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The Preserver's Year

edited 7 July 2015 at 5:34PM in Old Style MoneySaving
1.7K replies 223.2K views
thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
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edited 7 July 2015 at 5:34PM in Old Style MoneySaving
Preserver’s Calendar

This is a month by month guide to when fruit (and some veg) are at their best and what you can be making with it. I haven’t included imported produce except for Seville oranges. The joy of preserving is in using up seasonal abundance. Make the most of farm shops, PYOs and free hedgerow and garden fruit. Bear in mind that this is just a rough guide sometimes harvests will be earlier, later, shorter or longer, and will depend on where you live.

January –Seville oranges, apples (cookers and eaters), forced pink rhubarb

Make marmalade. You can also make a liqueur with the juice of Seville oranges, brandy and sugar. Chutney can be made with the apples, winter veg and dried fruits.

February-Seville oranges, apples (cookers and eaters), forced pink rhubarb

Instead of marmalade try making a jelly from the oranges –no cutting up peel, or what about Seville orange curd?

March- Forced pink rhubarb

A bleak month for the preserver. Imported citrus fruits are still good, cheer yourself up with some curds: lemon, orange, grapefruit or use up the last of the stored Bramleys for apple and lemon curd. Make jam from tinned apricots and peaches.

April – Field rhubarb (the ordinary green stuff)

Try a cordial made from rhubarb to dilute with fizzy water, or make it into jam –it’s good with ginger. Or an alcoholic drink like rhubarb vodka. Make chutneys with exotic fruit like mangos, kiwis and pineapple

May –Elderflowers, rhubarb and the first strawberries

Elderflower cordial is a must. You can also make elderflower champagne. Strawberries obviously make gorgeous jam, but there’s still time in the season for that. Rhubarb and strawberries combine well.

June – Elderflowers, gooseberries, cherries, rhubarb and strawberries

Elderflower and gooseberries are a match made in heaven, make elderflower and gooseberry jam. Now is the time to start off Hodgekin, or rumtopf as it is usually called. Hodgekin is our English version of fruits steeped in alcohol –brandy, rum or other spirits. Begin it with the early strawberries and cherries and add soft fruits as they come into season until October. Enjoy at Christmas.

July –Blackcurrants, redcurrants, cherries, gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums
Cucumber, beetroot

Now’s the time to crank up the jam factory – blackcurrant, raspberry, strawberry. Also make jelly from redcurrants. Cordials are excellent made from blackcurrants (think of Ribena) but you can also use other berries too. Or, make them into liqueurs or ‘shrubs’. Raspberry vinegar is good.
Cucumber or ‘bread and butter’ pickles are easy and delicious. Make beetroot relish or pickles too.

August – New season eating apples, crab apples, blackberries, blueberries, figs, greengages, plums, elderberries, rowanberries, raspberries, strawberries, hazelnuts, runner beans, tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn

Make crab apple jelly which can be flavoured with herbs. Blackberry jam, jelly and whisky. Try fruit leathers (a homemade version of those horrible ‘fruit winders’) blackberry and apple work well or make it with other fruits earlier in the summer. Pickle and spice some plums.
Make your own dried tomatoes and ketchup. Start using up vegetable gluts in chutney. Runner beans can be pickled or made into relish and chutney. Make sweetcorn relish to serve at your barbecue.

September –Apples (cookers, eaters and crabs), blackberries, hedgerow berries (rosehips, haws, elderberries, bullaces, sloes), damsons, plums, pears, quinces, autumn raspberries, strawberries, beans, tomatoes, courgettes, marrows, pickling onions, peppers, chilli peppers, hazelnuts

Make chilli jelly, pickled onions, hedgerow jelly, quince jelly, quince cheese, quince vodka/brandy, damson chutney, damson jam, damson cheese and damson gin. Pears can be spiced and pickled for eating with cold meat at Christmas. Make rosehip syrup, rowan jelly and pontack sauce from elderberries.

October- Apples (cookers and eaters), chestnuts, chilli peppers, hedgerow berries, quince, japonicas, autumn raspberries, pickling onions

Make what you didn’t have time to make in September.

November –Apples (cookers and eaters), chestnuts, autumn raspberries

Not much around but time to make your mincemeat. Make some onion marmalade or some exotic fruit curds like passionfruit or lime.

December –There are still apples about

Sample all your damson gin, quince vodka, raspberry shrub and Hodgekin! The chutneys made in August/September should be ready to eat.



Of course there are loads more delicious things you can make through the year. There are already threads about ‘how to’ make jam so I thought this one could be more of a ‘what I am making now’ thread where we can share ideas and recipes and inspire each other.

Edit: Whilst I make quite a lot of these things I haven't made them all by any means. The list is intended as a reminder of what you can be making through the year.


If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply! Thanks to thriftlady for this thread.

