Thursday, 15 January 2015

Preserving the Present for the Future



Well I'm to a good start this year! I decided that this year I would get back into jam-making , looking forward to seeing rows of gleaming jars of lovely jam, jelly and marmalade. Possibly even some chutney (the amount of green tomatoes we usually have at end of summer, I should be more creative with them). I planned to buy some Seville oranges at our local market, around February, I reckoned, according to the books I had. I just happened to ask last week at our lovely vegetable stall, and was told the Sevilles are in, and will be here next week, after that they aren't so good. So, panic mode!

I had to get all my jamming equipment out and check it over - it's been a while! See what I had, what I needed. Last time I jammed I used the pan of my large pressure cooker which I no longer have. So, where do I get a Maselin pan from, and how much is it going to cost me?

By chance, Jim and I took a Sunday trip into Dobbies to pick up some seed potatoes , blood and bone, extra compost to supplement our home made stuff...and there, one lonely Maselin pan stood on the counter, £4.99 Made by Kilner. Selling for about £20 - and more- from other places. It's rare I strike lucky with the sales, but I did that day!

I had jars, just needed some jam sugar and lemons, the oranges, and I was good to go.I didn't make a huge amount, only 3lbs of oranges, but it made all these jars of really super marmalade. I used 1/3 soft brown sugar and chucked in the half jar of ginger syrup left over from the preserved ginger cheesecake I made instead of a Christmas cake. So the end product is dark, but not the rosey hue that appears on the photographs; I think it must be the reflection from the tray.



I want to say to my American readers, that I made this in the traditional British/European manner which has done us for centuries without anyone getting botulism. I really must stress this, as I've had some pretty vehement on-line conversations from women who think you have to further process jam, jelly and marmalade by canning in the water-bath fashion. I can assure you WE DON'T do it here, with no ill-effects, and neither does our preserving industry, who sell their produce around the world, including to the USA.(Despite one lady telling me they wouldn't be accepted into the country because of your higher food standards. Well, let's not go there - I'm not even going to MENTION GMO's, and Corporate -driven legislation which prevents you from demanding open and transparent food labelling. Well, I just did. I think Tiptree, Chilvers, and Fortnum and Mason  and probably the Prince of Wales, would be very surprised to hear that they wouldn't get past customs! )

Ok, minor rant over. We just had some marmalade on toast for our tea, and it was good!


So, hoping to do more preserving this year, including some chutneys and maybe pickles, and I have been having thoughts about making my own sausages...... and no, I'm not contemplating keeping a pig! But more on that another time.  Keep well, keep warm and dry, and I'll be back with more next time.

36 comments:

  1. I make loads of different preserves, can't remember the last time I had "shop" jam or chutney. I am thinking of making some Seville orange curd this year.

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    1. Hi Pam, I haven't made chutney, though I've done a fair bit of jamming and jellying, and marmalade just once. I expect you know, but I have only just found out, that you can freeze Sevilles and marmalade them at your leisure? I have a crate coming over from Spain with a friend who has a mutual friend who lives there and grows them.(Does any of that make sense?) I was getting disheartened at the thought of all that pith scraping to do at once, but now I am feeling calm and grateful about it! Seville orange surd sounds WONDERFUL! Lxx

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  2. Well done on getting such a good bargain with the pan - the marmalade looks a lovely colour - I cannot comment on the process because I've never made jam or marmalade as I know it won't surprise you to know!!!! I'm getting ready for our trip to nz in three weeks time but there's a lot of faffing and general time wasting going on instead!!!!! Oh dear ....... Hope you have a good weekend xxx

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    1. Hi Lynne, no, (laughing!) I didn't expect you would be up for it, actually! Oh how I am envying you, we would be almost on our way there by now, normally, but at least we shall have it to look forward to. Will you be posting form NZ? Would be lovely to see some photos! No pressure! Lxx

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  3. I'm planning to do just the opposite this year -less preserving. Simply because I have too many jars of homemade preserves on my shelf, some dating from 2011 ( and all still perfectly safe to eat despite the lack of water bath treatment -totally with your rant there). However, Pam's idea of Seville orange curd is very tempting.

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    1. Hi Sue, it's weird, I'm almost going backwards, I stopped doing jams and stuff probably when I went back into nursing and then Health Visiting, I just had no time left over for things like that. But retirement gives one chance to wind down a little, though the first 3 years I think I overdid it and took on TOO much! And yes, Orange Curd sounds good, doesn't it?

