Autumn Recipes for Mason Jars
With the arrival of October, there is no escaping the fact that autumn has very definitely arrived. Some of us may have enjoyed a brief Indian summer over the last few weeks, but now the nights are rapidly drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. Far from hankering for the summer that has passed, it is now time to embrace autumn and all that it offers to the adventurous enthusiast of canning and preserves. It is easy to think that the end of the growing season means the end of the preserving season; however, nothing could be further from the truth and there are still plenty of possibilities for filling those empty preserving jars.
Preserving fruit in Mason jars
The start of autumn means the start of apple season. As with most fruit trees, apple trees typically produce such a quantity of fruit at one time that we often wonder what we can do with it all. Try canning apple sauce, adding cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice for some different flavours. Apple butter is another delicious idea and is the perfect sweet treat for the cold mornings to come. If you are an apple pie fan, fill a few jars with prepared apples for ready-made apple pie filling. Many people don’t realise that apples form the basis for traditional mincemeat but you could make your own mincemeat now and have 100% homemade mince pies at Christmas.
Preserving vegetables in Mason jars
Large preserving jars are perfect for canning large batches of vegetables to use up any end of summer gluts. It is possible to pickle most vegetables, with your imagination the only limit. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, try pickled brussels sprouts spiced with garlic and chilli flakes. With Halloween looming, a pickled pumpkin recipe might be just the ticket to use up the carved-out pumpkin flesh. Flavoured with chillies, allspice, cinnamon and ginger, pickled pumpkin will keep for up to six months in sealed preserving jars.
There are so many other possibilities for pickling vegetables, such as marinated roasted peppers, pickled cauliflower, sauerkraut and pickled beetroot. These ideas are all simple to prepare and will provide a pantry full of hearty, warming food to use up through the winter months.
Preserved fruit and vegetables also make great gifts, of course, and provide a welcome change from jam or chutney. With Christmas on the horizon, now is a good time to start planning ahead to produce some unusual and tasty Christmas treats.