Harvest time, preserving time

Garden Life
Capture the aromas of summer and combine any types of fresh fruit you like. Herbs and vegetables can also be preserved quickly and easily.
But preparation is important here, too. The jars have to be absolutely clean if the delicacies are to be preserved for a long time. Thoroughly clean the jars and sterilise them in boiling water. Then let them drip dry but do not dry them with a towel as lint or grease could adhere to the jar. Boil the rings, seals and lids in water with a little vinegar, rinse with clear water and let them dry. Ensure that the edge stays clean when filling the jars. We recommend using a funnel for this.

Once you have prepared properly, you only have to decide which preserving method you want to use so that you can enjoy a little piece of summer even in the winter.

Classic methods at a glance

Bottling: First, the product to be preserved is placed in jars and the lids are placed on loosely. To kill the bacteria, the jars are then heated to around 100° Celsius. The heating also makes their content expand. When the jars are then cooled again in a water bath, the content shrinks again, creating a vacuum. This seals the jars so that they are air-tight. The food can then be stored for around two years.

Pickling: Various methods are used to store fruits, herbs etc. for longer periods of time. Only dried herbs, garlic or tomatoes are usually stored in oil. Vegetables can be covered with boiling vinegar twice or cooked in vinegar. Fruit is pickled in alcohol, e.g. rum or fruit brandy. The preserving effect of alcohol is supported by sugar.

Boiling: The hot filling method is recommended for boiling. The fruit is cooked in a sugar solution and the jars are filled when the fruit is still hot. The jars should initially only be filled halfway so that they adjust to the temperature gradually. Later, the jars are then filled to 2 cm below the top and turned upside down for five minutes. Please note that screw-top lids should be sterilised with alcohol first.

Drying: Drying can be achieved in different ways - either in the open air or in an oven.

Air drying: The fruit and vegetables are cut to size and threaded onto strings. They are then dried for one or more weeks depending on their water content.

Oven drying: This method is quicker and more hygienic. The fruit and vegetables are placed on a baking tray and dried for three to six hours at an average temperature of 30° to 40° Celsius. It is important to turn the items being dried every hour. We do not recommend drying produce in the microwave however.

Tip: To determine whether the fruit and vegetables are dry enough, place some in a plastic bag and close it. If condensation forms in the bag, the produce requires further drying.

Which is the correct sugar?

When making jam, any crystallised sugar can be used. But it is easier if you use preserving or jam sugar.

Preserving sugar: Because it has a coarse crystal structure, preserving sugar only produces a little foam when used to make jams and preserves. This creates fewer bubbles and the jam/preserve is smoother.

Gelling sugar: Made up of sugar and pectin, this is ideally suited to very mature and soft fruits which solidify very poorly on their own. However, when you use gelling sugar the fruit must not be cooked for more than eight minutes as otherwise it becomes very soft and will not solidify after all.

The importance of the mixture

Use one kilo of sugar to one kilo of fruit to ensure a preserving effect.

How to make delicious jam

• 1 kg berries (blackcurrants, cranberries, blackberries, or raspberries)

• 1 kg gelling sugar

Wash the fruit and allow to dry, place into a pot and push down a little. Add the gelling sugar and boil for four minutes. Stir regularly whilst cooking. Fill clean, sterilised jars with the hot jam, close them tightly and turn them upside down for five minutes.

We hope you have a lot of fun harvesting and preserving your produce!