink applesauce.




                    ~~~~My conclusion~~~


                    I hope you found this useful. Knowing how to do these simple things can save you cash as you buy clearanced fresh fruit and veg, grow or PYO in season, as well as give youa sense of accomplishment. The only real cost in outlay are the jars and seals and a large pot, all of which are totally reusable and so pay for themselves in no time at all.

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                      06.09.2006 12:11
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                      Elderberry syrup - an old remedy used for generations to soothe sore throats, colds etc

                      FREE FRUIT FROM THE HEDGEROWS – ELDERBERRIES

                      This is an old recipe from my grandma and is for Elderberry Syrup, which is packed full of Vitamin C and ideal to keep in the store cupboard to use as a natural remedy for those winter colds, sore throats etc.

                      It is NOT the same as Elderberry wine, and should be the consistency of runny jam. Add a teaspoonful to a mug of hot water and sip it at the first onset of a cold. You can also add honey if you want to sweeten it more.

                      RECIPE

                      INGREDIENTS

                      Gather a carrier bag full of elderberries, they are on the hedgerows around September.
                      Lemon juice
                      1lb sugar (I use granulated, but you can use preserving if you prefer)

                      Pull off the berries from the stalks, either using your fingers or the back of a fork. If you put the stalks/berries into the freezer until you are ready to use them, the berries are even easier to remove.

                      Place the berries in a large saucepan (or jam pan if you have one) and crush them with a potato masher or something similar, to release the juices. Then cover and leave for several hours or overnight.

                      Strain the juice from the berries and discard the residue fruit.

                      Place two or three jam jars (this recipe should fill about 2-3 jars) into the oven to warm slowly (when you put the hot mixture into the jars they will not crack with the heat if they have already been warmed).

                      Add a dash of lemon juice to the juice, and one pound of sugar, then boil for around 15-20 minutes until the mixture thickens, stirring all the time to prevent burning. If you have a cooking thermometer then the temperature should be that for “jam”. Have patience, the last few degrees seem to take ages. Test the mixture is the right consistency by placing a drop on a cold saucer, if it sets then it is ready.

                      Pour the mixture into the warmed jars and when cool, put a paper cover over them (you can buy jam pot covers at most supermarkets if you want to use these, but greaseproof paper is just as good) and label. Then store in a cool place (not the fridge) until you need it in winter.

                      NOTE This recipe is time consuming and a bit fiddly to remove all the berries, but it is for something that is not available in the shops and is a tried and trusted recipe which has been used for generations in my family. The ingredients don’t cost much and you have the pleasure of knowing you have made something that is free from artificial additives.

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                        02.09.2006 21:31
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                        Simple and tasty chutney, using seasonal fruit

                        Easy Plum Chutney
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        This uses up the glut of plums around at this time of year (although ours came early this August, with huge quantities of small red and yellow hedge plums). I have been freezing the fruit, after lightly poaching it, so that it can be made into chutney later.

                        This recipe is for an old fashioned chutney, but with a nice little 'kick' from the chillies. You can use finely chopped fresh, dried, or powdered.

                        Please excuse the old imperial measurements, as it is adapted from a book from the 1970's.

                        Apart from them being traditionally easy to make, the only drawback about preparing chutney is that not everyone appreciates the smell of vinegar wafting around the house for a couple of hours! However, this recipe is relatively quick to make, and the smell kept to a minimum.


                        2 lbs/ 1 kg plums, raw
                        8 oz/ 230 g cooking apples
                        1lb/ 450 gr brown sugar
                        1/2 oz/ 15 g ground ginger
                        1 pint vinegar
                        1lb/450 g seedless raisins or sultanas
                        1 onion, peeled and chopped
                        3 med chillies, or 1 1/2 heaped teaspoons powder

                        ~ Wash the plums and poach in their own liquid for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and once cool enough to handle, remove stones.

                        ~ Peel, core and slice the apples. Put all the fruit in a large pan (do not use a copper, brass or iron pan, as the vinegar induces a nasty chemical reaction). Bring to a simmer, stirring every minute or so. Now add the raisins or sultanas, onion, spices and vinegar. Simmer all this together, until the fruit is tender and the mixture has thickened.

                        ~ Leave to cool and bottle up in clean jam jars - wash them in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly, then leave in low oven for 5-10mins to sterilise. Seal with a circle of wax paper, plastic lid, etc, as you would for jam. Don't forget to add a label!

                        ~ Tip: 15 g of spice is approx half a Schwarz or similar brand jar. Otherwise, measure out approx 1 3/4 heaped teaspoons for the equivalent.

                        It took me around one and a half hours to prepare and cook this afternoon, although I had cooked and stoned the plums in advance. It makes 3 - 4 lbs of chutney, and can quite soon become addictive, as it is so easy to make!

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                          28.08.2006 16:52
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                          Useful general guidelines for making chutneys in a microwave

                          I have spent ages googling away for plum chutney recipes which can be made in the microwaveable... there are plenty with the m-wave tagline but when you come to look it's traditional only. Nothing against traditional ways and I fondly remember a recipe for pickled pears but alas all my recipes were swept away in a flood. Several years on, I'm short of time and my kitchen is too small to stand around in, so although this recipe is not actually for plums there's enough general pointers, not least timing, to help me on my way. Thank you!
                          Belinda

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