Throughout history, man has looked for and developed ways of preserving and storing food so there was enough to eat during, often harsh, winters and the following 'hungry gap' of spring.
Many of the ancient methods are still successfully in use - like:-
and some methods which were used by our grandparents and great-grandparents like jam-making, jelly making, pickles and chutneys are still very popular.
In fact, many of the old methods are coming back into popularity as people become more aware of how our food is produced and want the best quality where they can afford it. Eg dry-cured bacon and ham, although more expensive, does not contain many of the chemicals and liquid used in the more common super market varieties and, in fact, is probably much better value as it doesn't shrivel up to a quarter of its volume when grilled. Smoke houses or even home smoking kits are available for small holders to produce their own smoked meat and fish. The increasing popularity of Farmers' Markets, where you can buy a wide range of excellent quality food products from our own local farms and growers or first class imported produce are a reflection of people's desire to shake off our dependence on supermarkets' cheaper produce and factory farming.
Of course, food produced by these 'old' methods costs more. The equipment has to be re-developed and is often hand made or made in small factories, making it more expensive. To produce the food is more time-consuming and labour intensive, making it more expensive. So, lets produce our own.
These days, of course, we have freezers to help preserve our food and freezing is an easy and successful method of preserving much (though not all) of our crops.
And what could be more satisfying than a cupboard (or two) filled with bottles and jars of jams and jellies, pickles and chutneys, and a wonderful, colourful range of dried beans.
Please send your favourite recipes for inclusion in these pages to my email address:
Include a photo or two if you can, in jpg format.
But, please remember that both photos and recipes must be your own and not taken from the internet or books, we don't want to be involved in copyright litigation!
There are several links on the home page for sources of preserving bottles and jars and freezer equipment.
Do have a look at the following pages with recipes for using:
* Jams and jellies
* Pickles, chutnies and Ketchups
* Home bottling
* Using precious gluts
* Interesting ways of using potatoes
* Recipes for Beetroot
* Beans and peas
* Using dried Beans
* Recipes for using Dried Beans
* Leeks, Pumpkin and squash
* Puddings using homegrown fruit
* Cauliflower and broccoli
* Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale
* Globe Artichokes
* Courgettes and Marrows