Simple Preserves and Chutneys

With Christmas fast approaching, there’s nothing better than your own home-produced preserves, jams, pickles and chutneys - it’s such a marvellous way to capture the full flavour of your home grown produce and far surpasses anything you can ever buy in a supermarket and not only that, they can make wonderful and welcome christmas gifts.

Making preserves is not as complicated as it may first seem. You will need only basic equipment for the traditional recipes below. All the essentials are listed, from the heavy-duty, stainless steel Maslin or Preserving Pan (good quality is essential to avoid burning), to the glass jars in which to store the finished preserve. Our Jam Making Bundle is a great value kit providing all the basic equipment to get you started. 

Presentation is important, especially if you are giving your produce as a gift, so make sure you have the necessary items to seal and label your jars. The Sealing and Labelling Accessories Kit is ideal with fabric covers and adds a pretty touch.

Here are three easy recipes to start with:



  • 1Kg Plums, damsons or damson plums
  • 520g Granulated sugar
  • 350 ml Red wine vinegar
  • ¼ Teaspoon each of cloves, coriander seeds and allspice
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 10g Fresh ginger

Equipment: Maslin pan, large or small preserving jars, and a jam funnel.

Method: Wipe and prick the fruit with a fine knitting needle and place in the preserving pan. Then place the sugar in a small vegetable pan, add the red wine vinegar and the cloves, coriander seeds and allspice, the cinnamon stick and grated fresh ginger. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 5 minutes; pour over the fruit, bring back to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Leave covered until cool, then pack fruit into warm jars. Boil the remaining liquid until reduced and syrupy then pour over the fruit. Seal when cold.


(a recipe given me by my grandmother’s cook in the early 1970's, though its origins are much earlier).


  • 225g Marrow (skin on)
  • 225g Cucumber (skin on)
  • 225g Onions
  • 25g Salt
  • 225ml Malt vinegar
  • 225g Demerara sugar
  • 125g Sultanas
  • 25g Pickling spice (in a bag)

Equipment: Maslin pan, large or small preserving jars, and a jam funnel as before, plus a muslin square to hold the spice.

Method: Take the marrow, cucumber and peeled onions, and cut into small pieces. Sprinkle with salt; cover with a cloth and leave overnight. Next day, boil the malt vinegar, sultanas, demerara sugar with the pickling spice in a bag. Then add the vegetables, drained, rinsed and dried; bring back to the boil, then bottle.

(or No Cook Pan Yan Pickle)


  • 450g Bramley apples
  • 450g Dates
  • 450g Sultanas
  • 450g Soft brown sugar
  • 425ml Malt vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder or to taste (more but not less)

Equipment: Large bowl (not plastic), large or small preserving jars, and a jam funnel.

Method: Dice all the ingredients and place in bowl, mix well and cover.
Leave for 24 hours then bottle in sterilised bottles. The longer you keep it, the better it gets but leave for at least 2 weeks.