Preserving fruit from my trees

We have 4 fruit trees in our garden which are incrediably abundant. Last year they gave us a fab crop, but I was feeling rubbish while being pregnant and running around after a nearly 1year old, so most of the produce was either lost or given away.

But this year I want to make the most of what we have. We should have lots of cherries, plums, apples and pears, if the buds on the trees are anything to go by.

I want to preserve what we have either to use ourselves or to give away as gifts. I can freeze the fruit for crumbles, but that gets a little old after a while. I've been doing that for years and besides, freezer space is at a premium. So I thought I'd do a little research on the web into preserving and now I am so confused. Most of the forums and sites are either American (which have different measures to us in the UK) or they don't have quantities at all. Like 'put cherries into a jar, cover each layer with sugar and then top up with brandy'. How full should the jar be of cherries? How much sugar in each layer? Do you fill the rest of the jar up with brandy? Perhaps to an experienced preserver, this makes sense, but to a novice, its all a bit vague.

I looked on Amazon to see if I could get a book to help, but again, no such luck. There are lots of books on preserving stuff, but only to make chutneys and jellies etc. Which is what I want to do, but I also want to make other stuff.

Perhaps I should just google 'preserving for beginners' or something.

Anyway, if any of you can point me in the direction of some good recipies, forums, websites or books that will help me in my cause, I would be most grateful!


Val said…
I can't help you on the measurements front, as I'm one of those Americans who uses the English system, which I find amusing, since the English don't even use it! I would recommend a food dehydrator - or you can simply dry things by baking them in the oven for a long time at a low temperature. Thus you've made your own dried cherries and dried plums (prunes). I tend to preserve my apples in the form of applesauce, which can easily be canned.

I've used this website in the past for pie filling recipes...canned pie fillings are great, because they allow you to quickly and easily whip up a homemade dessert for unexpected guests. Again, though, you'll have to convert to metric.

I've also found some good recipes and basic canning instructions in this book. If I remember correctly (I'll try to remember to check tonight when I'm home!), it does have conversions in it.

Good luck!
Di said…
Thanks Val, much appreciated :)