Tag Archives | preserve

pear mince pies

pear mince pies

Making my own fruit mince for mince pies has been on my food bucket list for so many years I couldn’t let another Christmas go by without giving it a go. As with all things home-made the outcome was predictable with this mince being so superior to commercial fruit mince I will never buy it again. I love how it includes pears which softens the mix slightly, but all the spice and flavour remains intact..

pear mince pies in the making

The recipe comes from The Ball Blue Book, Guide to Preserving which I have now read cover to cover. It really is the most comprehnesive preserving book filled with delicious recipes. It includes chapters on all types of preserving from water bath (which are the recipes I have done so far on Drizzle and Dip), pressure cooker preserving, freezing and even dehydrating. I’m thrilled that I’m learning the craft of preserving properly and feel confident working with such a high quality product as Ball and knowing that my food will last for at least a year in my cupboard.

How to make pear fruit mince

The fruit mince is easy to do once you have been though the pear chopping process – which is a little laborious, and this recipe makes three and half half pint jars of fruit mince. That half extra half jar is enough mix up a batch of mince pies. Continue Reading →


kumquat marmalade with star anise


I spotted the kumquats at Fruit & Veg City, and at R10 (around a dollar) a bag it was a no brainer.  I have never made anything with kumquats so I felt inspired to get up close and personal with this fairly unusual fruit.

Jam was the obvious choice, and having recently made oranges preserved in brandy with star anise and cinnamon and simply loving the flavour, I thought to carry these spices into the jam, but a little more subtly. Continue Reading →


quick apricot jam

the ingredients

My paternal grandmother Betty used to make the most incredible apricot jam and I remember the delight I felt as a child finding a more-or-less whole apricot in the jam, and then squishing this on my toast.

I started making apricot jam about 10 years ago and bottled these under the name ‘Sam’s jams’.  The friends and family were pleased, but oh what a mission it was to do. I would make about 10 kg’s at a time and boil multiple pots on the stove for hours unable to leave my flat. Due to the scale of the project, I have not made jam since those vintages of 1999 and 2000.

I really do love the concept of preserving, so when I found myself with a massive amount of the most beautiful imported and out of season strawberries after an international TV shoot, there was no way I was not going to convert these treasures into something longer lasting.

I came across a recipe for ‘small batch’ strawberry jam on YouTube and what a win it was.  It takes about 20 minutes to make and produces a jam that is so much about the fruit and less about the sugar.  I love it.

I followed the recipe using apricots the other night and it worked out perfectly. It’s so easy. I’m planning on buying a little extra fruit each time this summer and making up a quick batch to bottle and give away as gifts.


  • 3 cups apricots quartered (about 600gms)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

to make:

  • put all ingredients in a wide shallow pan/ pot on high and cook for about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • the wider the better as this facilitates quick evaporation and thus quicker jammification
  • to test if the jam is ready, freeze a side plate for 5 minutes. Drop a dolop of jam on the cold plate. Run your finger through the middle. if the jam stays apart and doesn’t immediately join back together, its jammy enough.
  • at the same time boil the storage jars in a large pot of water – remove and drain
  • scoop the hot jam into the jars and seal
  • pop the sealed jars back into the boiling water for 10 minutes (this gets rid of any bacteria etc)
  • remove from the pot, drain and allow to cool

bubbling in the pan

…..I couldn’t wait,  so I scraped the pan down and spread on a toasted whole-wheat crumpet. So delicious, quite tart, not too sweet.

I still may go back to making apricot jam the way my grandmother did if only to find the whole apricot again.

bottled and ready for gifting


Other quick jams you might like:

The best 8-minute strawberry jam (video)

Quick strawberry jam with Pimms, ginger and balsamic

red pepper and chili jam





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