On a basic level the point of preserving is to keep the freshness of sweet and savoury food items that would otherwise perish. However in reality preserving has become more than a storage method but in effect is a way of adding to or altering the basic ingredients’ taste or texture in interesting and exciting ways.
Pickling, fermenting, candying, curing, smoking, infusing, brining, freezing and drying are all methods of preserving foodstuffs, each having very different effects on the original ingredient. Making wine, beer and cheese are also, in their own ways, acts of preserving. Pickling or making jams and chutneys are easily done at home with fruits, vegetables and even herbs. Home-made preserves make lovely gifts, particularly if bottled attractively.
Preserving and Kilner Jars
Apart from the basic ingredients, a key necessity in any preserving process is preserving jars. There are a number of different kinds – you can use screw top jars, Kilner jars or clip top jars, any kind as long as they are perfectly airtight. Most people prefer to preserve in clear glass so they can see what’s going on inside, but also because rows of kilner jars and the like can be very attractive. Glass is also the most suitable material because it won’t react to vinegars or other acidic ingredients within. Whichever kind of preserving jar you use, you must make sure it is sterilised, either by boiling in a pan of water for a few minutes or heating in an oven for about ten minutes on a fairly low heat.
Great Use for Kilner Jars
Chutneys are a great way of using up a glut of fruits or vegetables and are a delicious accompaniment to a number of meals or snacks. This tomato chutney is incredibly easy to make and goes particularly well with ham and cheese. You could also add it to sausage meat for home-made sausage rolls with a fruity twist.
- 50g butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 5 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of sweet mincemeat
- 2 tablespoons of soft dark brown sugar
You will also need:
- A preserving or heavy based pan
- Kilner jars or other clear preserving jars
Melt the butter in the pan and cook the onions gently for about 10 minutes. Add the apples and cook for two minutes, then the rest of the ingredient and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes. Decant into the jars, seal the lids and store in the fridge.