below for general preparations of ingredients and equipment - click here
Jams and Marmalades
is a cooked mixture of fruit or vegetables with sugar which is boiled and
bottled. The large amounts of sugar used prevents micro-organisms growing and
allows the jam to be kept for months. Marmalades are always made with a citrus
fruit e.g. oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerine. Used as a spread or in
are usually made with whole or large pieces fruit which is suspended in a
thick syrup. The fruit is layered with equal quantities of sugar and left for 24
hours. It is then boiled for a much shorter length of time than jam which
preserves the fruit closer to its original state, both in form and flavour.
take longer to prepare than jams and conserves, the end product being more clear
and smooth. Many jellies are served with savoury foods e.g. Mint jelly
with Lamb or cranberry jelly with poultry.
are made with the addition of eggs and butter . They are opaque and smooth and
can be used as a spread or in various recipes. They are not a "true"
preserve and have a much shorter keeping time - 1 month in a cupboard or up to 3
months in a refrigerator. Consequently, they should be made in smaller
quantities. The best known are Lemon or Orange curd, but they can be made from
other fruit such as raspberries and tangerines.
Pickles and Chutneys
utilises vinegar as the preserving agent, preserving larger recognisable pieces
of fruit or vegetables whilst chutneys are made from finely chopped
ingredients. Both pickles and chutneys can be sweet or sharp and are usually
served with savoury foods such as cheese or cold meats.
Vinegars, Oils and
and oils are infused or flavoured with herbs, spices, certain vegetables or
fruit and are then used for pickling, bottling or in salad dressings or
is cooked using vinegar and extracts from a single fruit or vegetable. It
is usually served with savoury foods for an added "bite".
NOTES ON EQUIPMENT, INGREDIENTS AND PREPARATIONS
Pan - This should be a large, wide heavy-based saucepan which allows the
preserving mixture to only come halfway up the sides of the pan. This is to
ensure that when the contents are boiling rapidly they don't spill over onto the
hob. Special preserving pans are best however, any large saucepan will suffice.
handled Wooden spoon - for stirring the preserve during cooking
Spoon - useful for skimming of any surface scum on jams
and bottles - most shapes and sizes, old or new will suffice so long as they
are free from cracks, chips or flaws. The most convenient size for jars are
either 450g/1lb or 1kg/2lb. Prepare the jars by washing well in warm soapy
water. Rinse thoroughly then place the jars on a baking sheet and
dry in a cool oven (140C, 275F, Gas Mark 1) to sterilise. Fill the jars whilst
they are still warm to prevent cracking. For pickling, wide necked jars are the
most convenient. The lids or corks for bottles should be boiled for 10 minutes
just prior to using.
and labels - Waxed discs, cellophane covers, rubber bands and labels can be
bought from cook-shops, department stores or some supermarkets, stationers
Ingredients used for preserving
- Always use just ripe or slightly under-ripe fruit as the pectin levels
decrease substantially in over-ripe fruit. Pectin is essential to achieve a good
set which is why some recipes call for extra pectin in the form of sugar with
added pectin or citric or tartaric acid. Always wash fruit before use
- always use fresh unblemished vegetables for pickling. The end results will
only be as good as the original ingredients used. Always wash vegetables before
- Granulated, lump or preserving crystals are the most suitable.
Caster sugar is also suitable. Brown sugar can be used but will alter the colour
- This should be of good quality with an acetic acid content of at least
5%. All Red and White Wine vinegars have this content as do most Cider vinegars.
Use cider vinegar for sweet pickling and red wine vinegar for pickling darker
vegetables such as red cabbage or beetroot as it gives a better colour to the
- Use a bland oil such as sunflower or groundnut so that the added
flavouring is not overpowered. A mild olive oil can also be used.
and quantities - These are not given in the recipes as both can be
substantially altered depending on the state of the produce used. In general ,
for jam add the amount of sugar and fruit to determine how much preserve
will be made i.e. 3lb Sugar plus 3lb Fruit - total yield = 6lbs. You will
therefore need between 5 and 7 x 1lb jars. Very soft fruit will reduce down
for a set -
the pan of jam from the heat. Drop a teaspoonful of jam onto a cold saucer.
Allow it to cool then gently push your finger through the jam.
If it wrinkles a satisfactory set has been achieved. If it doesn’t,
return the saucepan to the heat and continue to boil for a few more minutes then
and covering the jars/bottles
jellies, curds, chutneys - Fill the warm
jars to the top, wipe the rims with a damp cloth then cover with a waxed disc
(waxed side down) whilst the filling is still hot. Allow to cool then cover with
cellophane, securing with a rubber band. For long term storage, secure the
cellophane with a screw top lid.
and preserved fruit/vegetables - Fill the warm jars to within 2.5cm/1 inch
of the top. Pour over the preserving liquid e.g. oil, vinegar, alcohol, to
within 1cm/ 1/2 inch of the top making sure the fruit or vegetables are
completely covered. Immediately cover with a waxed disc (waxed side
down), a cellophane cover and a screw top lid. This is to prevent the
preserving fluid evaporation.
vinegars and oils - Fill the warm bottles to within 2.5cm/1 inch of
the top then seal with a non-corrosive screw top or cork.
- Always store in a cool dark place unless the recipe says otherwise.