Here is a brief collection of jams, chutneys, pickles and home made liqueurs which will all come in handy over the festive period. However do not confine there use to Christmas. A jar a home made pickle will do wonders to an every day cheese sandwich. In my opinion making preserves requires little in terms of specialist equipment apartment from old jam jars with lids them must be scrupulously clean (the dishwasher is very good at this ) and sterilizing lotion i.e. Milton . Patience is also essential for preserving. Slow and gentle cooking can be a great antidote to most peoples hectic non stop lifestyles.
If you are an over zealous gardener who, like me, always plants far to many tomatoes in a vain hope that they will all ripen in the scorching heat of the English summer, only to find that come October most of them are still green and have no chance of ripening in the rain. Green tomatoes are a preserver’s best friend, highly acidic and full of vital pectin.
Makes 4 small 1 lb jars.
1kg of green tomatoes or red if you happen to have a glut of them.
1kg of cooking apples peeled cored and chopped
2 large white onions peeled and sliced
2 tsp salt 750ml vinegar (cider for preference malt for economy)
400g soft brown sugar
25g whole brown mustard seeds pounded in a pestle and mortar
1tsp chili powder or hot smoked paprika for a great autumnal flavour
1tsp ground ginger
Wash and thinly slice the tomatoes. Layer them in the colander with the salt and leave to drain over night. The salt breaks down the fibers of the rather tough green tomatoes and extracts excess moisture. Next day shake the tomatoes to remove all the excess liquid and place all the rest of the ingredients in to a large heavy bottomed pan . Bring to simmer over a gentle heat and simmer till very sift stirring occasionally about ¾ hour. Simmer till good and thick, pot into hot sterilized jars.
Leave for a couple of weeks till you broach it your efforts will be rewarded with an excellent pickle far superior to any in a supermarket.