My passion for preserving started by accident 30 years ago when I was presented with 180kg of Early Prolific Plums, the crop from one tree in our cottage garden in Worcestershire. Bountiful harvests of damsons, apples as well as other fruit and vegetables sparked a life-long interest in making jams, jellies, marmalades, vinegar preserves and liqueurs. Women’s Institute courses in Preservation and Judging equipped me with the skills to judge, enter and win competitions.
In January 2008, I read an article by Dan Lepard about The Marmalade Awards. A photo of a previous winner encouraged me to enter. My Seville orange marmalade won its class and “Best of the Best”. Other competition success has followed, notably Fortnum and Mason’s Chutney Challenge in 2012 and the Westmorland Damson Association Jam Competition in April 2014.
When I first started preserving, sources for recipes were limited to a few books and magazines as the Internet did not exist. In 2011 I self-published First Preserves, the book I wanted back in the early days. It is a practical, beautifully illustrated, step-by-step guide to making traditional preserves with authentic recipes. I have recently published two ebooks for Kindle, Marmalades: Make & Bake and Fruit Curds: Make and Bake, they continue my theme of providing step-by-step guides to making traditional preserves with authentic recipes. The sections with recipes for baking with marmalades and curds provides inspiration for further experimentation with flavours and recipes.