The art of preserving

In the lead up to Christmas this year, I was all a bit nostalgic, thinking about family and family traditions. In particular, I got to thinking about how my grandmothers used simple ingredients and the best seasonal produce to make sure the family had a year - round supply of jams, jellies, relishes and preserved fruits. 

Inspired by the preserving traditions that had been handed down through many generations - and combined with the lovely produce that was in season, I settled upon the idea of making a little hamper for each family member this Christmas. 

My Grandmother Fruit Picking in country NSW,  freshly picked mulberries, this years batch of mulberry jam.

I included some roasted peach chutney (a non negotiable must have on our family Christmas table), some French spiced salt, savoury roasted red pepper, green apple and chilli jams along with some sweet jams, such as Vanilla Apricot Jam (recipe below) - and a couple of jars of the Mulberry Jam (recipe above) I had made back in spring. 

2011 Christmas Hampers
Watching the "jam making" and "hamper packing" frenzy on Christmas eve, Mr K quietly made the comment that he was sure we would have survived the Great Depression with the jars that were stacking up! Nonetheless, I think the tradition of preserving is a great one - and a really nice way to stay connected to old family traditions. It is one "to do" item that I'll be adding to my new year resolution list and I'm looking forward to heading off to the country soon to get some hot tips from my lovely Aunts on the art of preserving.  

The old family general store in country NSW, this years vanilla apricot jam

I hope you all had a wonderful time over the holidays and I wish you all a belated Merry Christmas or Καλά Χριστούγεννα! 

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© Mulberry and Pomegranate
Maira Gall