In November I bought a Fowlers preserving kit on eBay. Annoyingly my mother gave hers away a few years ago. The kit I bought used to belong to a woman who was moving into a retirement village. The woman has 8 sons. Imagine how much food you’d have to preserve for 8 teenage boys. I guess that’s why the steriliser came with 120 size 27 jars. Now I don’t think I will use quite that many, although I do like the thought of a cupboard full of tomatoes, but I do intend to use some. Have I preserved any fruit yet this summer? Well except for some strawberry jam, err no, but when I do this is what I’ll start with.
Peaches – Fowlers – I grew up on peaches (and other fruits but most memorably peaches) preserved in Fowlers jars. For those outside Australia, Fowlers is the most used preserving system here. Unfortunately Fowlers Vacola are currently updating their website so I can’t include a link but essentially you bottle things in glass ‘Fowlers’ jars which are then sealed with a rubber ring topped with a metal lid. The lid is secured with a clip while you sterilise it in the Fowlers unit (either electric or stove top). Peaches fit nicely into the jars and they preserve well. I think clingstone peaches are best peach variety to preserve and the season has just started so they should be cheap enough to start soon.
Apricots – Jam – Apricots also preserve really well in Fowlers jars but I also love jam and in particular apricot jam (although plum jam is also a big favourite). I find summer fruits are really well suited to jam making. In fact the 5 fruits I have included here all make sensational jam. Jam gets eaten a lot in my house. On pancakes, mixed through yoghurt, spooned straight from the jar…you get the picture. As a result we get through a fair bit of jam so I try and make as much as I can over summer.
Berries – Frozen – Personally I love berries in their natural state best of all but if I do get a large amount at one time (like when we go to the pick your own farm) then I freeze them. My kids adore eating frozen berries and I have been known to eat a bowlful of frozen raspberries from time to time. The best thing you can do with frozen berries though is to make daiquiris. Is there any drink more delicious than a frozen strawberry daiquiri on a hot day? I think not! Can lead to headaches though……
Figs – Dried – A great many summer fruits lend themselves to drying. Personally I love dried apricots. Whenever I went to my grandmas as a child the first thing I would do was head to her pantry and raid her dried apricot jar. The dried apricots she bought, and the ones I love, aren’t as moist as the Turkish ones sold in Europe, they are the ones dried in Australia. They are more rubbery than the European ones and slightly sour. Frankly they are absolutely delicious. As are dried figs. Figs are one of my favourite summer fruits in that they are only available for a short time each year and then they are gone. Whilst I’ve never dried figs myself I buy them dried often and imagine that they would dry easily. Anyone tried it?
Plums - Vodka – My mum and dad have a plum tree and this year they managed to save a few fruit from the cockatoos and rosellas. I’m going up to get a bagful on Thursday. Many will be eaten fresh, Miss 6 is a big plum fan. Some will become jam and some will become Plum Vodka. Very Russian, very good!
So Top 5 summer fruits with Top 5 preserving methods – two top 5′s for the price of one this week. Next week I’ll continue with the preserving theme with the Top 5 summer vegetables and methods for preserving them. In the meantime I would love to know what fruits you have or plan to preserve in summer.