Conserving – A Longer Shelf Life

Conserving is another method of preserving food. It is similar to canning except the content is heated before being placed in the jar. You simply prepare a jam or a chutney as usual, and add it hot to the sterilised jar.

Turn the closed jar upside down onto its lid for about ten minutes and let it cool – this will push out any excess air and therefore create a vacuum. This vacuum should make the lid appear slightly indented. Now your conserved food can be stored in a cool, dark place for several months. 

FOOBY Tip FOOBY Tip

When filling up your jar with, for example, a cooked jam, be careful not to get the rim of the jar dirty. Be especially careful not to get any food remnants stuck in the screw thread between the lid and the jar, as they will spoil when they come into contact with air. A special filling funnel can make this process easier.

Conserving – Sterilising Jars

Thoroughly sterilised jars are essential for the longest possible shelf life:

Option 1:

  • Cook the jar and the lid for ten minutes in boiling water with a dash of vinegar
  • Leave them to dry on a kitchen towel

Option 2:

  • Bake the jar in the oven at 160°C for ten minutes
  • Leave the jar to cool slowly in the oven
  • Sterilise the lid in boiling water

It is important to only handle the sterilised jars with clean hands and utensils. Jars with an accompanying rubber band can only be used as long as they have the coinciding tension clips. The rubber bands must be sterilised before both conserving and canning by boiling them for a few minutes

Conserving – Jams

Jam is possibly the most typical example of conserved foods. To make your own jam at home, you simply need to cook the fruit of your choice with jam sugar, which contains pectin. The standard measures are one part fruit to one part sugar (1:1). You can also put in less sugar but this will shorten its shelf life. The sugar acts as a preserving agent – if you place twice the amount of fruit as sugar (2:1) the jam will keep for up to half a year. In order to extend its shelf life further, perhaps try freezing the jam.

Conserving – Sweet and Sour Chutney

A popular conserved product is chutney. The sweet and sour compote makes an excellent sauce for grilling especially, but also acts as the perfect injection of flavour to accompany many dishes. When it comes to making chutney, you can use both fruit and vegetables. Mango chutney, spiced with chilli and other oriental spices, is a wonderful fruity and spicy component to food – whether it’s grilled chicken or a vegetarian rice dish.

For a more savoury chutney, pumpkin combined with onions and herbs is a great addition to meals – even though the chutney contains no fruit, it still brings a certain sweetness to your plate. Just as chutney always needs sugar, it requires vinegar too. The two ingredients not only add some flavour but also ensure a long shelf life. Herbs and spices can be chosen according to your preferences. Garlic, ginger, Asian spices and cinnamon are commonly used in chutneys. 

Conserving – Alternative Options

Aside from jams and chutneys, there are many more options for applying your conserving method and for lengthening the shelf life of food:

  • Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and courgette are well suited to pickling. For this, prepare the vegetables with a hot mixture of water, vinegar and sugar.
  • Grilled peppers, aubergines and courgettes can be combined with whichever herbs you decide and some oil, and make the perfect antipasti.
  • The preparation of liqueur or syrup is also a form of conserving.

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