Relish the fruits of the season
Jenny Bristow preserves the autumn harvest to create delicious accompaniments
Preserving is all about saving and putting to good use the best of the season's fruit and vegetables in their prime, so that they can be enjoyed in later months.
Thanks to the array of fruits free for the picking in the hedgerows, this has given so many a genuine new hobby which matches the climate we find ourselves in.
Blackberries, rosehips, sloes, crab apples, marrows and pumpkins can last up to three months, and I am here in early November still finding a plentiful crop of such produce. That wonderful, bitter little berry, the sloe, makes amazing gin which should be ready in time for Christmas.
For many, the type of full-scale preserving that takes days has been replaced by simple relishes, chutneys, salsas and sauces that can be made without hours of long cooking.
They are great accompaniments that can be whipped up at short notice then stored in screw-top jars, kilner jars or kept in the fridge for use over a shorter period of time.
Preserving is one method of cooking that has changed very little over the years. Don't worry if you don't own a preserving pan, as a good large pot with a heavy base will suffice. The size is important to prevent bubbling over and to keep the entire process safer.
I just love the look of store cupboards lined with pots of all shapes and sizes filled with the best of the season's preserves -- an image that will delay the greyness of winter.