We’re Jamming

Welcome to Preserving Week! From 25th July to 2nd August, we celebrate the wonderful world of preserving fruits and vegetables, ensuring that nature’s bounty can be enjoyed throughout the year. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the delightful art of jam-making and explore various methods to preserve your favourite fruits and veggies. So, roll up your sleeves, breathe in the sweet aromas, and get ready to indulge in the taste of homemade goodness!

The Art of Jam Making

Choosing the Perfect Fruit: When it comes to making jams, selecting the perfect fruit is key. Look for ripe and flavorful fruits that will bring the best taste to your creations. You can even mix and match different fruits to create unique and exciting flavour combinations. To find the freshest produce, consider visiting local farmers’ markets like Blackheath Farmers Market, open every Sunday 10 am-2 pm or even pick-your-own farms, like our favourite Stanhill Farm, Dartford.

Essential Jam-Making Equipment: Before you embark on your jam-making adventure, gathering the necessary equipment is essential. Stock up on canning jars, lids, and bands to keep your jams fresh. You’ll also need a large pot, a trusty wooden spoon, and a ladle to help you through the cooking process. A thermometer and timer will come in handy for achieving that perfect gel point.

The Basic Jam-Making Process: Making a jam may seem daunting, but it’s actually quite straightforward. Start by preparing the fruit – wash, peel, pit, and slice it as needed. Then, strike the perfect balance of sweetness by adding sugar or alternative sweeteners to your taste. You can introduce pectin or other natural gelling agents to achieve a desirable consistency. Simmer the mixture while stirring gently until you reach the ideal gel point. Finally, carefully fill and seal your jars for proper preservation. We’ve included a link to our own Strawberry Jam recipe here.

Fruit Preservation Methods

Freezing: Freezing is a simple and convenient method to preserve fruits. Begin by preparing your fruits – washing and slicing them as required. Then, pack them into suitable containers or freezer bags, ensuring you label them for future reference. Each fruit has its recommended storage time, so ensure you know these guidelines to maintain the best quality.

Dehydrating: Dehydration is a fantastic way to preserve fruits for extended periods. You can use a dedicated dehydrator or alternative methods like an oven or the sun. Slice your fruits thinly and evenly, then follow the instructions for your chosen dehydration method. Once dehydrated, store your fruits in airtight containers. When you’re ready to enjoy them, rehydrate them by soaking in water or adding them to recipes.

Vegetable Preservation Methods

Pickling: Pickling is a delightful way to preserve vegetables while adding a tangy twist to their flavors. There are various pickling methods to explore, including vinegar-based pickles and lacto-fermentation. Choose fresh and crisp vegetables for pickling, and don’t hesitate to get creative with different spices and seasonings. The flavours will meld together with time, creating a truly delightful treat.

Freezing: Freezing vegetables is a convenient preservation method that helps retain their flavours and textures. Start by blanching your vegetables briefly in boiling water, then quickly transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, pat them dry and pack them into freezer bags or containers, removing any excess air. Proper packaging and labelling are crucial for easy retrieval and usage.

Preserving Week is a wonderful opportunity to explore the art of jam-making and various fruit and vegetable preservation methods. Whether you’re an experienced preserver or a newcomer, these techniques will help you create a pantry filled with delicious treats to enjoy throughout the year. So, embrace the joy of preserving, experiment with flavours, and create cherished memories in your kitchen. Happy preserving!

Please remember to follow proper food safety guidelines, consult reliable resources, and adapt recipes to suit your preferences and dietary needs.