Riverford pickles + preserve blog from Anna Colquhoun

My name is Anna and I am a preserver.  Yes, it is an addiction, a bug which I hope you catch too.  If you do, you’ll understand why my shelves are five-deep with jars of translucent orange, yellow and purple jellies, assorted jams and pickles, maturing chutneys, berry vinegars, cordials, bottled stone fruits and slabs of quince ‘cheese’.  Through this blog and our new preserving kits we hope to inspire you to get preserving too.

Our first kit is the famous Watson cucumber pickle – something of a family heirloom.  Get it here, complete with everything you need including step-by-step instructions.  If you’re from America you might know it as ‘bread and butter pickles’.  Whatever you call it, it’s important to salt the veg first to draw out excess water which would otherwise dilute the vinegar.  Look out for the green tomato chutney kit next month, and check out my preserving guidance notes for the do’s and don’ts of sterilising and sealing jars and more.

A bit about me – I trained as a chef in San Francisco and now teach cooking classes and run a supper club in London, under the name Culinary Anthropologist.  I love making things from scratch – be it bread, pasta, ham or jam – and investigating the origins of ingredients and dishes and their journeys across the globe.  I’ve been a Riverford customer for years and I’m also part of the network of Riverford Cooks.  You’ll find us dotted across the country, running cooking classes, demonstrations, supper clubs and more.

Over the coming months I’ll be sharing some of my preserving tips and recipes and answering your queries.  If you’ve ever pondered turning your hand to preserving, now is the time.  Plums can be relied upon to make a delicious jam which sets easily.  Almost anything can be thrown into a slow-cooked chutney as long as there is enough vinegar and sugar to preserve it.  And now is the perfect time for piccalilli, one of my favourites.

Whether you’re an experienced or novice preserver, please let me know how it goes, ask me any questions and share your own tips by commenting on this blog below, writing on our Facebook page or sending a tweet to @Riverford with the hashtag #cooksquestion.  I do hope you catch my bug….

6 responses to “Riverford pickles + preserve blog from Anna Colquhoun

  1. Anna, looking forward to some recipes, especially piccallili. Lyn

  2. You say that plum jam sets easily – mine never does! I use 1:1 plums:sugar, with pectin. I’ve tried increasing the boiling time to as much as 1 hour, but it doesn’t help. Do I need more sugar, should I boil it less, any other ideas? Thanks!

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  5. hi,

    is there any class for jam making that you are doing in London?

    thank you !


  6. With an obese, diabetic population, it seems a shame organic providers, and organic chefs, don’t provide alternatives. There are jam products from France in main supermarkets, using no extra sugar or sweetener. Once, a fat woman farmer in Yorkshire started a range of products including lemon curd. It apparently won prizes, proving sugar-dodging can be done.

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