How To Make Your Own Homemade Preserves

Homemade Preserves
Even if you don’t have your own vegetable garden, fruit orchard or berry bushes, you can still enjoy the wonderful fresh flavor of your own homemade preserves. Making fruit preserves is absolutely simple enough to do. The end result, fresh fruit and vegetables is well worth it. Think of the extra time it takes to peel your own as personal meditation. The old folks squeezed as much contemplative time out of their ritual of making preserves as they did the flavors that were astounding to the palates of their families.

Finding The Right Ingredients For Preserves
Making fruit or vegetable preserves without your own backyard garden is not a problem. The first choice can be the local green grocer or nearby farm that sells produce in abundance in the spring, summer and late fall. If this isn’t possible, look for fresh, ripe and unblemished vegetables and fruits for your preserves at your local grocery store. Make one day a week your day to prepare preserves. That way the project won’t become overwhelming. Next, invest in a good supply of glass jars in several sizes. These should be able to withstand the high heat of boiling water since you will need to sterilize them. Don’t panic. Sterilizing the bottles can be done in a large pot one or two bottles at a time. Choose standard preserve tops and rings for the seals. For fruit preserves and jams, you’ll also need pectic and ordinary wax for seals.

Ready, Set, Preserve
Make sure all of the fruits and vegetables are washed, pick off any stems or leaves if applicable. Sterilize a pot large enough for the ingredients you want to preserve. Remove the water and add fruit or vegetables, enough fresh clean water to bring the ingredients to a boil and in the case of fruits, sugar and pectin. With fruit preserves, cook the fruit only until it becomes slightly tender. Don’t overcook or you’ll have the beginnings of a great jam or jelly. Preserving vegetables means cooking them until slightly tender. Remember, you’ll be reheating them later so you won’t want mushy vegetables. After the cooking process, place the ingredients in the clean, sterilized jars you’ve prepared. Seal and store in a cool, dark place.

Go Creative With Homemade Preserves
The really creative homemade preserve artiste can be as original as you like with the items you want to preserve. Although fresh fruits and vegetables are the mainstay for learning how to make your own homemade preserves, purchase your select raw olives from the green grocer and allow them to “cure” in salted water. Chutney is another type of preserve that adds a dash to meals. Pickling is a form of homemade preserves. There are ready-made pickling spices that you add to the water to create the brine for pickling cucumbers, squash, peppers, corn and beets.

Now That’s Tomato Sauce
Few older individuals can forget the awesome aroma of Mom’s tomato preserves. There are several ways to make tomato preserves. Parboil whole, seeded, washed tomatoes with fresh basil, oregano, rosemary or coriander and place them in prepared preserve jars. Or, diced the seeded tomatoes, add herbs of choice and place in prepared preserve jars. Either way, this is the beginning off your own special brand of tomato sauce. Open a jar the next time you make pasta, add onions, garlic and a dash of olive oil and your trademark tomato sauce is ready to make it’s centerstage debut with your family. The best part is that you can truthfully say, “I made it from scratch.”

Fruit Preserves With A Flair
When making fruit preserves, don’t forget to add a little spice to them. A whisper of cinnamon in your homemade peach preserves will give it a sparkle. Pears marry well with a dash of nutmeg. Strawberries and blueberries might benefit from a bit of lemon rind in the cooking process.