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Food

Preserving: it's all the rage, you know

by Sarah Alcock

Chutneys, pickles, jams and relishes... it's not just Grandma who's making her own. Preserving is now cool. Like brewing your own beer or churning your own cheese, making a big vat of jam or bottles of your own cordial is cooler than wearing a waistcoat in east London.

So how can you do it?

Here are four easy ways to preserve your garden goodies.

Too many herbs?

Finely chop them and stir into soft butter, then roll into a log and wrap in clingfilm before freezing. Slice into rounds and add to freshly cooked vegetables, steak or fish to ramp up the flavour.

herbbutter.jpg

Spruce up salmon

Photograph: Kate Whitaker

Freeze your berries

Add to crumbles and porridge in the autumn, or to use in smoothies and drinks. Freeze in a single layer on trays lined with baking paper. Once frozen, tip into freezer bags. Blackberries, raspberries and currants (both black and red) are best. Avoid strawberries; they become mushy once defrosted.

Berries.jpg

Rasperries in winter? What?!

Photograph: Jan Baldwin

Easy dressings

Boil white wine or cider vinegar with soft herbs like tarragon for 2 minutes; infuse for a few weeks, then strain into sterilised bottles and use in dressings and sauces.

dressing.jpg

No more salad cream

Photograph: Martin Poole

Save veggies for soup

If you have a glut of summer veg, like courgettes or tomatoes, soften with a little onion, cover with stock or simmer until tender. Purée and freeze in single portions, ready to use in soups.

soup.jpg

Soup on tap...

Photograph: Brett Stevens

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