Storing end of season produce in preserving jars
The first frosts have arrived, the nights have drawn in and the garden is looking tired. If you are lucky enough to still have a few late crops coming in, now is the time to gather up the produce remaining to preserve for use through the winter.
Using preserving jars to store end of season fruit
There are not many fruits that are still hanging on during November; however, if you have apple trees or pear trees in your garden, you might be surprised to find a few late fruits still available. Apples can be made into apple butter or apple jam, both of which are truly delicious. If you have vegetables left over in the veg patch, you could also put some apples into a batch of chutney.
Pears preserve well in Mason jars and are simple to do. You will need to add some lemon juice, but other than this you can follow a standard fruit preserving recipe, adding in spices such as star anise, cardamom and cinnamon. Don’t forget to sterilise your Mason jars before you start.
Using preserving jars to store end of season vegetables
Whilst end of season fruit might be a little thin on the ground, it is likely that most people will have a few vegetables that are still worth harvesting. Butternut squash, pumpkins, cabbage, kale, swede, beetroot and Jerusalem artichokes should all be available. The Christmas favourite, the Brussels sprout, is also well and truly in season right now. Chutney is the perfect way to use up all this end of season produce and the best thing about chutney is that you can more or less use what you have. Experimentation is the name of the game and you might just be surprised at the results.
If you fancy something different, why not try pickling some Brussels sprouts? Boil some vinegar and salt, and add peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and chilli flakes. Pack the halved Brussels sprouts into Mason jars, then pour over your pickling mixture. Seal tightly and heat the jars in a pan of boiling water or a pressure canner for 10 minutes. Once cool, your sprouts are ready to store.
If you want to preserve some vegetables straight, this is also possible, although your choices might be a little more limited. Don’t forget that you will need to pressure can vegetables, as they have a much lower acid content than fruit. Pumpkin and squashes both can well, but cabbage, cauliflower and kale are not really suitable for pressure canning.