Of course I can...

U.S. War Food Administration poster 1944

Preserving is not quite the same thing as storing. Where storing is a means of keeping fresh produce, preserving is a means by which you change the fresh produce into something else, something that will keep for much much longer. It’s for this reason that preserving used to be hugely important. Before shops were able to import produce long out of season in their own climate, if you wanted any summer crop past November it meant drying it, bottling it, pickling it, chutneying it or turning it into jam in August.

We’re not just talking about rationing here. Fridges weren’t common in homes until the 1930s and freezers didn’t start to appear in homes until 1945, so imagine how difficult it was keep anything for longer than a few days. But once it was sealed tightly in a jar, you could safely add that flavour to your food for months to come.

It’s hard to stop yourself buying strawberries in winter when they seem to be available everywhere, and jam doesn’t exactly fill the gap left by those glorious summer fruits. But to attempt to be self-sufficient is to attempt to live a seasonal life and while that may feel like a sacrifice, it’s a low-impact, low-cost way of living.

> Jam

> Extracts & Essences

> Sterilizing jars