The preservation of food is quite a feature in rural French households. The saying “Waste not , want not” is still a cherished mantra for my friends and neighbours here.
If a pig is killed, every part of the animal is eaten. If a vegetable is cultivated it is either eating on ripening, or preserved in some way.
Bottling fruit and vegetables is not as popular in the UK, where vegetables, save tomatoes seem to be preserved via the freezer, if at all.
I remember cautiously asking my neighbour Paulette to help me with preserving some haricot verts, while voicing my reservations to her regarding safely and contamination at the same time.
She sniffed in her diffident manner, suggested I take a bottle of her beans, and if I died, there would be no need to show me how to preserve (or conserve as the French call it) anything. Fair point.
She showed me the ropes and in my first year here, I preserved asparagus, haricots verts, apricots, cherries, plums and tomatoes. Everything was a true success, and I gave it as gifts when visitng friends in the UK, much to everone’s delight.
Obviously, I did all the usual stuff too. Pickled shallots, chutneys, jams, and membrillo, also a big hit on the foodie gift front. I have previously posted on the shallots, which have to be rationed at Christmas time.
I have started a discussion on my Food Lover’s of France Group on the Survive France Network, where I hope we can talk through all the various methods of preserving, and offer out tips and advice as the produce comes to ripeness in our gardens or the market.
I found this today that is a good starting point for anyone starting bottling friut or vegetables for the first time.