Seasonal Recipes

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Jul 29

History Of The Mason Jar

Tagged in: packaging , canning

An interesting look at the history of the Mason jar.

Jul 25

Jams, Treats & Hampers For Autumn

Tagged in: gifts , autumn

Believe it or not, Autumn is just around the corner, and that means we're almost getting into the homeliest part of the year. During the spring and summer, people like to spend as much time as possible - tending to their gardens, getting exercise, and strolling on beaches at popular vacation destinations. But when the days grow shorter and the weather starts to cool off in the autumn and winter, it's time to focus on home comforts. And for many of us, that means tasty foods and treats! More specifically, there are few things that give your kitchen a homelier atmosphere (and taste!) than a selection of jams and chutneys. These can be used with breakfast, snacks throughout the day and night, and even desserts, and as such they're essential for the times of the year when you'll be cooped up inside a bit more. If you're looking to improve upon your traditional selections in these types of foods and ingredients in the coming months, you may want to look into some of the Marks and Spencer food hampers, where you'll find unique jams and chutneys, as well as other foods to compliment them beautifully. Here are a few examples.

Taste Of M&S Hamper
This is the go-to hamper for any enthusiast of sweet treats and jellies. Featuring Sicilian lemon curd, Seville orange marmalade, and strawberry preserve, in addition to shortbreads, chocolates, toffee, and tea, it's everything you need to supply your pantry for treats. Available for a reasonable £25 online, it's a great compliment to any kitchen at any time of year.

Feb 06

Essential preserves for January and February

Tagged in: winter , spring

January and February are a barren time as far as preserving fresh produce goes, but there are some delicious recipes still worth getting on with.

Most of these involve imported citrus fruit, such as Seville oranges, which are at their cheapest and most plentiful at this time of year.

Nov 22

Ten Facts About Pumpkins

Tagged in: pumpkin , glossary

image source wikimedia commons

1.  The pumpkin is a squash of the genus Cucurbita, and can refer to one of many species, they all originated in North America.

Nov 20

Ten Facts About Pectin

Tagged in: pectin , glossary

pectin - jam

1. The word pectin derives from the Greek word pektikos, meaning "congealed, curdled".

2. Pectin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found mostly in the skin and core of fruit, when combined with acid and sugar it forms a gel, the essential process for setting jam.

Nov 12

Ten Facts About Runner Beans

Tagged in: runner bean , glossary

runner bean illustration

image source wikimedia commons

1. The latin name for runner beans is Phaseolus coccineus.

Nov 07

Marrow, Pumpkin and Ginger Jam

Tagged in: pumpkin , marrow , jam , ginger

marrow and ginger jam - marrow

It's about this time of year that the question of what to do with the last of the marrows raises it's gnarled green head over the edge of the vegetable bowl.
The marrow is unquestionably a beast, and sadly it's culinary uses are usually limited to being stuffed, but it can make the base of a most subtle and delicious jam. Its saving grace is that it doesn't have much flavour, and while this is usually its downfall, in this recipe it allows the ginger and lemon to shine through.

It's also a pretty jam.
The cooked marrow is translucent and jewel like chunks of it float in the jar, I've adapted this recipe to include a small amount of pumpkin, which adds a stronger orange colour to the effect.

Oct 25

Christmas Chutney and Preserves

Tagged in: chutney , christmas

The nights are drawing in, the clocks turn back soon and it's cold enough to put the heating on, we've even been tempted to light the fire early and play some

Christmas will be on us before we know it, and thoughts are starting to turn to presents for friends and family. Edible treats always go down well in our house, and in some cases are all eaten by the new year.

Oct 15

Is It Safe To Reuse Jam Jars?

Tagged in: tips , storing , jars

raspberry jam - potting using jam funnel

Recent news articles ( in the Daily Mail and on the BBC) have highlighted a Food Standards Agency regulation regarding safety criteria for food packaging. It has come to light that selling homemade jams and chutneys in reused jars may be punishable by local authority environmental health officers with penalties reaching £5,000  or six months in prison.

So should we be concerned about this?

Sep 06

Runner Bean Chutney

Tagged in: summer , runner bean , chutney , autumn

runner bean chutney - runner beans

Runner bean chutney is something I've eaten at friend's houses, but never made myself. This year, while many crops in the garden have done badly due to the bad weather, the beans have romped away. So, to use up a bit of a glut, I picked a trug of the larger of both runner and green beans and set about this recipe.


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