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  4. Hi Lynne, my husband's surname is Dobbie, so we always loved visiting his Gran in Edinburgh so we could get bags (and sometimes balloons with our name on!). I make jams the way you do and it's never been a problem! Jenny

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    1. Hello Jenny, nice to have you pop in! I see you don't have a blog but you never know! My friend from my home town of Liverpool has a brother-in-law with the surname Dobbie! Small world! Yes, the Great Jam Debate will no doubt roll on, I wish I could get some acknowledgement from our sisters in the USA that we MUST be doing something ok as we all survive not canning our jams!

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  5. Home made jam and marmalade is just super......unless of course it's me making it! Keep up the good work Lynne, one of us has to ;) xxx

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    1. Hahahahaha! Ada (I'm sorry, Amanda, can't get used to it!) I'd have been saying the same thing at your age and stage in life. To everything there is a season!. I do love being in the kitchen, it's true. The many stages of marmalade making may have been the straw that broke the camel's back! But maybe orange curd..... if someone is sending me a crate of them it seems churlish not to use them, but I shall be freezing them until I feel like doing it; brilliant idea! L xxx

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  6. Hello from Kansas USA...I make my homemade jams and jellies and I never do a water bath. After filling the hot sterilized jars and setting the seal and/or lids on I turn them upside down for a minute or so then right side up and have never had a problem, there is enough natural preservative and sugar in there to guard against any bad product. I read this method in a old canning book years ago.

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    1. Hello again Linda, nice to hear from you. And bless your cotton socks - you are only the second out of maybe 15 people I have had conversations with not to mention all the blogs and pinterest posts I've read - hundreds - who thinks it is quite safe NOT to can your jam! We would of course use the water bath method for bottling veggies or soups or meat dishes, but not jams etc. That is exactly how I would do it as well. Lxxxxx

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  7. Like the idea of adding some ginger syrup.
    Gillx

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    1. Just pure chance, Gill it was hanging around, I couldn't bear to throw it out so I threw it in! Lxx

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  8. Mmmmmm ! That looks quite delicious Lynne !

    (ohhhh you might try Jana's "caramel creme" : she put the recipe on her blog (though in German) it tastes soooooo good ! She send me a glass when we had our mandala swap ;-) )
    http://anajskreativestagebuch.blogspot.nl/2015/01/ein-geschenk-aus-der-kuche.html

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    1. Hi Els! Thanks for the link, I will check it out. And yes, it did taste very nice, we have almost finished the part-filled jar that was extra. Lxxx

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  9. I make my own jam and marmlade. I have made mango chutney which was gorgeous and we ate the lot. I made lemon curd at school and mine was the only one that set! I would like to havce a go at Strawvberry jamand my Grandma used to make lovely batches.
    I find it very theraputic and I give some away as gifts for those who love jam but do not make it themselves. Bit of pretty fabric and some ribbon I even teamed it with a posh china plate one year!

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    1. Hi Jane, as you see, I haven't 'jammed' for years - decades in fact, so the marmalade making was to get me back into it, and I intend to do more later this year. Mango chutney is my very favourite! I must give it a go - it can't be any more difficult than bog standard, can it? And actually, I too remember making lemon curd at school! Home made is certainly best! Lxxx

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  10. I've not made marmalade before but jam and chutnies yes. Must have a go soon. Very satisfying feeling when it's all potted up and ready to use. Have a lovely weekend. P x

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    1. Hi Patricia. This was my first marmalade making for decades, and I'd only ever done it once before. It was more of a 'push' to get me back into all that jammin' and stuff. Yes, I think there is almost something inbuilt in us which delights in seeing rows of glass jars full of garden and hedgerow bounty (even if you bought some of it at the market!) A feeling that there would be food even through the harsh weather times ahead, or maybe if the next harvest failed. Even if you DON'T do jammin', it still stirs you, I think, looking at stored goods. Yes, the weekend is being good to us, pretty chilly but dry and even sunny at times! Hope yours is good too.! Lxx

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  11. Guess where I am at the moment.... I could have brought you loads back, they wouldn't have even noticed. And it is at this time they pick them from the trees, if only you could bottle the smell, absolutely define. Don't you just love the sales when you get something you want at a great price.
    Love the photos of the marmalade with ginger, Mmmmmm, also, I think people are becoming overly concerned about cleanliness, I read the other day they had discovered a new antibiotic from the soil! Not saying we should all eat soil, just, perhaps a bit of dirt does us no harm!

