Well, the name says it all, Jams and Chutneys – Preserving the Harvest, and Thane Prince has penned this book choc-a-bloc with ideas, recipes and technical know-how. Follow the advice and by the end of the year your shelves will be bending under the weight of bottled goods.
Thane grew up in the countryside when homemade preserves were, if not the norm, at least more common than they are these days. It’s not a difficult process to make a delicious jam or chutney and all the rules and recipes are here to ensure success.
If you are a beginner then have a good read of the Techniques chapter before you do anything. It’s all logical and the advice is sound. How demanding can it be? People have been doing this for generations with less classy equipment than you will have to hand. You need to pay attention to temperatures and sterilization but then you can get on and make some truly delectable preserves.
Thane has recipes for all the usual jams such as Blackberry, Raspberry, Apricot, etc. but there are some additional items. Berry Vinegar and Tarragon Vinegar, amongst others, are easy to make, cheap to make and would be great gifts for any food lover. That’s the joy of this kind of process. It’s as much about sharing as preserving.
Just reading this book will give you ideas for using your own produce or buying from the market when the fruit season is in full swing. If you are a jam eater you will love the flexibility of making your own. Thane’s recipes are lovely but you will be able to adapt those to your taste once you have mastered the basics.
Some of my favourites from this book are Cinnamon Apple Jelly, clear and jewel-like; Pink Pickled Ginger that looks just like the shop-bought sort but for a fraction of the price; Mango Chutney that is surprisingly easy to make; and Pears in White Wine with Lemongrass. How smart would that be!
It’s so easy to produce something sweet and comforting or spicy and zesty from inexpensive ingredients. There will be no food colourings, no E numbers and no strange chemicals. You will notice the difference in flavour and so will your family.
Thane Prince is a well-respected author and columnist, and she has used all her expertise to produce this informative and attractive volume. It will give bottling beginners confidence, and practised preservers some new ideas.
Jams and Chutneys – Preserving the Harvest
Author: Thane Prince
Published by: Dorling Kindersley
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018