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A day of pickling and preserving

Last weekend the Red Stuff & Wild kitchen was a buzz of activity for the Preserving, Cordials and Liqueurs Workshop.

Introductions began over a glass of elderflower or blackcurrant cordial – created by Red Stuff & Wild chef Adam Clark of course. After a brief chat, it was on with the cooking – as there were an awful lot to get on with!

The day began with putting a lovely seasonal chutney together and leaving it on the stove to simmer nicely throughout the day. Fudge was next on the agenda made from a caramel with big pieces of pecan nut and Cornish sea salt to balance the sweetness.

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Then it was on to the main event – the preserves: strawberry jam, lemon and lime curd, gooseberry and elderflower jam and rhubarb jam, all cooked in batches together – so the small team were very busy keeping everything at the right temperature and consistency. During all this stirring, there was plenty of time to discuss all things preserving: different types of sugar, setting points, thermometers, refractor meters, even different types of jam jars and lids!

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As it was almost lunch time it was time to move on to drinks. The team made a deliciously sharp limoncello whilst Adam passed on his knowledge of making fruit cordials, lemonade and other flavoured alcohols such as slow gin and elderflower liqueurs.

Next was delicious Seville orange marmalade and the beginnings of the crumpet batter to taste all these delicious jams on. The morning session ended perfectly with a glass of bubbly elderflower champagne with a touch of rose petal syrup, before a well deserved lunch and a breather.

In the afternoon, after a quick recap and chance to admire the freshly decanted colourful jams in their jam jars, it was time for a bit of baking. You can’t have jam in Cornwall without scones, so a good number of buttery scones were put in the oven.

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It was then pickling time: creating traditional piccalilli and pickled onions, and more exotic pickled rock samphire, recently foraged from the Cornish shores – whilst discussing brining and different spiced and flavoured vinegars.

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Finally beautiful pink rhubarb cordial was bottled up and it was time to set the table for afternoon tea. All sat down triumphantly to a decadent array of fluffy scones, piping hot crumpets, and a selection of jams, curds and clotted cream – whilst deliberating over the obligatory jam or cream first debate.

The team then chose a few gifts of their hard labour to take home with them, along with a recipe pack so they could continue creating delicious treats at home.

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The whole day was full of good humour and fun and everyone left with an amazing sense of achievement fitting in so much preserving, pickling and baking in one day.

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If all this talk of preserving has tickled your taste buds, check out our events pages for the next preserving and bread making workshops.