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HOW TO MAKE JAMS, MARMALADES AND PRESERVES
We've been doing a lot of preserving in the Greatfood kitchen: there is nothing that gives you more pleasure than putting away jams and marmalades and fruit compotes, knowing that they will see you through until you find the next glut of fruit or until Seville oranges come back into season.
Preserving books can be confusing: they often make it sound very rule-bound but actually there are only a few rules to follow if you stick to jams and marmalades and fridge-friendly pots of fruit – we've put together articles and recipes that distill it down to sheer simplicity.
How to make jams and fruit preserves
You don't need to come from a family with a preserving tradition – you can become an ace jam-maker overnight with the right recipe and by observing a few basic rules. We take you through the steps and give you foolproof recipes to get you started.
Seville Orange Marmalade
Seville oranges are bitter and that's what makes them the ideal orange to make marmalade with. The season is January and February so stock up and you will have marmalade for the year.
Kumquat marmalade with gin
Kumquats are quite expensive so you need to make something special with them. This recipe for kumquat marmalade with gin and vanilla is just that. Serve it with cheese or on griddled bread.
This is the lime curd recipe we use which we found in the Women's Institute Preserves book. It's zesty and vivid and even better when it is left overnight. Use the freshest organic free-range eggs to make this curd.
Quick Rhubarb and Vanilla Preserve
This is a very quick and easy compote to make: it keeps for a few weeks in a closed preserve or jam jar in the fridge. Spread it on bread, stir it into yogurt or serve it with any Italian semi-hard cheese from Asiago to Parmesan.
How to make Crystallised or Stem Ginger in syrup
Stem ginger preserved in syrup is a very useful storecupboard ingredient. Whether you use it on vanilla icecream or make a sauce with it, it will add both sweetness and heat.
Flavoured oils, jams and chutneys
Do you spend money on flavoured oils, jams and chutneys? Do you know how long you should keep them, and when to throw them away? Paul Clarke from En-Place answers our questions so you can be sure you are eating food that is safe to eat!
How to make Sundried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are a delightful addition to pasta dishes, served on bruschetta, used to make a sauce for roast cod or hake or served as part of an Italian meat plate. All you need are ripe, juicy red tomatoes, some good olive oil, salt, garlic and an oven.
Where to buy preserving jars
At greatfood.ie we use Weck jars (see our photo on the left) which are adorable pot-bellied preserving jars with orange rubber ring seals. You can buy them at alpack.ie at wholesale prices – they have an online and a physical shop so you can get home delivery or go out and buy them. You can also use the classic kilner jar (also available at alpack.ie). Both types of jar work for any kind of preserve and, once you sterilise the jars correctly and follow the storage time instructions, are bullet-proof in terms of keeping your preserves safe. Both Weck jars and Kilner jars are perfect for storing herbs and spices and keeping them fresh, and they look wonderful in any kitchen.
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Traditional Irish recipes
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