Learning food preserving skills on subscription
Product review – a boxful of goodies to make your own ginger cordial
Rosemary Jameson is a master preserver from Rutland in the UK who is sharing her skills with the nation through a new range of subscription boxes. If you fancy an easy route into making jams and jellies, mustard and more, this could be the gift for you.
Rosie sent me the ginger cordial box to try out. This is one of the subscription box series.
What’s in the box?
There’s just about everything you need for the project. You do need your own equipment on the most part though – jug, bowl, large pan (as large as you can), a wooden spoon and a funnel are definites.
On the whole the ingredients are already weighed and packed mostly in clearly labelled brown paper bags. My box also included a very useful set of electronic scales – our house only has the brass weights and balancing scales and we’ve lost the smallest weight. This recipe didn’t actually need any scales as the ingredients were ready to go.
It was good to find that the box and ingredient wrappings were almost without exception recyclable, even down to the compostable bag holding the bottle lids.
Tip. Check the contents of the box more carefully than I did. Having read that I’d need to source the fresh ingredients, I added root ginger to my Tesco order and waited, only to find ginger was in the box, and what I actually needed was a lemon. Doh!
How does it work?
I chose this as a Sunday afternoon project, and it took a couple of hours from start to finish (not counting the cooling down and storing).
Instructions are short and simple, and very easy to follow. There’s definitely a feel of the relaxed and friendly Nigel Slater approach here, rather than the strict instructions you see in some recipes. And that’s all good as far as I’m concerned.
Tip. Find something more cheerful than Tess of the d’Urbervilles to listen to while you’re making the cordial. I fear I shall now forever associate my cordial with this hopeless story that I was forced to study at school. But I digress.
Rosie thoughtfully supplies smaller bottles to suit a smaller household. You can just bottle up the cordial and keep it in the fridge. But that won’t keep for long. So I was very pleased to find clear and simple instructions for preserving with a water bath. I used the bottom of my old pressure cooker, which was just the right size for nine bottles, leaving one to pop in the fridge and start using straight away.
Tip. It’s worth going onto the website and reading Rosie’s blog on water bath preserving. The instructions in the leaflet in the box were clear, but I learned a little more on the blog. As it was a first attempt I cannot be absolutely certain my bottles are effectively sealed.
I was a bit nervous about how this would taste. For one thing, I’ve never really tried anything made with ginger, other than spicy food which doesn’t really agree with me. For another, it had turned out dark brown, which isn’t the most appealing look.
That said, I tentatively tasted a little well-diluted cordial, and found it really refreshing. I can imagine a long glass with ice and something (not quite sure what yet) on a summer afternoon.
Rosie recommends a hot toddy. I’ve yet to explore that option, but if we get another winter before true spring, I’ll give it whirl.
Want to buy?
Rosie’s website isn’t the easiest to navigate. I kept finding myself falling down tunnels to interesting distractions such as blogs and recipes, but not being able to get back out again.
If you want to order products, you can find them hidden away within the LoveJars.co.uk site. Here you can order individual boxes for making mustard, elderflower cordial, jam and preserved herbs, as well as set up 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions. The subscription boxes are built around seasonal ingredients, so will come as a surprise, which could add to the entertainment.
Kit prices start at £19.99, and subscriptions at £80 for 3 months.
The ginger cordial box is available as part of the subscription service.
You can also buy subscriptions from the more generic subscription site uopen, where prices start at £25/box. More expensive, but easier to navigate!
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