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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Nigel Slater’s jam, pickle and relish recipes | Autumn foods and drinks

At this time of 12 months, I put away damsons, gooseberries and blackcurrants within the freezer. A squirrel-store of fruits which are distinctly seasonal and are just about unimaginable to seek out within the freezer aisles. Within the depths of winter, I fairly take pleasure in an out-of-season gooseberry crumble or a scorching damson compote with my breakfast porridge. However my freezer is small and shortly stuffed.

When apricots have lastly come down in worth, I make jars of glowing jam; when peaches are at their greatest or the availability of courgettes and beetroot appears endless, I’ll make jam or chutney. If I discover a low cost provide of these intensely flavoured tiny cucumbers which are so troublesome to trace down, they are going to find yourself in a home made pickle with fennel seeds and dill to eat with cheese. A row of glistening jars to final me via the winter.

This summer season I grew lavender and scented geraniums like by no means earlier than (I can normally kill a lavender bush at 20 paces), so their flowers and leaves have ended up saved in jars of sugar to make a scented sprinkle for sponges or shortbread. Rose petals too.

I’m not the kind of cook dinner to make a whole lot of pots of chutney or pickles, but there’s something fairly pleasant about opening a kitchen cabinet to seek out recycled jam jars stuffed with your personal handiwork. Recipes you’ve got personalised to your personal style. A home made pickle could be as candy or bitter as you want; jam could be extra softly set than industrial recipes and the chilli warmth of a relish could be tweaked to give you the results you want.

There’s, to a sure extent, a bit of excellent housekeeping occurring right here. When one thing is in such beneficiant provide that it comes down in worth I’ll profit from it, choosing up just a few further courgettes to make right into a pickle or a second and third bag of plums with which to make jam. That stated, I make all preserves as a deal with fairly than a technique to rid myself of a cartload of fruit or greens. A jar or two of peach chutney or bread and butter pickles is like discovering treasure within the cabinet, however I don’t wish to be consuming runner bean relish or marrow jam for the following six months.

You must use sterilised storage jars for all preserves and pickles. Warmth the oven to 160C fan/fuel mark 4. Take away the rubber seals out of your storage jars, pour boiling water into the jars, rigorously emptying them and leaving them to dry the other way up on a baking sheet or roasting tin. Put the tray into the oven and bake for quarter-hour, then fill and seal as required.

Apricot and rose-petal jam

This is without doubt one of the few preserves I make yearly. My model is softer than most you should buy, fairly just like the jams you discover within the Center East. Letting the stoned fruit relaxation in a single day beneath a blanket of sugar is a trick price following. The sugar softens the fruit, resulting in a shorter cooking time and the flavour appears extra intense. Use a sugar thermometer from the beginning. In the event you don’t have one, then chill a few saucers within the fridge earlier than you begin and comply with the directions right here. That is luscious soft-set jam, however if you need one thing firmer use preserving sugar with added pectin. Be sure that your roses are from the backyard and unsprayed.

Makes 3 x 350ml storage jars
apricots 1kg, agency, nearly ripe
granulated sugar 750g
rose petals 40
lemon 1, giant

Wipe the apricots, take away any stems, then slice in half and take away their stones. Put the fruit in a big mixing bowl, then sprinkle the granulated sugar over them. Lower the lemon in half, squeeze the juice over the fruit, then toss every thing along with a big spoon, so the sugar is moist with juice. Cowl the bowl and put aside for 3 or 4 hours, and even in a single day, in a cool place.

Put a big, heavy-based stainless-steel or enamel saucepan over a low to reasonable warmth. Add the fruit and sugar and produce to the boil. Decrease the warmth and depart to bubble gently for about 20 minutes. The jam is prepared when it reaches 105C on a sugar thermometer. As quickly because the temperature is reached, stir within the rose petals, ladle into sterilised jars and seal tightly.

To check and not using a thermometer, put a few saucers within the fridge. Because the fruit turns into tender, put 1 teaspoon of jam on one of many chilly saucers. Put it again within the fridge for two minutes and, if a pores and skin has shaped, the jam is prepared.

Bread and butter pickles

Bread and butter pickles.
Bread and butter pickles. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

I used to be tempted by the deliciously old style title alone, however I felt I needed to have a go at making this sweet-sour pickle after I purchased an artisan-made model whose worth was greater than I needed to pay. Small cucumbers could be purchased from Turkish and Center Jap grocery retailers.

Makes 1 x 750ml storage jar and 1 smaller one
onions 250g, medium
small, crisp cucumbers 500g
salt 1½ tbsp
gentle brown sugar 250g
malt vinegar 100ml
cider vinegar 300ml
floor turmeric 1 tsp
yellow mustard seeds 1 tbsp
black peppercorns 1 tsp
fennel seeds 2 tsp
dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
fennel stalks and flowers a handful (non-obligatory)

Peel the onions, slice them into skinny rounds, then put them in a stainless-steel or china bowl. Slice the cucumbers into rounds about 1cm thick, add them to the onions and sprinkle every thing with the salt. Cowl and depart for a superb couple of hours, in a single day it you’ve got time.

