Thursday, April 19, 2012

preserves preserves

Hello! Sorry for those that missed a post yesterday. Due to the rain Daniel stayed home. For some reason or other I find it very hard to find the time to post with everyone at home. It's still raining and he's still home, but I'm making it a priority to blog today. So here I am. Better late than never.

I've spent the past week or two immersed in the world of preserving. I can't bear to waste any of those quinces, or rhubarb, or peaches. But the rewards of all this hard work which should last until next season. Besides, I do quite enjoy the whole process. Just not the cleaning up.

There are many different ways to make quince into jam. You can grate it, you can slice it thinly and you can cut in small chunks. With the slicing it turns into more of a conserve. Or you can make jelly. So I made a bit of everything.

Quince jelly from this book was a huge favourite last year, so we made quite a few batches of that, saving the fruit for a future pastry dessert. The jelly is a favourite of the kids. No bits of annoying fruit, you see.

I used this quince jam recipe as the basis for many batches, but I preferred to cut into pieces, rather than grated most of the time. And the longer you cook quince, the redder it gets.

And the loveliest of jams had to be Persian Jam. Flavoured with cardamom and rosewater. Need I say more?

Then there were the peaches, which were made into Peach and Amaretto jam. Amazing how a splash (okay a few splashes) of alcohol can lift a jam into another realm entirely.

Rhubarb was turned into Rhubarb and Vanilla jam. (I didn't have any pectin on hand, so used a little gelatine instead).  Fortunately for the kids, you can't taste the rhubarb.

quince jelly

I've been using recycled glass jars, as I did last year. But this year, I've been washing them and then sterilizing them for about 10 minutes in a 150 degree oven. I pop the jar lids in for a minute or two. Once almost filled to the top, I screw on the lid tightly and then turn them upside down on the bench. I leave them for about ten minutes before turning them the right way up. When they are cooled the lids that have a raised middle should be able to be pressed to invert them. I've been using this method for about 6 months and with good success so far.

So now the pantry shelves are groaning under all that weight. And the family is getting a little tired of pots constantly bubbling on the stove. Or of hearing me say "Wait a minute..I'm just filling up another bottle". So for now, I'm hanging up those apron strings and having a little break. Just as soon as I finish that batch of quince paste bubbling on the stove, that is.

persian jam, orange and rhubarb marmalade (from this book) with ricotta

Have you been doing any preserving? Do you have plans to?

Does anyone have good preserving books to recommend?


  1. It's coming into strawberry season here so I usually make a years supply plus some, for friends & family that is. Beautiful photos on your blog.

  2. YUM! I would love to get into preserving but haven't the foggiest where to start. Maybe next summer will be a good time to begin... x

  3. Look at all those jars. I would surely find myself sitting and staring at them all the time. I need to make friends with someone with a quince tree I think!

    We have eaten our way through all the strawberry jam I made and have one pot of homemade plum jam that I brought at a fair remaining. Next year I know to make more jam! I'm also hoping for a better tomato crop next year! :)

  4. A year in a Bottle by. Sally Wise

  5. Yum, quince jam with cardamom and rose water sounds amazing!! I have finished most of the preserving for the year, i've done raspberry jams, passata, jars and jars of zucchini chutney and tomato chutney. The only thing i still have growing is figs but my last batch of fig jam was a bit chewy so i still need to work out what to do with them.

  6. Ooh, I love the look of your preserving pantry/shelves. I used to do so much in the way of jams when we lived in the UK. Used to spend the day on PYO farms and then make jams and chutneys etc. I did manage to make some delicious tomato and raisin chutney with our glut of tomatoes a few months ago... Hopefully, once our garden is a bit more established, I'll have a few gluts to preserve! Lovely post and pics...

  7. Oh my. You are one busy mama. Amazing work x

  8. We've been bottling our street-tree apples and a box of pears from the market into Fowlers jars. 24 done so far!! So nice to open them in the depths of winter.

  9. It all sounds lovely, especially the quince jelly. I have been making a small batch of rhubarb chutney this week and was pleased with how it turned out. Thanks for the tip of turning the bottles upside down.

  10. They all sound wonderful Tania, and will keep you well supplied for the year. I've been in a preserving frenzy here too for the same reason, I just can't bare to see produce go to waste. I've made three different types of fig jam (the spicy fig and orange was the best), beetroot and date chutney, cherry tomato relish, green tomato pickles and bread and butter cucumber pickles. I think that will be it for now.


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