jams, chutneys & preserves


For centuries jams, preserves, chutneys and pickles have been made to ensure a regular food supply during colder months.  They are best made at the peak of the season when fruit and vegetables are flavoursome, plentiful and inexpensive.

The critical thing is to make sure your jars are sterlised with good lids that seal.

Jams  ~

Store in airtight jar in cool dark place for 6-12months.

Try not to cook too much jam all in one quantity.  Do not use more than 2kg fruit in a recipe at a time.  Remember to use a large pan so that when you add the sugar its not more than 6cm deep this helps with the reduction time. 

Remove any scum that might forms on the top of the mix during cooking.  When the jam looks thick and syrupy the mix should fall from a wooden spoon heavily with 3 or 4 drops joining in a sheet as they drop.  This means that the jam has reached setting point. Don’t leave the jam too long in the pot or it will start to set in the pan. 

*if the wheels fall off you can get a product called Jam Setting Mix from the supermarket and adding some of this will help your jam set if you are experiencing troubles. 

Jellies ~

Choose fruits with a good pectin and acid balance for best results.  The fruit is cooked down and strained overnight in a mesh bag suspended over a wide bowl.  The most important rule in making jelly is not to squeeze the bag or the liquid will go cloudy.  Sugar is added to the liquid and boiled to form a jelly.

Jellies are fabulous preserves to have on hand and serve with cheese and crackers.  They take a little more time but are worth the effort. Think Guava, Mint, Lemon Balm, Apple & Rosemary

Sauces, Chutneys & Relishes ~

These acidic based preserves are perfect to go from pot to jar and keep for a long period of time due the nature of the ingredients usually being vinegar based.  They are simple to prepare as quantities are not too critical.

Long, slow cooking of vege & fruit with addition of sugar, vinegar and spices producing concentrated thick flavoursome pulp known as chutney.  Chutneys are cooked until very thick.  When tested on a plate, they should leave a clean trail behind without any runny liquid.

Most chutneys and pickles are best kept for a month or so to allow the flavours to mellow and mature.  Sauces should be kept for a few weeks at least, while relishes can be eaten immediately.  Some chutneys and sauces provided they are properly sealed will keep for many years.  Rule of thumb is to check at the 6 month mark and use within a year. Store in cool dark place.

Marinated Preserves ~

Impress your guests with bringing out your own preserves to a table platter to serve with cheeses and crusty bread. Try Italian Peppers, Marinated Mushrooms or Preserved Lemons

Generally charring or blanching produce till tender and combining with olive oil, herbs, vinegar and bay leaves.  Submerge your vegetables in the oil mix and seal in an airtight jar to enjoy within 4-5 months. 

Pickled Preserves ~

A fantastic way of doing Pickled Onions or Pickled Beetroot.  The vinegar base preserves the vegetables and gives high acid content meaning no further method of cooking is required.  See our recipes section for inspiration.

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