It's Jamtastic! 7 Easy Preserves To Make At Home

Mum and daughter create healthy homemade preserves, jam, pickle
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When cooking for the family, it can be easy for things to get left at the back of the fridge and before you know it, they've gone off.

Whether you're finding yourself with some extra food scraps or are looking for a fun new hobby, making your own homemade preserves is a fun and straightforward way to extend the life of your produce. From tasty jams that will go great in a roly-poly, to delicious pickled onion slices that will bring life to any salad or sandwich, there are so many ways you can get involved in making your own preserves from scratch.

Top Tip: These recipes are great for older kids and teens to make, but they require handling hot liquids on the stove, so we do recommend parental supervision where needed.

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Things To Know Before You Start:

-You must sterilise your jars beforehand to ensure that bacteria doesn't get in and cause your preserves to go bad. You can do this by washing the jars, placing them in the oven on its hottest setting for fifteen minutes, then adding the jam while the jars are still hot.

-To test whether jams are finished on the stove and ready to set, you can use the simple 'plate trick'. Simply take a cold plate, place a little jam on it, and pop in the fridge for two minutes. Then, take it out and test with your finger if it has set.

-If you have a particular herb or essence you think might go with the flavours, don't be shy and add it in! The fun of making preserves is you can be creative and infuse whatever flavours you enjoy.

-Make sure to label and date your jars, so you know how long to keep your preserves for.

Let's Get Jammin'

People have been making jam for hundreds of years, as it's a great way to preserve the sweetness of fresh fruit and enjoy it all year round. Making your own jam from scratch is much easier than it may seem, and once you've got the hang of the process, you can create your own recipes based on fruits of your choice. These homemade jam recipes use easy-to-find ingredients, and are super easy to follow.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam on Toast

Yummy Rhubarb Jam

Currently in season, rhubarb is the perfect flavour for a homemade jam you can serve with desserts, or just for something different to put in the kid's sandwiches!

For Your Rhubarb Jam You Will Need:

500g rhubarb, trimmed

1 lemon, juiced

350g granulated sugar

175ml cold water

Method: Place all your ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Then, add to a pot and bring it to boil, constantly stirring, for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and keep stirring regularly so that none of it sticks to the bottom of the pan. When the jam has cooked, remove the lemon halves, take the jam off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, divide between your jars and store for up to a year!

Homemade Hot Chilli Jam

Girls making hot chilli jam

This savoury jam recipe goes great with meats, in burgers, or just as a condiment with dinner. You can also easily adjust the heat by adding or reducing the number of chillies.

To Make Your Hot Chilli Jam You Will Need:

100g red chilli peppers, sliced and deseeded (or keep the seeds in if you like it extra spicy!)

3 red bell peppers, sliced into chunks

A thumb of ginger, chopped

4 garlic cloves

700g jam sugar

400ml cider vinegar

Method: Blend the chillies and peppers in a food processor until you have a paste. Add the paste, and all the other ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45-50 minutes. Taste, and adjust the flavour if necessary. When bubbling, remove from the heat and let cool for a while. Then distribute evenly among your jars.

It's Pickling Time

Mum and son making pickled preserves

If you love a bit of tangy flavour to add some excitement to your food, these simple homemade pickle preserves are a great way to use up extra produce and create some delicious additions to the pantry.

Easy Pickled Shallots

This tasty pickle idea doesn't take much time at all and is surprisingly easy to make.

For Your Pickled Shallots You Will Need:

5 shallots, thinly sliced

A pinch of sugar and salt

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

100ml white wine vinegar

100ml boiling water

Method: Place your shallots in a large sealable glass jar. Put the sugar, salt, vinegars and boiling water into a pan and bring to a boil. Then, pour over your shallots and give it some time to cool before sealing.

Top Tip: Top up the jar with extra shallots or vinegar mixture as and when, as the flavours will keep developing in the jar.

Zesty Lime Pickle

Great with Indian dishes, many of us buy this tasty lime pickle in jars from the supermarket. Why not get a little creative and whip up one of your own?

For Your Zesty Lime Pickle You Will Need:

12 limes

1 tsp chilli powder

200g sea salt

2 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp fennel seeds

200ml vegetable oil

1 tbsp mustard powder

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp turmeric

Method: Put the limes, quartered, in a jar and add the salt. Leave them sealed in a sunny place for a week. When they have gone brown, grind up all the seeds in either a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add all of the spices to the limes. Then heat the vegetable oil in a pan and cook the mustard seeds until they start to pop. Pour the oil over the limes and seal. Leave for a few days before enjoying.

Mint Pickled Cucumbers

Cucumbers ready to be made into preserves

This recipe is simple to make, and the ingredients are easy to source. It's also one of those preserves that is so versatile it can be used on sandwiches, burgers, salads, or even as a snack or side on its own!

For Your Pickled Mint Cucumbers You Will Need:

2 medium cucumbers, sliced

100ml water

300ml apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

A small bunch of mint leaves

Method: Heat the water, vinegar, and sugar in a pan until the sugar has melted. Remove from the heat, and leave to cool. Then, tear up the mint and mix it in, and add the cucumber. Distribute into jars and refrigerate until you're ready to serve!

Homemade Courgette Pickles

A refreshing and healthy addition to any meal, this tangy preserve will add lots of flavour to any number of recipes. It takes hardly any time to prepare and lasts for months.

For Your Homemade Courgette Pickles You Will Need:

2 large courgettes, cubed or sliced (they are extra crunchy when cubed!)

300ml cider vinegar

100ml water

75g caster sugar

3 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed.

Method: Add the vinegar, water and sugar to a pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Place the courgette into a sterilised jar. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the coriander seeds and pour over the courgette. Leave to cool, then seal and refrigerate before serving!

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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