Preservation, preservation, preservation

It’s that time of the year again when produce is abundant – both in the garden and on the market – and so my mind turns to preserving it for those future lean times.

As a result I had two main jobs this morning: first a visit to the Friday fruit and veg market and then cleaning the family preserving pan. The shopping trip can only be done on a Friday, so I had to miss going swimming. They set up in Newcastle Emlyn early, so I left home at 7am in order to make sure I got there before what I wanted had sold out. I arrived before 7:30 and started selecting my bulk purchases. I returned home through the early-morning mist with two large trays of tomatoes, two trays of nectarines and a bag of 20 peaches. I will return for more produce in a week or two (when, hopefully they will have plum tomatoes like last year and trays of peaches), but what I bought will keep me busy for a little while.

And so to the next task. All this preserving – passata, bottled peaches, nectarine purée – will be greatly facilitated by my second preserving pan. However, having spent several years in my mother’s barn, it needed a little cleaning. A quick internet search suggested that brass could be cleaned quite easily using a mixture of white vinegar (half a cup), salt (one teaspoon) and flour (enough to make it into a paste). All you do is dissolve the salt in the vinegar, add enough flour to get a spreadable consistency, smear the paste on your brass, leave for 10 minutes and then wipe/rinse off and dry. And I’m pleased to say, it worked. I did the inside of the pan twice and the outside once… and if it was for decoration I might do it again, but for my purposes, it looks good and was very easy – no elbow grease required!

So now, there are tomatoes roasting in the oven and for the rest of the weekend I will be getting sticky with peaches, nectarines and sugar syrup.

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  1. Moving to a new home recently I decided to go higher end on the kitchen appliances, which goes against my better judgement with money and minimalism. I’m glad I did, as I’ve discovered the awesomeness that is dehydrating. I’ve made jerky, dried fruits, and this weekend will be attempting a small batch of various vegetables as I’ve read that you can store and re-hydrate later (I’ll make a post to let everyone know how it turns out). I’ve yet to get into preserving as my Mom did while I grew up. I did love to eat Peach, Strawberry, and Apple jelly all through the winter. Looks like you got it all under control though! Good luck!

    • I have gradually collected a range of preserving equipment, so these days it’s relatively straightforward. My best buy was a pressure canner, which I had to order from the US… in the end it wasn’t too expensive and it’s brilliant.

  2. nettyg

     /  August 5, 2016

    This all looks wonderful, I love the idea of preserving but here in the sub tropics there’s always plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, even in winter; in fact, winter is my best growing season. But I do make lots of fermented vegetables with the winter cabbages are abundant, my favourite. I wondered as I was reading…how do you carry all those trays and big bags, 1) while you’re still shopping and then 2) to go back to your car? I like your big preserving pot too, would love that for fabric dyeing:) enjoy the stickiness.

    • The market is so early in the morning that I can park very close and carry the trays straight to the car – the staff on the stall will help anyone who needs extra hands too!

  3. As Nanette says, we get good produce all year round, so I haven’t worried too much about making my usual pasta sauce, especially with a back that didn’t enjoy standing at the stove or kitchen bench. But I think the time is coming when I should think about it again… My 30 litre stock pot does service as a preserving pan, and as you know, I have the same pressure canner!

    • Well my ownership of the pressure canner is all down to you! I’m rather fond of seasonality when it comes to produce – it makes me appreciate it all the more when it is fresh and really enjoy the summer flavours in winter when I open a bottle or jar from the great preserving fest 🙂

      • Yes, preserving does give you the fleeting taste of summer in a jar… tomatoes and fruit out of season can be so special.

  4. Nectarine puree is a new one on me. I shall have to do some research. Our garden is going into full productivity now, soon be time for me to start preserving.

    • It’s an American recipe – they are so much more creative when it comes to preserving – most Brits only think of jams, pickles and chutneys, but in the US they do amazing things.

  5. My admiration knows no bounds! I love the idea of preserving fruit and veggies, but have never got around to it. Having all the right equipment would certainly help. (Great recipe for cleaning brass.) I worked with an Italian woman who had a big tomato bottling weekend every year. It was a whole family operation that gave them sauce and puree for the year to come.

    • We have one bottle of passata left from last year, so I’m quite impressed with my planning!
      It’s taken me about 5 years to accumulate all the equipment I need, but I know that it will get lots of use so I don’t begrudge the space it occupies, unused, for most of the year.

  6. I like the idea of that recipe for cleaning the brass, especially since you’re cooking in the pan and the cleaning recipe contains only food-like ingredients. You have a lot of work cut out for you!


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