Click on any picture to make it bigger and feel free to leave comments, I love reading them.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Lots of Stirring and Preserving.

I spent the last couple pf days turning my crop surpluses and foraged wild fruits into preserves to use in the coming months. The recipes will be written if they are all mine or from a book and will be linked if I got them off the internet and I’ll be sure to mention if I made any alterations.

Monday I finally got round to cooking and bottling my growing stock of ‘Roma’ and ‘San Marzano I I ’ tomatoes, two varieties which make great sauces and purees. I turned them into a yummy herby chunky tomato sauce. Which I then bottled using this technique. Everything went as per planned, I used bottles with plastic coated metal covers and (as I hoped) as the bottles cooled it created a vacuum and the bottles original pop up seal have sunk in which hopefully means the bottles are now air tight. I just hope now that it has worked and that my 4lbs of tomatoes don’t spoil in storage.

My recipe for ‘Chunky Tomato Sauce’ was adjusted in relation to what I had.

Tomatoes (cut into chunky pieces) - 4lbs.
Garlic (roughly chopped) - 1 clove per tomato.
Olive oil - a very healthy ‘glug’ to cover the base of the pan.
Black pepper (freshly ground) - approx 1.5 tbsp.
Soy sauce - approx 2 tbsps.
Fresh herbs used: oregano, parsley (leaves and 1 tbsp of dried seeds because it was available on the plant), thyme, par-cel (celery leaves are a good substitute) and leaves from saved onion tops (which are being kept fresh in the fridge in a cup of water but spring onions are a good alternative). The herbs I used were what I had growing in my garden, you can adjust it to suit what you have or like.
Scotch bonnet chilli - 1 cooked whole to impart flavour with a little heat, if you like things really hot (I have to think of the kids) you can chop it up and add as much as you like.
Salt - I used near the end to taste but also was aware that when I plan to use the sauce in the future I may add salt to a dish so I did not add too much at this time, you may choose not to add any at all.

Method: I sautéed the garlic, herbs and black pepper in the olive oil and soy sauce for about five minutes over a medium to low heat (don’t let the garlic burn as it will become bitter). I then added the tomatoes lightly mixed to incorporate the herbs then added the chilli on the top, turned the heat down and covered the pot leaving the tomatoes to breakdown into a semi liquid.

It was cooked for approx 25 minutes or certainly till the majority of the liquid was reduced leaving a thick chunky sauce. While cooking I stirred periodically to prevent sticking as the sauce thickened up, remember if you don’t want to burst the chilli locate it carefully before stirring.
While the sauce is cooking sterilise your bottles and lids. Once the sauce is cooked to your liking bottle it up and sterilise according the canning method of your choice, the technique I used is hyperlinked above.
I had hoped to preserve the damsons as well Monday night but my little one came down with the cold and was in no mood to do with out mummy so I was only able to de-stone the damsons which were popped into the fridge. But I did get the opportunity to boil up the hawthorn berries and leave them to drip the juice out overnight.

Roll on Tuesday then and using mangocheeks plum and mulled wine jam recipe I transformed those lovely tasting damsons into something fantastic (by the time my four year old was finished licking the spoon once I was done with it didn’t need washing but I thought I probably wasn’t a good idea to stick her germs back into the cutlery drawer). I did alter the recipe though, as there was no opened bottles of red wine in the cabinet I used some sherry instead.

The hawthorn drippings were also sorted out and using this
recipe. I also doubled the water quantities (see the recipe’s comments left recently). But following the explanation given by the blog’s writer I will try this recipe again with haws picked later in the season. There is a lovely covered bush at the allotment so I’ll definitely give it another go. My jelly sadly didn’t thickened up although it was setting when I tested it prior to bottling. Never mind the sauce is delectably sweet and the kids will relish it on their morning pancakes and ice ream treats.
Well that’s where I’m at thus far with this year’s preserving and for anyone following my blog for preserving ideas I have been researching further the Chinese quinces I mentioned in this posting and have found that they are better used when they have been frosted which is called bletting as the flesh becomes softer and the sugars become sweeter, the same goes for rosehips and medlars which I wrongly referred to in earlier posts as yellow cherry plums (which will also explain why those trees are still dripping with yellow fruits, the birds basically don’t touch them till they become sweet after being frosted, hmm go figure!). Well all that was to let you know that I picked up a shortcut way of bletting from another harvesters of these tart fruits and that is to leave in the freezer overnight, yep simple as that! Then use as you had planned, here are other ideas I have picked up on other forums.


  1. I had some jam that didn't set put the kids have had it on ice cream...believe it or not it was marrow jam which kind of tastes gross but really isn''s kind of like syrup...very interesting!!!

    I did know about freezing the fruit glad you found out too!!

  2. Sometimes I add a little soy sauce to my tomato sauce, too, Kella. Nice blog you have here!

  3. Tanya, maybe our non-setting jellies could have done with a little pectin from apples, etc.

    Barbara, welcome to my blog and thanks for the lovely compliment. I will swing by yours later today.

  4. My oh my you have been busy. Your storecupboard is going to be bulging with goodness when winter comes! Hurray for food preservation!

  5. You know all this preserve making is all well and good, but when do members of the family get their supply, HUH!!!

  6. Hello everyone, I am the "little" sister and have none of these skills! Ha Ha Ha....But I'm very proud of my "big" sis...but like I said Kella, time to start sharing the goodness, seriously!!!

  7. Mangocheeks those bulging cupboards of food filled recycled jam jars helps to put the same gladness in the heart you get when watching the crops grow during the summer, don't you think?

  8. Hi little sis, nice to see you commenting and no stirring up trouble ;) Plus don't you have packing to do??? :)

  9. You're going to be eating your produce all winter at this rate. How wonderful! I really need to get into preserving more.



Related Posts with Thumbnails