Preserving & Pickling in a French Kitchen

Food in France can be expensive. Meat and fish in particular are a lot more than in the UK, but the quality is very high and in general you pay for what you get. Fresh fruit and vegetables are expensive but only if they are not in season or locally produced.

Our local market in Chalais has an ever changing set of producers who sell just one thing. And that thing is usually whats in season.Kiwi fruits seem to be the latest fruit, with us buying a kilo for €2 last week. Mushroom vendors are now starting to appear, but we have had Charantais melons early in the year, tomatoes and peppers about 6 weeks ago.

The french are very particular about what they buy, but they know a bargain and they also bulk buy when produce is in season. They eat what they can and then they set to work preserving & pickling what they can to see them through the winter months.

So when in Rome…..I decided that I would do the same, but also try and use some of the fruit and vegetable that cost nothing but a bit of time foraging and searching for them.

Our larder is now getting rather full.

We have Apple & Blackberry Jam made from foraged fruit

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Fig chutney…the figs were donated by some friends who have a fig tree in their garden but don’t like figs.

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Preserved lemons…these were bought from the supermarket, then preserved!! Tomatoes dried in the oven and preserved with oil

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Peppers…roasted in the oven, skins removed and preserved in a garlicky olive oil

Nettle & walnut pesto, which is miles better than the italian original and a fraction of the cost.

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Piccalilli, to go with the gammon joint we’ve got for Christmas.

I just need to think what we can do with all the Kiwi fruits we now have!!

 

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