If you have access to an allotment, a garden or even a few pots you have the ability to produce ingredients at their best and when totally fresh.
For me, more than anything, the allotment is about sharing a passion for growing fruit and vegetables in season for the kitchen and taking great pleasure eating them as a family or with friends.
However, I love the ability to freeze prolific crops like french beans and store onions and potatoes for use over the winter. I’m also a huge fan of preserves.
Preserves are especially delicious when they are made with homegrown ingredients. Homemade jams and chutneys always put a smile on my face when I eat warm toast or greedily enjoy mature cheese and cold meats over Christmas.
Preserves by Jill Nice is a favourite resource for using up the allotment crops. It’s packed with ideas for making delicious preserves and drinks from over fifty fruits and vegetables.
The book is beautifully illustrated. Not in the traditional sense with colour photos of jars of jams and chutney, but in very much a similar style as another favourite book of mine – SowHow. Both texts really appeal to little helpers.
The recipes are practical and easy-to follow. Many are simple but still incredibly tasty. A favourite of ours is ‘Sweet Beetroot Pickle’, which we used to preserve the fantastic crop of beetroot from the plot.
Jill Nice covers all aspects of preserving and takes you step-by-step through the preserving process.
The book includes sections on choosing the right jars and containers; cooking with sugars and safe, easy sterilising and covers both traditional and modern preserving techniques.
I’ve had this book for a few years and it always has something to offer when I’m looking to preserve a glut or simply because homemade preserves are so delicious.
I’ll be using the guide to make onion relish this week. A star with BBQ burgers. Let’s just hope we get the weather and a late summer flourish.
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