Preserving: Do’s and Don’ts

2013 Jan 30 |  Written by:  | Tags:

Preserving: Do’s and Don’ts, 4.3 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

Preserving Spread

The 8 essential do’s and don’ts of preserving

When it comes to the art of making home-made preserves, there are some strict rules you should adhere to that will ensure delicious, long lasting results.

The Do’s

  • Choose the best quality, freshest fruit. Slightly under-ripe fruit, or freshly picked or harvested vegetables are best. Produce that is damaged, bruised, or that has fallen off the tree can result in mouldy, inedible preserves.
  • Allow jams, marmalades and conserves to stand after cooking. This ensures fruit has had time to settle and disperse through the syrup before bottling. This is particularly important if the fruit pieces are large, as the fruit will rise to the top if the jam is bottled too soon resulting in an uneven end result.
  • Be vigilant with jar sterilisation. Jars and lids should be hot when the preserves are poured into them. Insulate the jars and the surfaces below them by standing the jars on a wooden board or towel.
  • Fill the jars to the top with preserves. The contents will shrink ever so slightly upon cooling, allowing a small space between the lid and the top of the preserve surface. Always seal the jars while hot.
  • Less is more. Make only small amounts of jams and preserves at a time. When doing this, the colour, flavour, quality and clarity will be more desirable.

The Don’ts

  • Increase the quantities of ingredients unless you have the correct large equipment to deal with the influx. During the cooking process, about half of the liquid evaporates, so if you want to increase the quantity of your preserves, a wide top boiler is ideal.
  • Reduce the quantity of sugar. If you don’t use enough sugar in your preservatives they will not keep. Sugar is a preservative in itself and is the ingredient that will ensure your delicious creations achieve longevity.
  • Use cracked or chipped jars. Cracked jars will break when they come into contact with the hot preserves, while the chips could contain bacteria.
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