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How To Make Chutneys, Pickles, Jam and Jellies?

How To Make Chutneys, Pickles, Jam and Jellies?

Preserving

In the past, preserving was an essential part of a cook’s calendar to ensure that pantries were well stocked all year round. This is no longer necessary, but preserving is a skill worth having and has rewarding end results.

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Preparing To Preserve

The basic principle of preserving is to take food at the peak of freshness and maintain its nutritive value at that stage. Little special equipment is necessary, but it is worthwhile to spend some time preparing equipment for use to ensure that your preserves are a success.

Using Equipment

  • Choosing pan material For making acidic preserves such as chutneys and pickles, use a stainless steel pot, since aluminum or copper may react with the acid.
  • Choosing the right-sized pot Use a large pot for making jam to allow room for expansion. The pan should be half full when all the sugar is added.
  • Warming a thermometer To prevent a thermometer from cracking, warm it in hot water before placing in hot preserves.
  • Hooking a spoon To prevent a wooden spoon from sliding into a pan, attach a wooden clothespin to the handle at right angles to it. Hook the pin over the side of the pan.

Weighing Ingredients

To weigh a large amount of ingredients easily, use bathroom scales. First, note the weight of the pot. Then weigh the ingredients in the pot, and deduct the weight of the pot.

Preventing Scum

Brush the inner sides of a pot with glycerin before making jams and jellies. This will prevent scum from forming on the surface of the preserves during cooking.

Preparing Jars

Preventing cracking

To prevent jars from cracking when filled with hot preserves, first wash them thoroughly. Stand them on a cookie sheet covered with newsprint, and place in a warm oven for 10 minutes.

Sterilizing Lids

Sterilize the metal lids of the canning jars by placing them in boiling water for six minutes. Remove the lids with food tongs to protect your hands, and drain on absorbent paper towels.

Considering Options

  • Using a microwave If you want to cook jams, jellies, or chutneys in a microwave, plan to make only a small amount at a time. To allow for expansion of the ingredients during cooking, use a heatproof bowl that is three times larger in volume than the quantity of preserve you are making in each batch.
  • Pressure cooking Reduce the cooking times recommended in recipes for jams and jellies by making them in a pressure cooker. You will also need to use only about half the liquid specified in the recipe.

Making Jams and Jellies

A successful jam or jelly is characterized by a firm, clear set, a bright color, and a good fruit flavor. Use fresh, undamaged produce, ideally mixing ripe with unripe fruits. Pectin is the setting agent found naturally in fruits, and unripe fruits contain the highest pectin levels.

Straining Jellies

To use a jelly bag to strain jelly, turn a small stool upside down, place a bowl on its base in the center, and tie the jelly bag to the legs of the stool. Fill with fruit pulp, and let drain.

Preventing Problems

  • Preventing mildew Pick fruits for preserves when conditions are dry, since moisture on the fruits may cause mildew.
  • Using sugar Cook fruits for jam until tender before adding sugar, which may toughen the skins. Always warm sugar first so that it will dissolve quickly and help give a clear set.
  • Removing scum Skim jams and jellies to remove scum for a clear set. The last traces can be removed with a paper towel.
  • Distributing fruits If jam or marmalade contains pieces of fruits or peel, let cool slightly before pouring into jars. This will prevent the pieces from rising to the surface.
  • Covering jam Place jam jar covers on immediately after canning to discourage bacteria.

Selecting Fruits

Some fruits have a tendency to set much better than others.

  • Good Apples, blackberries, cranberries, concord grapes, crabapples.
  • Average Raspberries, plums, apricots, grapefaiit, oranges, sour cheries.
  • Poor Pears, sweet cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, peaches.
  • Good combination Apples and raspberries, cranberries and peaches.

Canning Fruits

Successful canning is dependent on efficient sterilization. Preserves make delightful presents, particularly if they are decorated with ribbons and pretty gift tags.

Dealing with Lids

  • Testing the seal To make sure that the seal on a canning jar is good âfter bottling, remove the screw cover, and lift the jar by its lid. If the lid stays in place, the seal is good.
  • Loosening bands Once canning fruits have completely cooled, and the jar is properly sealed, slightly loosen the bands on screw-on closures so that they do not become stuck.
  • Releasing a lid To loosen a lid that is firmly stuck on a jar with a screwband closure, stand the jar in hot water for a few minutes, then lever off the lid carefully with a knife.

Preventing Splitting

Pricking fruits

To prevent fruit skins from bursting, prick whole fruits such as cherries, apricots, and plums before packing them into bottles. This will also aid the absorption of syrup by the fruits.

Packing Jars

Arranging slices Make jars of canned fruits look attractive by arranging slices of fruits such as orange, star fruit, or kiwi fruit against the sides before filling. Pack firmly, avoiding gaps, since fruits rise when cooked.

making pickles

Making Chutneys and Pickles

Preserving fruits and vegetables in sugar and vinegar is a traditional cooking method that improves their flavors during storage. A good chutney is smooth in texture and mellow in flavor. This result is achieved through lengthy, slow cooking and maturation in the jar.

Using Spices

Substituting whole spices If you wish to substitute whole spices for ground when following a chutney recipe, you should double the quantity.

Using Salt

Choosing the right salt Buy rock salt for pickling or dry salting, since table salt contains additives that change the flavor and color of ingredients.

Bruising spices

If you are using whole spices such as cloves or cinnamon to flavor chutneys or pickles, bruise them lightly to release their flavors. Wrap them in cheesecloth, then add to the other ingredients.

Retaining crispness

Make sure vegetables stay crisp by using dry salt instead of brine for salting before pickling. Sprinkle vegetables with salt, and let stand overnight to draw out the juices. Rinse and dry before use.

Cooking Chutneys

Reducing liquid To make sure that a chutney thickens to a good consistency, always cook it uncovered so that the excess liquid evaporates.

Testing before canning

To check whether a chutney is cooked and ready for canning, pull a wooden spoon through it, across the base of the pan. If it parts easily and there is no running liquid, it is cooked.

Traditional Tip

Adjusting Recipes

  • Enriching color Use brown sugar to give a rich color to chutneys with a short cooking time. Use white sugar to darken chutneys only if the recipe has a prolonged cooking time. O Lightening color For a pale color and mild flavor, use white vinegar in chutneys, pickles, and relishes. Also, add the sugar only after the basic ingredients have reduced.
  • Reducing sugar If you want to reduce the amount of sugar used İn a chutney recipe, then add dried fruits such as dates or golden raisins instead.
  • Keeping onions soft Soften onions before pickling by cooking them in a little water for a few minutes before adding vinegar, which has a slightly hardening effect on them.
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