Preserving fruits the sugar-free way

Two sugar-free recipes for preserving fruit.

The first, for green plums or apples, uses a layer of melted suet to seal the fruits from the air – a method commonly known as potting. We like the idea of boiling the fruits with kale leaf to them a lasting, vibrant green colour:

A method for potted plums or apples from the 18th century compilers of our The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A method for potted plums or apples from the 18th century compilers of our The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To Preserve Green Plumbs or Apples

Take the plumbs and pare them very thin and as you pare them, throw them into cold water, parings and all. Then put them in to scald and green them with a cale leaf. When they are green, take them of and let them coole, Then take the ordinary plumbs or apples and boyle them to mash and when they are all cold, take an earthern croc well scalded, and lay a layer of pulp and a layer plumbs till your pot is full. Then take rendred seuit and power on them so the will keep all the year.

Regency cookery writer Dr William Kitchiner has another method up his sleeve – in this case gently heating fruit in wide-mouthed bottles, and then sealing them with corks to create an effective vacuum:

Dr Kitchiner’s instructions for bottling fruit, as transcribed in The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Dr Kitchiner’s instructions for bottling fruit, as transcribed in The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Preserved Fruit Without Sugar

Take damsons &c when not too ripe, pick off the stalks and put them into wide mouthed bottles (put in only those that are whole). Shake them well down. Stop the bottles with new soft corks, not too tight. Set them in a very slow oven (nearly cold) four or five hours. When they begin to shrink in the bottles, it is a sure sign that the fruit is thoroughly warm. Take them out and, before they are cold, drive in the corks quite tight. Set them in a bottle rack or basket with the mouth down.

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