Waste less and save more with all things pickling, preserving and jamming
This September my focus is on making the most of all the wonderful food we have at this time of year and saving money for the months ahead. Whether you grow your own or prefer it ready sliced and diced there is so much we can do to save money for the future. Food prices are continuing to rise so why not buy food whilst it's cheap and pickle, preserve and jam now whilst we can.
There is nothing better in the winter months to open a jar, or freezer and bring back the scents and smells of summer back to the kitchen.
I've come across a brilliant book on preserving from the Soil Association called The Preserving Book (by Lynda Brown, published by DK, £16.99, dk.com) and wanted to share some of their great new recipes, along with some of our tips with you:
- Glut of mushrooms or a real bargain at the Supermarket? Why not dry your own? Much cheaper and something you could dress up and give as a gift for Christmas.
- Buy one get one free on pears or one to many falling off the tree? Hot pickled pears could be the answer. AND they keep for up to 9 months.
- What sounds more like autumn than blackberries and elderberry? Well, I have the perfect autumn drink for you. Elderberry and blackberry cordial. Lynda advises that on their own elderberries offer a rather flat taste, but if mixed with blackberries they have a rich autumnal flavour that’s lovely topped up with boiling water for a hot toddy on a chilly evening. Once opened, use within two weeks."
- Our very own qucik fruit jam. I know I've mentioned this before but I am a real convert. This recipe is great for using up soft fruit past it’s best - it's more like a compote than a normal jam and needs to be eaten within a few days but is quick to make and is lovely served with scones, on toast, mixed into yogurt or spooned onto ice cream.
- Don't forget to store your fruit in the fridge if you're not going to erat in the next couple of days. it was keep fresher for much longer (but don't do that with bananas or whole pineapple though!)
- To use up excess strawberries, raspberries or blackberries, freeze on a flat baking tray. When frozen put them in a bag and store until needed. Then, put frozen berries, or a combination of berries in an ovenproof bowl, cover with a thick layer of crumble topping and bake as usual. A touch of summer in deepest darkest winter!
- And finally every year i try and store our few apples from the garden in the shed but this year I'm going to freeze them instead. Apples can be frozen in slices after they have been quickly cooked in boiling water. Freeze in a single layer then pack into bags once frozen. Use the frozen apples to make into apple cake or apple sauce.
Storing and preserving fruit and veg is a brillaint way to make the most of food which is seasonal and relatively cheap - you get to waste less food, save loads of money off your bills (now and in the months ahead - no more buying jams and pickles after all) and have a taste of summer when its cold and damp in the winter time. This weekend why not take a trip to the market and see what's cheap and in season, raid your allotment or simply see what's on offer at the supermarket - but whateevr you do, make sure you use it, value it, and enjot it!
The Soil Association and Lynda Lynda Brown kindly donated these recipes to Love Food Hate Waste and is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. Dont forget it's Organic September! www.soilassociation.org