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Conserving is the act of preserving nutritious ingredients in a jar
Conserving is a simple solution to making foods last longer. Whether as a jam, a compote or a chutney, simply add the ingredients into a jar straight after harvest.
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.
Thoroughly sterilised jars are essential for the longest possible shelf life:
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.
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.
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.
Aside from jams and chutneys, there are many more options for applying your conserving method and for lengthening the shelf life of food:
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