Finished the marmalade? Put the pan away thinking 'that's it until the soft fruit.' Think again my little preserving gerbils.
Sprouts. Pickled. No, its not a joke. You pickle red cabbage, right? There are still some lovely sprouts around, so why not try this little recipe to ring the changes. I can't remember where I saw it - in a magazine at the Doctor's I expect, so I am really sorry if it's yours and I haven't credited you.
You will need:-
450g/1lb small tight sprouts
600ml/1 pint distilled malt vinegar ( I used cider as that was all that I had, and actually needed around 900ml/1.5 pints to fill the jars I had.
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices, to your taste
Firstly, get your hands on some sprouts, small and tight - we don't want those huge blowsey ones. Take off the outside leaves and put the sprouts into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and leave overnight to draw out the moisture.
Next day, rinse away the salt under cold running water and drain the sprouts well. Pack into sterilised jars.
Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a pan and bring up to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes then pour hot over the sprouts in the jars. Fill to the brim and seal tightly. Store out of direct light and it is best to use them within 2-3 months. Enjoy them with cold meats and cheeses.
Used the 284ml chutney for my sprouts.
BTW if you are hankering after making some marmalade I still have oranges - and will do for some time - they are now frozen but can be dispatched to you no problem.
Do you know, I love Christmas whether its quiet and relaxed or surrounded by noise and grandchildren but somewhere in the background I am always thinking about 'after'. That's after the decorations come down, after everyone has gone home, after the leftovers are used up, after the big clean up. In my case 'after' is focused on marmalade making - that stringent, refreshing smell all through the house, jars and jars filling up with all their golden goodness on display.
I have already ordered three whole boxes of Seville oranges from my supplier and as soon as they arrive I will freeze almost all of them, whole. I have used the same recipe all of my life and the oranges are cooked whole first, before cutting up. You can cook them from frozen if you want to - just increase the cooking time a little. The recipe will be going up on the website over Christmas so buy the oranges as soon as you see them in the shops. There is one harvest of oranges so it makes no sense to wait until later - it will be the same oranges. They may be slightly cheaper if you wait but the pectin level in the fruit, essential for a good set, will have dropped significantly. Not good.
The other thing that happens after Christmas, or in the New Year to be precise, the Annual Glass Price Hike. Now I can't do anything about this, it is what the industry does. There is no reaction to increases in the marketplace during the year and once a year everything evens out in a modest rise.
What I can do to help though, is to line up a real deal on a great jar for marmalade - complete with an orange cap. You can order at this great price - 39p each inc cap and Vat - through the holiday period for dispatch at the beginning of the year. We don't have an unlimited supply so if the jar suits you then make sure of yours. We have muslin, traditional labels and a modern take, and our pans are still on offer at £19.99 until Christmas Eve. (Makes a great Christmas present!)
Well my Preserving Peeps - wherever you are going to be and whatever you are going to do - have fun, be safe and enjoy a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful Preserving New Year Rx