How to Make Preserves

Like the idea of preserving? Learn how to make chutneys and jam and pickle cucumbers.

Jars of Preserves and Pickles

Preserving food is a worldwide phenomenon - think kimchee in Korea, preserved lemons in the Middle East and good old fashioned strawberry jam here in Blighty.

Whenever there's a glut get down to curing, salting, drying and pickling and you'll cheer up the dark days of winter with your bottled sunshine. Definitely worth it.

PRESERVING VEGETABLES

Come summer, vegetables are cheap and plentiful so when you've had your fill of salads bring out the vinegar. Start with cucumbers - perfect in sandwiches, on a cheese board or as a starter with smoked salmon, this pickled cucumber recipe is a must-make for summer.

You can also try pickled onions, a spicy piccalilli, or a simple red onion chutney

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS...

Make lemonade! Try Tamasin Day Lewis' lemonade, packed with vitamin C and great as a thirst quencher on a hot day. If you like your drinks a little stronger, try James Martin's limoncello or the Hairy Bikers' boozy lemonade.

Middle Eastern food is increasingly popular through the food of chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi. For an authentic touch, make your own preserved lemons - perfect in a chicken tagine or quinoa salad.

Everyone's favourite lemon recipe has to be Rachel Allen's lemon curd, gorgeous in fruit tarts, swirled into ice cream or just smothered on toast.

HOW TO STERILISE JARS

Probably the most important parts of preserving or pickling is sterilising the jars. It's so easy and helps improve the longevity of preserves by removing any bacteria, yeasts or funghi.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Thoroughly wash the jars and lids, rinse with clean water and leave to dry. Place the jars on a baking tray so they are not touching each other and then put the tray of jars into the oven for 10 minutes. Place the lids in a saucepan of boiling water at the same time. If you are using kilner jars, simply remove the rubber ring and pop them in boiling water for 10 minutes, the same as you would do for the lids. Take the jars out of the oven and, using tongs, remove the lids from the hot water.

Hot into hot or cold into cold is a simple rule to follow with sterilised jars. If you are working with hot ingredients, ensure the glass jar is hot when you decant the ingredients into it. If you let the ingredients cool down before decanting, make sure that you have sterilised your jar and allowed it to cool beforehand.

May your preservation commence!