In my kitchen – preserves

A couple of weeks ago I spent considerable time preserving some of the glut crops I had been picking from the garden including mountains of cucumbers, kilos of zucchinis and piles of cherry tomatoes.  I shared this and some photos on Facebook and at the time promised to blog some of the recipes and then promptly put that on the back burner when life got a little crazy.  So here goes, some recipe for preserving the crops of summer gluts.

First up is my Grandmother’s cucumber pickles.  I’ve included this recipe on the blog some time ago, link here, but it is such a tasty recipe that I make it every year.  If you have a yearly glut of cucumbers pin or bookmark this recipe, you won’t regret it.  I can especially recommend this to be added to your ham and cheese toasties on the cool Autumn days we’ve been having lately, yum!


Next up was a new one to me and by the smell and look of it I think this will be another winner.  It’s a zucchini relish with red capsicum (I love the red specks through it).  This recipe was collected from my Aunt’s mother-in-law when she bought some to Christmas one year.

Zucchini Relish
1 kg zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons salt
1 onion, chopped
2 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
2 teaspoon turmeric
½ red pepper, grated
½ green pepper, grated
2 teaspoon cornflour

Sprinkle salt over zucchini, and barely cover with water.
Soak for 2 hours.
Drain water and place in a large saucepan.
Add onion, sugar, vinegar, spices and peppers.
Boil for ¾ – 1 hour.
Thicken with 2 teaspoons cornflour.
Bottle in sterilised jars and seal.


Next up was a Cherry Tomato and Sweet Chilli Jam which came out of a book called Gifts from the Kitchen by Annie Rigg.  I copied it from my friend’s copy of the book, but it looks like a great book if you’re interested in home made gift giving.

Cherry Tomato and Sweet Chilli Jam

2 onions
750g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 gloves garlic, crushed
2 large mild red chillis, deseeded (if you can be bothered) and finely chopped
5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
250ml white wine vinegar
300g soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce (or soy sauce if making for vegetarians) (or missed altogether if like me you missed the final step before bottling)

Peel and finely chop the onions (in the food processor if you’re lazy like me) and place in a saucepan with the tomatoes, garlic and ginger.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, dry saucepan over a low heat for 1 minute or util aromatic.  Remove from the pan then grind in a mortar and pestle.  Add to the saucepan with the vinegar and sugar.

Cook over a low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the leat to a simmer and continue to cook until the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency, stirring from time to time.  Add the fish sauce (or soy sauce) and cook for a further couple of minutes before spooning into small sterilized jars.  Seal while hot and allow to cool completely before labeling and storing.


The last one was a spiced plum sauce which I think is a Donna Hay recipe but was sent to me by the same friend that that gave me the cherry tomato recipe above.  I actually only made a third of this as I only had 500g of plums, it was very easy to reduce.

Spiced Plum Sauce

1 1/2 kg plums
2 red onions, roughly chopped
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups malt vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
pinch ground cloves

Place the plums, onion, sugar, vinegar, pepper, chilli, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until plum flash falls of the pip.  Strain through a fine sieve to remove pips.  Store in airtight jars in the fridge.  Makes 6 1/2 cups.


It seemed like a lot of preserving to do in a week, mostly all in one day, but it’s stocked my preserves cupboard up nicely.  A batch of green tomato pickles in the next couple of weeks will finish it off nicely for this season I think.


Now it’s sharing time, what’s your favourite recipe for preserving your garden gluts?

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9 Responses to In my kitchen – preserves

  1. Lorna says:

    Those pickles sound delicious, I love making chutneys and jams, there is something about filling my pantry with homemade goodies that is so very satisfying. I am bookmarking this page for september when my fruit and veggies are all ripe. Thank you for the great recipes.

  2. andreamynard says:

    What a wonderful stock of preserves you now have – very efficient work in one day! Great recipes, really fancy trying the Annie Rigg sweet chilli jam.

  3. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, it is just wonderful to take something from the garden and turn it into delicious condiments to enjoy for the rest of the year – makes the hard work worthwhile, and of course, you control the ingredients. I make all our jam, not necessarily from our own produce, but from that given to me, and all our relishes, pickles and tomato sauce (for sausages etc.) Like you, I just love to open my cupboard and see it all displayed inside. Neal is the tomato sauce maker – I am only allowed to be the assistant, and helper in the cleaning up process, he takes great pride in his product, and for the sauce we buy tomatoes as we need such a large quantity – our mutual friends are some of the beneficiaries of our hard work. One thing I do with the glut of zucchinis is to grate them, one at a time, and seal each amount in a ziplock bag, flatten it out, and freeze for the inevitable zucchini slice later in the year – this way I don’t have to buy the zucchini at least, and I don’t have to look for something to do with the overflow. I have enclosed a recipe I use for picy Tomato Relish – thought you might like this one and to share with others, over the years I have narrowed down my preserves to the ones we actually really love and this is one of them. I have taken note of your lovely plum recipe and will certainly give it a try.
    Spicy Tomato Relish
    1.5kg tomatoes, roughly chopped (do not peel)
    4 onions, finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons salt
    500g sugar
    2 teaspoons ground allspice
    3 cups white vinegar/cider vinegar plus 1/3 cup extra to mix spices to a paste
    1 tablespoon dry mustard
    2 teaspoons curry powder
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    6 tablespoons cornflour

    Mix tomatoes in a bowl with the onion, garlic and salt. Stir and leave for 1 hour. Drain and discard liquid. Put the tomato mix in saucepan with sugar, allspice and vinegar, simmer gently for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until mixture is reduced by half. Mix mustard, curry powder, cayenne and cornflour with the extra vinegar to make a thin paste and stir into the relish. Cook another 5 minutes or until relish is thick. Put into war, sterilised jars and cool before sealing.

    Our mutual friends had me make this with their tomatoes and then I gave the finished product back to them, so you can ask them how it tastes. Hope you enjoy your bounty Barbara, it is so satisfying!!! Will eventually teach our friend the finer points of this when she has somewhere to store it all.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks for sharing Jenny, that recipe sounds great. I’ll put it on the list for next year. The plum sauce makes the best marinade – I add it to some chicken wings or drumstick then baked them slowly. It’s such an easy dinner that the girls love. I serve it with fried rice or just some stemmed veggies.

  4. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, again, sorry to hijack your blog, but had a thought about a little something I do to use up a little of my mint, and thought you and your followers might like to try. It is good old-fashioned home made mint jelly, and it is so easy.
    Mint Jelly
    Dissolve one packet of lime jelly (any brand) in one cup of boiling water, add one cup of white vinegar and half a cup of chopped fresh mint. Stir occasionally during the setting process to spread the mint evenly through the jelly, then leave to set firmly in the refrigerator. I use a large jar to mix it in. It keeps well for ages if refrigerated, and is delicious on roast lamb. Just thought that not everybody has access to loads of product to make things with, but a lot of people keep a few herbs so they too can provide their own condiments in some way. Now, back to the housework!!!

  5. My favourite preserving would likely be tomato sauce. My nanna made great sauce and although I used purchased tomatoes it was a lovely way to think on and remember my nanna who had passed away that week. Other than that I just love bottling anything at al. I’m not one for chutneys and pickles particularly (they involve tweaking when we are sugar free) but bottling tomatoes, apples, peaches, nectarines, anyting at all. 🙂 As for bottling glut, no major gluts from the garden except the cherry tomatoes and a few zukes which become rattatouille and the wild apples I’ve picked which become apple juice. 🙂

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