I love making preserves, we used to have a big garden with lots of plum trees and so making chutneys and jams became a regular event. Now we dont have the trees but I still enjoy preserving. I have a fruit & veg box delivered each week and any produce that I dont use that week gets prepared and frozen and then I use these up at a later date and if not it gets put in jam or chutney. This then gets put into the cupboard and used for Harvest Celebrations or given to family and friends as gifts, especially at Christmas.
Quick Fruit Jam
500g prepared fruit
500g jam sugar
Clean, dry, warmed jam jars
A small plate or saucer in freezer to chill
1. Place sugar in a bowl and put in the oven to warm through, with jars
2. Put fruit in heavy-based pan over very low heat, stirring gently until juice starts to run.
3. Stir in the warmed sugar and keep stirring until the sugar and fruit mixture liquifies
4. Increase heat and bring to a roliing boil for 4 mins. remove from heat.
5. Pour a teaspoon of jam onto the chilled plate - wait a minute and then gently push it with you finger. If a wrinkled skin forms it is ready, if not, boil for another minute or two and re-test.
6. Leave jam to stand for 15 minutes and then stir to disperse the fruit evenly through the jam
7. Pour jam into warmed jars and replace lids when cooled
Pear & Courgette Chutney
Makes about 2 litres
1kg of pears, peeled, cored and diced
500g courgette, peeled and diced
500g chopped onions
2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
5cm fresh ginger, roughly chopped
750 mil cider vinegar
500g light muscovado suger
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice
1. Put pears, courgette, onions & raisins into large non-reactive pan
2. In a blender, combine garlic, ginger and a splash of vinegar, blend to paste and add to pan. Addthe rest of the vinegar, sugar and salt
3. Bruise peppercorns and allspice with a pestle and mortar and ties them loosely in muslin
4. Put pan on low to medium heat and stir frequently until the sugar has dissolved completely and some liquid has been drawn from the fruit and vegetable. Add the spice bag and cook the mixture down slowly, stirring more frequently as it thickens.
5. When it is well cooked, remove the spice bag aand pot chutney in sterilised jars. Coll before sealing.