Saturday 25th July marks National Preserving Week, a whole week of events designed to get people preserving their own food and to encourage those who have the skills to make delicious preserves to take some time to help those that don’t. This is equally important to elderly people who may be struggling during these times of lockdown. From jams to chutneys, preserving can be a wonderfully rewarding hobby.
The Stay at Home Jam Festival is one of the key events for National Preserving Awareness Week, a tasty festival with competitions and family fun to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Rosie, the founder of Rosie Makes Jam and Love Jars, has a life-long passion for jam-making and in the last few years has worked tirelessly to make it an accessible skill to be passed down through the generations.
Rosie will be leading jam-making sessions throughout the week and encouraging everyone who makes jam during this time to send in their totals to be added to the “Jamometer”. Artists, artisans, musicians, bakers, makers and poets can all get involved and the festival will culminate in a virtual summer fair, with competitions and prizes to be won. This virtual event will take place on Facebook from 25th July to 2nd August. Visit her Preserve It! group here.
As part of the Stay at Home Jam Festival, Rosie is also launching Swap Crop, to encourage people who have excess fruit or vegetables to swap with neighbours using the hashtag #SwapCrop or by posting in her Facebook group, Preserve It! A wonderful initiative we can all get on board with.
In celebration of National Preserving Awareness Week, we’ve got two brilliant recipes to encourage you to get involved with making and baking to celebrate the fruits in season and this wonderful artisan craft.
Strawberries are in season from late May through to September, but the strawberry picking season varies from farm to farm and depends on the weather. Make the most of deliciously sweet strawberries in season and try your hand at creating a homemade strawberry jam. Our resident foodie, Lucy, has shared her families scrumptious and easy-to-follow jam recipe below.
Lucy’s Strawberry Jam Recipe
- 1kg fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and dried
- 1 lemon juice only
- 1kg jam sugar
- Put the strawberries and lemon juice into a large pan and heat for a few minutes to soften, add the sugar and stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Once dissolved and the liquid is clear, boil steadily for about 5/6 minutes, or until at setting point. (To test if the jam is at setting point, spoon a little onto a cold plate, leave for a minute and then push the jam with your finger. If the jam crinkles and separates without flooding back, setting point has been reached).
- Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Spoon into sterilised jars, label and seal with wax paper and a lid.
Harry’s Lemon Polenta Cake
Our Managing Director, Harry enjoyed baking during lockdown with a keen favourite being this delicious lemon polenta cake from baking extraordinaire Nigella Lawson.
“My favourite cake during lockdown has been Nigella’s Lemon Polenta Cake. Sometimes I mix it up and swap out the lemons for Grapefruit. If you use a grapefruit, my advice would be not to use quite so much icing sugar and use all the grapefruit juice! I like to serve it with vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche. Cherries are an optional extra!”
For the cake:
- 200 grams soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 200 grams ground almonds
- 100 grams fine polenta (or cornmeal)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder (see NOTE below)
- 3 large eggs
- zest of 2 lemons (save juice for syrup)
For the syrup:
- juice of 2 lemons
- 125 grams icing sugar
- Line the base of a 23cm / 9inch springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/ 350°F.
- Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or using a freestanding mixer.
- Mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
- Finally, beat in the lemon zest and pour, spoon or scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
- It may seem wibbly but, if the cake is cooked, a cake tester should come out cleanish and, most significantly, the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin. remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin.
- Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan.
- Once the icing sugar’s dissolved into the juice, you’re done.
- Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester (a skewer would be too destructive), pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its tin.
We’d love to hear if you try any of the recipes we’ve mentioned and if you’re taking part in National Preserving Awareness Week, please feel free to share with us on email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on social @stevalcandles.