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.
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?