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  • thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
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    To kick the year off I have made a big batch of Seville orange marmalade -13 jars. I'm hoping that will see us through the year.

    I am going to buy a few more Seville oranges next week in order to make a liqueur. The River Cottage Preserves Handbook has a recipe for Redcurrant shrub which is redcurrant juice, brandy and sugar. The author suggests replacing the redcurrant juice with Seville orange juice 'for an outstanding orange liqueur'- sounds cheaper than buying Cointreau as I've already got some brandy;)

    Today I'm making Hearty Ale Chutney (also from the River Cottage Handbook). It has swede, cauliflower, apples, carrots, dates and ale in it. Sounds perfect for the winter.
  • This is great thanks, will help orientate me a little I am hoping to return to preserving after a few years of not.

    I really want to make homemade gifts for everyones christmas this year, and I reckon preserves are a good way to go, along with a few jars for me. I really want to make the most of foraged food and local produce.

    So far I have on the foraged side thought of:

    Elderflower cordial/gosberry and elderflower jam.
    Pickled samphirre (I have a bottle of local silver birch vinegar to add to it, but i don't think it is very strong, so will top up with distilled malt)
    Nettle tea!
    Blackberry/elderberry/apple jam/jelly
    Sloe gin/vodka

    I really I was a confident mushroom picker, i could preserve some of them too. Anyone around in N.Wales who is good at this I'd love to learn and walk with you!

    Has anyone any ideas about what to do with wild garlic in preserving terms? or any other foraging ideas!

    I also thought for smaller hampers I could do themes, like a citrus theme...preserved lemons, lime pickle and that tangerine powder that has been posted (thanks), then tucking in a little pamphlet of ideas/recipies to use them.
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  • Thriftlady wrote: »
    Make rosehip syrup, rowan jelly and pontack sauce from elderberries.
    :D what is Pontack sauce?
    Pay off as much as you can in 2012 challenge No. 64: 328.75/2,500
  • TopherTopher Forumite
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    Thriftlady you are terrible. Every time I vow not to buy any more recipe books you suggest another temptation.
    Thanks anyway.
    Topher
  • floydfloyd Forumite
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    Thanks for this Thriftlady, may I ask which method you used for your Sevilles?
    Boiling whole fruit and scooping out or juicing fresh fruit and boiling the shredded peel? I have never made seville marmalade before and I am torn between the 2 techniques. A lady I work with advised me to just shred the peel in a food processor but I wonder if this would take away the character of a good bitter marmalade. I have about 2.5kg of oranges to process.

    I made some delicious rhubarb and ginger jam with my first lot of forced pink rhubarb this year using the recipe from the W.I. preserves book that OH bought me for Chritsmas.
  • JustamumJustamum Forumite
    4.7K posts
    Thriftlady wrote: »
    To kick the year off I have made a big batch of Seville orange marmalade -13 jars. I'm hoping that will see us through the year.

    Thanks for that list - I'm going to print it off and keep it in my recipe file. :T

    How many pounds of oranges did you use to make 13 jars of marmalade? I might nip out and buy some while they are still on sale.

  • oliveoyloliveoyl Forumite
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    Pickled samphirre (I have a bottle of local silver birch vinegar to add to it, but i don't think it is very strong, so will top up with distilled malt)

    When is best to collect Samphire? And is it better to pick the larger plants or new shoots or both?

    I collected some last year for the first time... I didn't pickle it though, just boiled it and had it with butter on, it was quite nice but didn't have much substance to it... very watery (but I might have picked it at the wrong time).

    Do you cook or blanch it before pickling?
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  • thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
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    dealwithdebtdot pontack sauce is a sauce made out of elderberries! I haven't tried it yet but it is a table sauce to be used a bit like Worcester sauce, good with game apparently. As well as elderberries you need vinegar, shallots and spices. It is supposed to last for 7 years and improve with age.

    floyd I used the shredded peel method for my marmalade. I shredded it using the fine shredding disc on my food processor. This works well if you pack the quarters of peel into the feed tube tightly. Inevitably you end up with some pieces that go under the blade horizontally but you can fish those out and shred them by hand. It is much faster than shredding the lot by hand. The pith dissolves in the marmalade. I followed Delia's recipe.

    Justamum I used just over 3lbs of oranges and multiplied the recipe by half.

    Oliveoyl late summer is the time for samphire. I managed to buy it from a roadside stall in August when staying in Norfolk (a good place for samphire). It was delicious, we just had it boiled with butter.
  • floydfloyd Forumite
    2.7K posts
    Thriftlady wrote: »
    I followed Delia's recipe.

    Fab, this is the one I had bookmarked as being a pretty safe bet. Thankyou so much for your help :D
  • I'm chuffed to find this thread here today, i was asking if there was something like this only the other day on here, thanks so much for taking the time to do this.
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