Preserving – From glut to gift…

If you’ve embraced the ‘grow your own’ phenomenon and are anticipating a larder overflowing with home-grown goodies, or if you love foraging in the hedgerows come harvest time but are never sure what to do with the fruits of your labour – we have a cunning plan!

With a few hours of your time and just a little effort, you can transform nature’s bounty into wonderful gifts for friends and loved ones, thoughtful presents with a difference that capture the wholesome flavours of summer and can be enjoyed for months to come.

Garden vegetables from your plot, berries ripened on bushes by the wayside, tangy fruits grown in greenhouses, exotic spices nurtured on the kitchen windowsill… there’s an abundant variety of produce that can be bottled, pickled and preserved to tempt all tastes, from the sweetest tooth to lovers of all things savoury. Even if you aren’t able to gather your own harvest, you can still stock up with a ‘ready picked’ harvest at your local greengrocer’s – the end result will be just as delicious.

Saying so much more than shop-bought, we’ve always been huge fans of home-made gifts – a cake baked with love, a jar of cute cookies, a special selection of chocolates – all gifts that show how much you care, but for truly home-made, you can’t beat a little jar of something that started off as a seed in your own fair hand!

From tools to help you whizz through preparation to a whole host of presentation ideas that will lend a professional finish to your creations, we’ve got everything you need to get preserving. To help inspire, we think these recipes sound delicious – we hope you do too.

Chilli Jam

From our Lakeland Preserves Book

(makes 900g)

What you need

  • 1 kg ripe plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 80ml white wine vinegar
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 6 fresh long red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh small red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 4cm fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

What you do

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large pan and, without boiling, cook over a high heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1¼ hours until the jam is thick. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Blend the mixture in batches until smooth. Carefully spoon into hot, sterilised jars and seal. Label and date jars once cold.

Tip: Store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months and refrigerate once opened.


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