Who can resist a homemade jam, or a sweetly preserved fruit? Not me! I’m known for my sweet tooth and love a chance to perfect my granny skills. When Mr Wallace gave me Cornersmith Picklery voucher for my birthday I was excited. I signed up for the three hour sweet preserves workshop and boy did I have fun!
We started the workshop by slicing lemons for a citrus marmalade. After a chat from Alex, our instructor, about pectin (which I had never heard of) and acid we started work on a peach and lemon jam. We made our jam in small groups which was great. Together we decided the size of the fruit, when we’d add our lemon rind and other spices to throw in. Plus, we each got to take home a couple of jars of jam. The peach jam has been delicious on croissants!
Next on the agenda was preserving sugar plums. Alex talked us through the sugar syrup and how sweet to make it depending on what you intend to use the fruit for. Lighter syrup if you want your fruit on your muesli and heavier if you fancy preserved fruit for dessert. We each prepared our own jar of sugar plums, which again meant we could choose our own spices. I also learnt about heat processing jars of fruit, which is not something I’d ever done.
The marmalade was the last item for the day. We had a little taste while we were waiting for it to set and it was delicious. The lucky attendees each took home a jar of marmalade too. I’ve previously made grapefruit marmalade but with the things I learnt at the workshop I’m sure my next batch will be even better.
Now I can sweet preserve like a boss!
The sweet preserves workshop was brilliant. Such a lovely, relaxed way to spend three hours. I learnt so much from Alex, including advice on how to get your jam to set (and to call it compote if it doesn’t), the best shape for a jam pan and encouragement to use seasonal fruits rather than imported or frozen fruit. The Cornersmith philosophy is very much about preserving the harvest and reducing waste, which makes perfect sense to me.
With my new found confidence I bought a tray of peaches (for five bucks!) and preserved 2 kilos worth in a sweet sugar and honey syrup. I probably should have followed the advice Alex gave in the sweet preserves workshop and skinned the peaches. Although in my defence, that would have taken a ridiculously long time! I’ll give my peaches a few weeks for the flavour to develop and then I’m going to enjoy them with a bowl of vanilla ice-cream.
What’s your finest granny skill?