Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas Present Idea

It's that time of year again and we're all pondering over what will make a good gift that won't be destined for the back of a cupboard days after opening.

Back in July, we launched our range of jam making kits and they've become extremely popular. "But", we here you say, "the recipient won't be able to use it until summer?!". Not to worry, as the year is filled with preserving seasons and events. As soon as mid-January to mid-February we can frantically spend the all-to-short marmalade season gathering as many of the coveted Seville oranges as we can. With this in mind we put together a marmalde kit and also posted our Seville orange marmalade recipe on the Preserve Shop website. So, a preserving kit would make a perfect present for anyone keen in the kitchen; they're also great gifts for families as they get everyone involved and are a good excuse for a trip to your local pick-your-own farm. We have more kits in the works, including a chutney kit, pickling kit and curd kit to name a few. Watch this space.

Another recommendation would have to be a good ceramic knife for use with all those fruits and vegetables awaiting their pilgrimage to the preserving pan. We won't go into too much detail about the benefits of ceramic knives here, but for an introduction it's worth checking out Kyocera Knives. A present sure to be cherished by both beginner and foodie alike.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Autumnal Affection

We're all feeling rather seasonal at the Preserve Shop HQ, so this month we took a moment out of our day to sit back and read "To Autumn", written by John Keats in 1819. We've also got some lovely Autumnal Labels, which are brand new for November, as well as some great new recipes.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Ah :o)

If you're interested in an in-depth analysis of this poem, check it out here.

If you're looking for a specific recipe this month, please do let us know; we're always happy to help.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Handy Jam Funnels

Last night I made a batch of our favourite chutney - caramelised red onion chutney with port and green peppercorns. It's exceedingly tasty with some hard smoked goats cheese and rosemary biscuits. As always, the jam funnel was a life saver and made easy work of potting up. We usually finish the chutney with some black gingham labels and they look rather snazzy. I'd recommend the black gingham labels for any dark coloured preserve; when coupled with black lids they look amazing. There are a variety of different coloured gingham labels available at Preserve Shop but if there's a colour you'd like that isn't there, please let us know and we'll make them available.

Festive Chutney Recipe

I've just posted a new recipe on the Preserve Shop website, so grab your jam jars and fill them with this excellent festive chutney - Festive Cranberry and Cointreau Chutney

It makes a great gift, but be sure to make enough for yourself as it's invaluable over the festive period.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Pick Your Own Farms

Pick your own farms are the next best thing after growing your own fruit or vegatables. In our opinion they are a complete no brainer as the produce is as fresh as can be, you know exactly where it has come from and you pick it with your own hands.

The benefits don't just blossom in the kitchen, however. Pick your own farms are a great way to coax the whole family into the outdoors, get some exercise under your belt and even teach the kids a thing or two about their five a day; not to mention the feeling of satisfaction when you weigh in your pickings by the punnet full.

It's always a good idea to find out in advance what's in season and what the opening times are, so you can plan beforehand what you are going to do with the fruits of your labour. Remember also that it's best to pick a little too much than not enough; you can always freeze some or make more jam or chutney than you planned to.

With this in mind, be sure to stock up on jam jars and all the essential jam making equipment. I've recently added 500ml and 1000ml Mason jars to our range and they are great for big batches of jams and chutneys.

It might seem a while away yet, but take a look at the Pick Your Own Farms website for details of your nearest offerings, plan your trip early and have something to look forward to when summer comes along.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Sevillie Orange Marmalade Recipe for Marmalade Season

I just have to share this Seville orange marmalade recipe with you; it makes the most luxurious marmalade. Make the most of these heavenly oranges while they're in season, as the season is short! The recipe can be modified to suit your taste; do you prefer thin cut, thick cut or somewhere in between?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Jar Labels

When I first began preserving I thought I was being clever by keeping costs extra low and not bothering to label my preserves. However it became a bit of a pain when I'd pay the store cupboard a visit 6 months later to treat our guests to a nice homemade chutney only to realise I didn't know what was what. Those days are long gone and I now label each and every jar; knowing which jars contain which preserves is really handy! Me being myself and insisting on doing a good job of things, I have become bored of using the same old jam jar labels to label everything with. With this in mind, I set out to design a grand range of jar labels - a label for every occasion. One might think this is a little over the top but it really does give your preserves that extra special homemade look and adds a touch of class. The range is constantly growing; whenever I can't quite find the perfect preserve label, or if I receive any suggestions, I'll set to work and design the perfect match for the tasty preserve in question.