With Christmas dinner looming over all home cooks, it’s an epic feeling to get ahead of the game and what better way to do that with some seriously delicious preserves!
These store cupboard beauties are perfect to make before the Christmas food rush hits home, as the longer they mature the better they taste! Here’s our guide to the best preserves to make this November.
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Mince pies are of course a Christmas must, but instead of getting yourself into a baking frenzy on Christmas Eve why not get it all prepared a month in advance? Mincemeat can keep for over two months, and the earlier you make it the sweeter and richer it will become.
The base of mincemeat is a selection of dried fruits, grated fresh fruit such as apple, spices and plenty of punchy brandy all boiled down together to create a thick, boozy filling that can then be jarred and kept until its time to spoon it into pastry. For a tangy twist on this classic check out Gordon Ramsey’s version crammed with festive, sour cranberries.
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Okay, it may not be a preserve as such, but we feel it’s important to remember that the humble Christmas pudding needs to be made right now! This dessert must-have is best prepared and steamed in November, as it can then be stored and left to mature for a delicious, deep spicy flavour. Much like mince pies, the base to Christmas pudding is dried fruit, spices, grated fresh fruit and booze. This classic combo is then stirred through a cake like mix and must steam for a few hours for that classic dark colour. For an easy recipe, check out baking queen Mary Berry’s Christmas Pudding.
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Chutney’s are a wonderful thing to make in preparation for Christmas, as they’re easy to make, keep well and are fantastic to crack out when the cheeseboard is laid out on the table. You can make them with any seasonal fruit and vegetables really, just make sure to add lots of warming spices for a festive kick.
Like a chutney… but not. The key to preserving fruits is to leave them either whole or in big chunks, resulting in delicious bites of sour sweet fruit in a gorgeous pickling liquor. Pears pickled with cinnamon work particularly well if you want to add a sweet kick to thick slices of Christmas ham, but for a solely sweet treat to use in baking or with a slab of cheese, you can’t go wrong with spiced preserved plums.
Yes that’s right, we’ve found a way to sneak some booze on the list! Limencello has to be made around this time of year for the sweet and sour flavours to develop into this smooth Italian tipple we all know and love. Simply made with sugar, lemon and vodka, this wonderful digestif can be made all the way up to the big day, and is guaranteed to impress your family and friends when served ice cold after that huge Christmas meal.