Some people don’t figure out what it is that they want to be when they are older until they’ve tried out an array of different jobs, but for Angharad Underwood of The Preservation Society, making preserves and chutneys is “in the blood.”
“I’m a farmer’s daughter and I’ve always loved using the seasonal glut to make preserves,” she explains.
After an invitation to the become a founding member of The Rudy Kitchen, a collection of farmers and producers, in 2010, she welcomed both the birth of her second child, as well as redundancy the following year.
Not many would welcome being made redundant, but for Angharad, it offered her an opportunity she couldn’t refuse. “I decided to take a huge leap of faith and follow my heart,” she says about setting up The Preservation Society, and she hasn’t looked back since!
Crop Swapping and Great Taste Awards
Working closely with local growers in Chepstow, Tintern and Abergavenny, Angharad works hard to produce some award winning and plain delicious creations.
She is proud of all her awards and still can’t believe she has to say ‘all’ when referring to them! “The True Taste 2012/13 was the first and came completely out of the blue,” she remarks as she only entered it for the feedback but walked away with bronze for her Ravishingly Raspberry Preserve. Her Buttery & Boozy Mincemeat and Candied Jalapeños were also nationally recognised this year at The Great Taste Awards, which was “mind blowing” for her.
But it is no surprise that her preserves go down so well when you consider the fresh network of producers she uses. A major part of making jams and preserves is something called SwapCrop; a forum made up of those with fruit and vegetable crops to spare, which they make available to those wishing to make preserves. It is this network that ensures The Preservation Society uses the “freshest and most delicious produce.”
Stocking fillers and Preciously Preserved Lemons
With Christmas fast approaching, Angharad’s products make the perfect stocking fillers and there’s a gift box for everyone. ‘Breakfast at Tifanny’s’ is designed for the jam and marmalade lovers, ‘Some Like it Hot Hot Hot,’ is for the chilli heads, and ‘Love Cheese’ is filled with chutneys, pickles and fruit cheeses.
If you fancied getting your preserve on and giving it a go for yourself, Angharad has kindly donated a recipe for her Preciously Preserved Lemon. “Preserving is easy,” she says, “it just takes a little bit of time that is so often hard to find.”
These preserved lemons are easier to make than your bed and are great to add to a tagine or a cous cous salad, blitzed together with chilli to drizzle over fish or you could even stick them under the skin of a chicken before roasting it.
To make two or three jars worth, all you will need is the following:
- 6 ripe, unwaxed lemons
- 150g Halen Mon sea salt (you can use other salt if you wanted)
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
Wash and rinse some jars with very hot water and put in the oven to sterilise for 40 minutes. While you’re at it, boil the lids for 5 minutes.
Wash and dry the lemons, squeeze the juice out of half of them and set aside.
Cut the lemons into quarters (top to bottom) and rub salt into all sides, packing them tightly into the sterilised jars. Add the peppercorns, coriander and bay leaves as you go.
Fill the jars to the top with lemon juice, seal with a vinegar proof lid and label.
Good things come to those who wait and with that in mind, you will need to leave them for 6 weeks until they are ready and raring to be added to a variety of meals to give a “lovely, intense, summery flavour all year round.”
Angharad warns about adding extra salt to the dish and instructs to keep them refrigerated once opened.
Have you tried any of The Preservation Society’s preserves or have you made your own? Let me know below or @thegrillandbarrel