Article for East Essex Smallholding Group website on Preserving and Jam Making:
Firstly, a big thank you to East Essex Smallholders for letting me guest blog-very exciting!
So a little bit about me: I am Katy, a Suffolk 23 yr old trying to currently live life a little greener and saving a bit of money along the way. I have Chickens at home who supply a constant amount of eggs for recipes, even through the cold dark days of winter! My veg growing of a decent salad crop and herbs has been put on hold till spring due to weather conditions here but there are still things to be done.
One of the things I have loved doing in the last few years has been preserving. Now I know everyone thinks of the WI and fetes when I say preserving but I think its all part of the fun of making preserves-the fact you can access a wealth of knowledge and advice from so many people and societies, you can enter fun competitions and gain lots more recipes to try or invent your own! I entered a local fete 2 years ago for the first time with a plum and apple jam; up against seasoned village preservers and actually got ranked with a certificate which was fun! At home in Suffolk I was making big batches of what ever glut of fruit we had-Strawberry, apple, plum or more commonly plum and apple! This caused me to on more than one occasion give friends and family plenty of jam for any celebratory event be it Christmas, a birthday or just for fun.
I love the fact that jam keeps so well and the recipes are easy to follow and you can change and alter them. Its nice to have something you can make a decent product out of-particularly if you are not good at other smallholding and self-sufficiency skills such as craft-like me! My family has experimented with some different preserves and flavours such as : crab apple jelly and quince cheese (both good with cold meats) and Indian pumpkin chutney. In the summer I was wanting to do a chutney. I tried a walnut, apple and pear chutney from a Scottish recipe
book which came out amazing and very tasty with cheese!
Lastly, trying something else potted I made my own vegetarian mincemeat for my mince pies this Christmas. I really enjoyed this and they turned out extra special. In the New Year I hope to try some other more unusual preserves-we will see how they go! I would say to anyone ‘have a go what ever your age and wherever you live be it farm or flat-its good fun, easy and they make great home made presents!’