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    1. Hi Sue! Well, I can smell the ozone and suncream from here! I have a friend (Spanish) who is sending her partner (who's English) back with a crate full for me in March - what have I let myself in for? I think seville orange curd may well be on the books!
      Totally agree about the dirt paranoia. I get quite incensed by the Dettol adverts, they have young mums frightened to let their babes touch anything nowadays. Lxxx

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  12. I LOVE your little rant about the pros and cons of jam making and I'm with you! I'm still here to tell the tale and I've never made anyone ill with all the jars I've given away. I've just made a batch of spice plum chutney... yum.
    My Dresden plate blocks are giveaways for our quilt group block of the month. We take turns to set the block, and give a demo/info/history, then we all go away and make one or more. The person of the month gets the lot to make a quilt. It was great when I received all my blocks and I now have a quilt of Card Trick blocks courtesy of some lovely friends. I'll take a pic when the Dresden one is finished.
    Talking of plates, did I ever ask you if you would like my unwanted Botanic Garden crockery? Gratis, I must add as they need a home. Please email me as I cannot find your's.
    Jo x

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  13. Jo you are a real honey, and fove years ago I'd have taken your arm off! But I have plenty of plates, and quite a few serving dishes - I need to be getting rid of stuff! I was only looking at my jug collection (!!) the other day thinking... why on earth did I collect all of them? So a big thank you for the thought but I'll pass on it. Perhaps we should get together and have a REALLY BIG car boot sale! Lxxxxx

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    1. No probs Lynne. I started collecting Polish blue and white pottery and the Botanic Garden was relegated to the garage and fills a whole 2 cupboards. With a dishwasher I always buy 10 or 12 of each item. I have good intentions of getting on ebay but hey, ho! it never happens as I've better things to do. That car boot idea seems a good one!
      Jo x

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    2. What are we like? People keep telling me about ebay. I haven't got the time or patience to photograph everything and ....all the other stuff...... so here it all sits...... I am sitting upon all my assets! Lxxx

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  14. Well done on the marmalade Lynne, I've not made it before, looks tasty :) I like the sound of the ginger too.

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    1. The marmalade is good. But it is a faff, I have to say. I was slowly losing the will to live scraping the membrane and pith off the back of the orange peel!I will say it was worth it, but not to be contemplated until you have time and patience to do a whole batch. Hoping to have some veggies to pot up come the summer - if the "garden" goes ok!

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  15. Is there a reason you use brown rather than white sugar? Missed this post earlier hence my rather late question.

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    1. Hi Dc, nice to hear from you any time! I wanted a darker marmalade, as I was introducing a gingery note (!) with the syrup, so included about 1/3rd weight in soft brown sugar. I do like to see clear, light, sparkling jams and marmalades, but quite deliberately wished to make this one darker. No other reason. Perhaps it has to do with preferring Frank Cooper's Dark Oxford Marmalade!

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  16. It looks scrumptious!

    Nothing wrong with the way we Brits make jams and such ... sterile jars and a vacumn seal ... what more do people want?!

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    1. Absolutely, Annie! I haven't come across a single recipe which promotes water bath canning for preserves in all the cookery books I own - a considerable number - or any of the jam makers I know. Lx

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  17. Hi Lynne, I haven't forgotten the laverbread. Its ready to be posted, I just haven't got a chance to get to the post office. Promise you will get it. I will let you know when it leaves my mitts, so sorry for the delay - hopefully you will get it before St Davids Day.

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    1. Hi Shaheen! Ah, bless you, I had forgotten all about it! hat will be lovely. Please include your address when you send it won't you?
      Now you have reminded me that I haven't blogged for a VERY LONG TIME!!!!

      L.xxx

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  18. Good Morning Lynn, your jam looks and sounds amazing. There is nothing in the stores that even starts to compete with homemade :) I'm glad that you mentioned seed potatoes. Steve and I want to plant potatoes this year, so we better start looking around if we want to get some. I am longing for spring and getting out and getting my hands nice and dirty. Have a lovely day.
    Connie :)

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    1. Hi Connie, thanks so much for posting and apologies for publishing it so late! I am about to blog again! Lxx

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