Published 1 June 2020
As well as all the negative aspects of these strange times we are experiencing, I think there have also been some positive results in that many people are spending more time in the kitchen and learning to enjoy new skills!
My Nanna, who lived with us, was an inveterate pickle & jam maker and I used to come home from school for lunch to find the fragrance these jams & preserves wafting through the house! For a number of years I also made and sold preserves of all kinds and hosted some workshops here at Innisfree.
With our Farmers' Markets and orchard gate sales we have access to a good selection of ingredients up here and I thought you might like to share a recipe or two. I know capsicums are expensive, but even in the supermarket you can sometimes pick up "an odd bunch" which is reasonably priced.
2 Kg cooking apples
500gr red capsicums
250gr raisins (I have used a mixture of currants & sultanas)
3/4 cup sultanas
2 1/2 cups vinegar
500g brown sugar
1 TB salt
1 TB golden syrup
good pinch cayenne pepper
Peel, core and dice apples and slice capsicums and onions. Place all into a large saucepan with the dried fruits and vinegar. Stir over low heat, then add sugar, salt, syrup and stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat then simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours.
Turn into warm, sterile jars. When cold seal with wax, screw lids firmly in place.
This is excellent with cold meat or chicken, cheese etc.
When we had our series of Wwoofers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) with us over the years, I discovered they loved working to help prepare these preserves and I have many fond memories of sitting around my big old kitchen table as we chopped and chatted and laughed! I think a little bit of this joy went into every jar!!
I was delighted during a fairly bleak week to receive an evening call from a particularly beloved Italian Wwwoofer named Marina. She now has a 7-year old daughter and they had been confined to home for weeks because of the virus. We had a lovely 'catch-up' session!
I hope you are all keeping safe and well and that you will enjoy sharing a bit of family chat if you can coerce them into lending a helping hand as you cook
Catch Ann Creber on the The Good Life on 3MDR 97.1 FM