Hello herbivores! This time we’ve got something a little different for you. At our last gardening workshop of the year out in the Harrow growing space, our expert horticultural specialist Zoe taught us how to preserve the  autumn bounty of fruit and veg left over as winter sets in. Here are some top tips and recipes from Zoe on how to keep enjoying produce you’ve grown, foraged (or nipped down to the supermarket and bought) all year round…

Even if you haven’t been very successful in your own garden, there is fruit available everywhere in this season. Take a stroll through a local woodland and there are still currants, blackberries and apples galore, and peppers and tomatoes are still popping up before the heavy frost. Jamming and pickling are the traditional ways to store excess crops to last all the way through the winter (and beyond). Below are simple jamming and pickling instructions for you to try at home.

Jamming – Ingredients/Equipment

  • 6 cups fruit – preferably fresh, but frozen (without syrup works, too)
  • 1 package or 8 Tablespoons pectin (all natural apple sugar/stabiliser)
  • 4 cups sugar – dry, granulated (table) sugar (or substitute honey or agave)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • At least 1 large pot; stainless steel or non-stick
  • Large stainless steel spoons and ladles
  • Jam Funnel – or just use a ladle
  • Empty sanitized jars (boil for 10 mins) with lids
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- use silicone gloves

Jamming – Directions

Prepare fruit by washing, hulling and mashing into a pulp. Prep your jars and lids by sanitising them and leaving them in warm water until you are ready to fill them. Mix the fruit with the pectin and cook to a full boil stirring constantly. Now add the sugar and the lemon juice and bring back to a hard boil for 1 minute. Skim of the foam and test the remainder for thickness, let sit for 5 mins. Funnel/ladle the jam into the awaiting jars and process the jars by sitting in boiling water for another 5 minutes. Remove jars to cool.

Pickling – Ingredients

  • 2 cups fruit/vegetables eg. Sliced cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes or kale
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 cup purified water (bring to a hard boil for 1 minute)
  • 1/3 cup raw cider vinegar

Pickling – Instructions

Mix fruit and garlic well and pack into a clean, sterile glass jar until about 3/4 full. Dissolve sea salt in warm water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is dissolved, then add vinegar. Pour liquid into jar to cover greens and garlic. Add more filtered water if necessary so you only leave about an 3cm of room at the top. Close the jar and leave on your counter for 3-7 days (or longer if you prefer) until naturally pickled by fermentation. Unless you are using an airlock lid, loosen the jar lid a little every two days to let built-up carbon dioxide out.

Cormac Cleary

Cormac Cleary

Sustainable Food Assistant at University of Westminster and Aramark
Cormac Cleary

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