We are passionate about making the most of the glorious fruits and vegetables from our own Market Garden and ensuring nothing goes to waste.

The time-honoured art of preserving gives us many tried-and-tested ways of extending the lives of these ingredients. Investing time to prepare simple yet effective preserving recipes means you will be able to enjoy them again and again throughout the seasonal calendar in a variety of ways.

Below are ideas for different ways to preserve the bounty of harvest.

INFUSING

 

Preserving in strong alcohol such as gin or vodka, oil, honey or vinegar is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to prolong the autumn bounty. All you need to do is pile your chosen fruits, herbs or flowers into a sterilised jar or bottle and cover with your chosen preserving medium.

♥ Fresh figs or autumn raspberries submerged in a jar of honey

♥ Balsamic or red wine vinegar infused with blackberries and star anise

Gin made with damsons or sloes, pricked to release their juices and with enough sugar to balance the bitter flavours

FERMENTING

A much-loved technique at the Cookery School, our jars of ferments adorn our shelves. But how does fermentation work? All fruit and vegetables contain beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus. When combined with other flavourful ingredients in an oxygen-free environment, lactobacillus will convert sugars into lactic acid. This in turn inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, thus acting as a preservative.

Winter spiced sauerkraut with red cabbage and beetroot

Green kimchi with chilli and lime

DRYING

An age-old and wonderfully simple technique, drying is a method of preserving not to be overlooked. Simply harness the warmth of the sun, a radiator, low oven or dehydrator to remove any moisture from your chosen ingredients.

♥ Dehydrate autumn mushrooms with finely chopped herbs (thyme and rosemary are good) in a warm, dry place for 4-5 days or bake in a low oven for 1 hour, turning often. Use as they are in risottos and casseroles, or grind to a coarse dust with a little seasoning to sprinkle over pasta or hearty stews with polenta

♥ Thinly sliced apples, pears or tomatoes – dry as they are

♥ Season sliced beetroot, carrots or aubergine before drying until crisp as a healthful snack, base for a canapé or a crunchy topping for salads