Put the gentle brown sugar, vinegars, floor turmeric yellow mustard seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, chili flakes and fennel stalks and flowers in case you are utilizing them into a big saucepan and produce to the boil.

Rinse the cucumber and onions in a colander beneath the chilly faucet to take away the salt. Pour the boiling pickling liquor over the greens in a bowl, then spoon into jars and seal.

Beetroot and carrot relish

Beetroot and carrot relish.
Beetroot and carrot relish. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

It’s one thing of a blurred line between relish and chutney and I’m unsure it makes a lot distinction what you name them, however a basic rule of thumb is {that a} chutney comprises some kind of fruit (together with dried vine fruits) and a relish is extra vegetable primarily based, considerably finer in texture and is cooked for a shorter time.

This recipe is for these eager to rid themselves of a few of their beetroot harvest. It has the gentle, scorching crunch of mustard seeds and is one which I convey out with a vegetable curry or spoon on to grilled lamb flatbread.

Makes a big jar, about 750ml
uncooked beetroot 325g
carrots 350g
ginger 50g
crimson chilli 1, medium scorching
yellow mustard seeds 1 tsp
lemon 1
garlic 6 cloves
salt 1 tsp
black peppercorns 8
cider vinegar 200ml
gentle brown sugar 175g

Peel and coarsely grate the beetroot, then put it in a medium sized stainless-steel or enamelled pan. Peel and coarsely grate the carrots, then add to the beetroot.

Peel the ginger, slice it thinly (in regards to the thickness of a pound coin), then lower every slice into matchsticks. Add them to the beetroot and carrot, then thinly slice and add the chilli. (You may take away the seeds or not, as you would like – depart them in for a spicier relish.)

Combine within the mustard seeds, the zest of the lemon, finely grated, and the peeled, entire garlic cloves. Add a teaspoon of salt and the entire peppercorns. Halve and squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the pan along with the vinegar and sugar.

Carry to the boil over a reasonable warmth, stirring gently till the sugar has dissolved and all is shiny – then preserve it effervescent till the liquid has nearly disappeared. Pack into jars and seal. That is greatest stored within the fridge.

Peach chutney

Peach chutney.
Peach chutney. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

An excellent chutney with a pleasant stability of vinegar-sharp fruit and deep sweetness that makes it a superb one for cheeses reminiscent of caerphilly or correctly made farmhouse cheddars. It’s fairly excellent for the firmer blues too.

Makes 1 x 750ml storage jar
peaches 1kg
onions 350g
golden raisins 125g
mild muscovado sugar 250g
crushed dried chillies ½ tsp
yellow mustard seeds 2 tsp
cider vinegar 150ml
malt vinegar 150ml
cinnamon stick 1, damaged in two

Quarter the peaches and discard the stones. If the fruit is giant, lower every bit as soon as extra. Peel and roughly chop the onions.

Put the fruit and the onions into a big heavy bottomed metal or enamelled pan. Add the raisins, sugar, chillies, mustard seeds, vinegar and cinnamon stick. Carry the combination to the boil, then scale back the warmth to low. Simmer on low warmth, stirring sometimes, for about 45 minutes. You need a chutney that’s each bitter and candy to the style, so tweak it to your style, however it’s price remembering that the flavour will mellow because it retains.

Pour into scorching and sterilised jars and seal tightly.

Rose geranium and lavender sugars

Rose geranium and lavender sugars.
Rose geranium and lavender sugars. {Photograph}: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

These sugars are such a easy however efficient manner to make use of the various types of scented geranium (pelargonium) leaves or lavender buds. Be sure that your leaves are dry and from a range that smells solely of rose or lemon when rubbed. (If the leaves don’t remind you of Turkish delight, then don’t use them.) The oils current within the leaves will gently scent your sugar over the following couple of weeks, leaving you with aromatic crystals to scatter over shortbread or almond cookies as they depart the oven, or over a sponge cake.

Makes a medium-sized jar
granulated or caster sugar 300g
scented geranium leaves 12, small, or lavender buds 2 tbsp

Be sure that there are not any lumps within the sugar and that your storage jars and leaves or flowers are fully dry. Layer the sugar and leaves in a storage jar, seal and preserve in a dry, darkish place for a number of days earlier than opening and utilizing.

In case you are making lavender sugar, distribute the lavender buds via the sugar and seal. Sieve out the flowers earlier than utilizing. (In the event you use entire sprigs of lavender it’s simpler to take away than the picked flowers.)

Comply with Nigel on Instagram @NigelSlater

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