Summer might have only just technically started, but for those of us who like to enjoy the juicy, bold and sweet flavours of summer throughout the year, it’s time to get started on our winter stocks! If one thing has been proven so far in 2020, it’s that our favourite foods and drinks can sometimes fall out of stock in the supermarkets, so it’s best to be prepared and have some backups available. So where to start?
Canning is a process that has been done for centuries and is one of the most effective ways to preserve food. Typically, it involves preparing and processing food and storing it in airtight containers under a specific set of circumstances and it can give produce a shelf life of anything from 1 – 5 years. Freeze-dried goods can even last up to 30 years if canned properly! Canning can take up a lot of space and so its best to use a glass jar with a lid that is appropriate for your quantities, using larger jars for large batches rather than lots of small ones.
Preserving food is a broad term, but typically this type of processing requires added ingredients to ensure food remains in an edible state. Whether it’s adding a stabiliser like sugar to fruit to make a jam, or adding vinegar to veggies to make pickles, there really is no end to the fruit and veg that can be stored this way. Providing you use airtight glass jars with lids, jams, chutneys and pickles can be dry-stored so you don’t have to worry about them taking up room in the fridge or freezer.
One of the most obvious ways to preserve food, freezing goods can extend the shelf life of produce by around 1-3 months. Most produce can be frozen as is, but fresh vegetables often need to be blanched first so that they keep their textures.
Canning is a centuries old practice used to preserve food and while it looks much different today than it did when it was conceived, the process is very similar to a time gone by. You may not know it, but any form of preserving is classed as canning, so all those jams, chutneys, terrines and pates that you’ve made – all technically canning! We’ve put together some of our favourite canning recipes that use nothing more than this seasons produce and hinged jars!
A classic pickle, beetroot slices are great additions to salads, sandwiches and burgers, making them perfect for picnic and BBQ season. Simply get your hinged jars, slice up your beetroots, or keep them whole for baby beetroots, add them to the pickling vinegar made up of white wine vinegar, sugar, salt and any spices that you like. Mustard seeds, mace, cloves and peppercorns all pair well with the rich a earthly flavour of beetroots so try some of these for a simple and savoury level of spice.
For this recipe, start by roasting a butternut squash and 4 garlic cloves in the oven. Once cooked, peel the flesh of both out from their skins and mash in a bowl. Add some thyme or rosemary, a tablespoon of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and 50g of almonds before pulsing in a food processor. You can serve this chunky or smooth in a hinged jar as a vegetarian starter, sandwich filling or even just a dip!
Carrots are great in both savoury and sweet recipes and carrot curd can be either! Make half a cup of carrot and ginger juice in a juicer, ensuring it is a smooth as possible. If there are lumps make sure to press the juice through a fine sieve to remove them before moving on to make the curd. Next, cream together ¾ cup of butter, 6 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt until smooth, then add 2 eggs and 4 egg yolks until just combined. Next add the juice, and then heat the mixture for 20 minutes over a low heat, stirring all the time until the mixture is thick and curd like. Just transfer to a hinged jar and enjoy on cakes, sandwiches or yoghurt.
We’ve all turned our hands to new things over the lockdown period, whether it’s rediscovering a long lost art or trying something completely new. If you’re running out of ideas and want some inspiration for ways to pass your time and be productive, then you are in the right place! We’ve put together a guide on how you can get creative, with just a few jam jars.
Build a Bar
One of the most common lockdown trends we’ve seen across social media is people making their own bars in their home, in place of the usual Friday night visits to the pub. Whether it’s a new shelf for liquor or a full garden hang out, home-style bars can easily replicate the décor and styles of our more traditional haunts. Jam jar candles set the mood for a piano style jazz bar, cocktails in jam jars give off the quirky club vibe or you could go the whole hog and make some hanging jam jar light fittings for the avant-garde lounge feel.
Get In The Garden
If you’re the green-fingered type, then jam jars have a number of uses that can help your hobby to flourish. Getting seeds to germinate outdoors with the unpredictable British weather can be a challenge without a greenhouse, but you can make a miniature one with the help of jam jars! Pop those seeds into their growing spot and then place a clean, clear jam jar over the top to create a baby-sized greenhouse for your new fruits and veggies to start their life in. Once they are sprouted, you’ll want to keep the pesky slugs and snails away, so simply turn over the jar and fill with beer for a quick slug pub.
Empty jam jars are great for repurposing in the kitchen and can be used for more than just jams, preserves and chutneys. Bake individual puddings for a quirky and delicious treat at your next dinner party, make overnight oats for a healthy breakfast on the go or even store small portions of soup and salad for an eco-friendly container.
Karen Taylor - also known by some of our customers as 'Jam Jar Karen'..