Farmersgirl Kitchen

Wisdom for Home Preservers and Spiced Blackberry Jam

When autumn (fall) starts to creep in, it’s definitely time to start preserving the harvest from your garden or the hedgerows.  People have been preserving food since ancient times—evidence shows that Middle Eastern cultures were using the heat of the sun to dry their foods as early as 12,000 BC—for reasons of survival or culture or both. Fast forward to the present day, and preserving our food—perhaps home-grown, seasonal, local, organic, or free-range—is an essential and enjoyable part of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Wisdom for Home Preservers by Robin Ripley is a comprehensive guide to preserving in all sorts of different ways including bottling, freezing, drying, fermenting, salt curing and smoking and cold storage/root cellaring. This isn’t a cook book, there are no recipes, but it is full of really helpful tips which will help you get the most from your produce and answer any questions you might have.  Here are a few of the useful tips:

Tip 158: Pick the right bowls and pots for pickling
Avoid containers and utensils made of unlined copper, iron, zinc or brass when pickling.  These materials may react with acid and salt and can cloud or discolour your pickles.  For pots, pick such materials as stainless steel, heatproof glass or hard-anodised aluminium.

Tip 254: Set your freezer temperature to -18
Freezer temperatures settings should be set to -18 C (0 F) or lower.  Not all freezer settings are accurate, though, so get a freezer thermometer, available at supermarkets and kitchenware retailers, and regularly monitor the temperate and adjust the setting if needed.

Tip 279: Create your own herb meat rubs
With herbs rolling in from the garden by the basketful, don’t forget you can mix the match them to make unique and delicious rubs for meat and poultry.  For poultry, try combining dried lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper. For beef, try a combination of dried thyme, sage, marjoram, garlic and onion powders, pepper and salt. 

Garden and food writer ROBIN RIPLEY has been growing, cooking and preserving fresh food from her garden since moving to a small farm in rural Maryland 15 years ago. She is an enthusiastic experimenter of all things related to food, including bread and pastry baking, wine and cheese making, canning and preserving. She is co-author of Grocery Gardening and blogs about her gardening, preserving and made-from-scratch cooking projects at She also raises pet chickens, which she blogs about at Robin writes and talks regularly with groups about gardening, potager design and the importance and joy of supporting locally-grown and fresh foods. 

Wisdom for Home Preservers
Author: Robin Ripley
Publisher: Apple Press
Published: 4th September
RRP: £12.99

I have one copy of Wisdom for Home Preservers to give away (scroll down to the Rafflecopter widget to enter)

As a bonus I thought I’d share this recipe for Spiced Blackberry Jam with you.  The blackberries in our lane have been particularly good this year and it’s been so easy to collect  enough to make a few pots of jam. If you would like to make this jam, I found the recipe at ‘Putting up with the Turnbulls’ you can find it here: Spiced Blackberry Jam  it’s absolutely delicious, the spices are very subtle but enhance the flavour of the fruit.

I’m adding this recipe to the The Great British Blackberry Recipe Round Up, a Linky party which Karen at Lavender and Lovage and I are running throughout Blackberry season 2015.  Click through to the GBBR post for full details.  You will see that I used the photo from this post for the Linky badge!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Leave a Reply

    Emma Walters
    August 31, 2014

    i have just started growing lots of food & now have an allotment – yay! would love to start some pickling next year & going to grow lots of shallots & beetroot to try, just need the perfect book to help me now 😉

  2. Leave a Reply

    debbie finnerty
    August 31, 2014

    i love to make a plum jam/chutney my grandfather has a plum tree in his garden so always has so many left over so i snap them up 😉

  3. Leave a Reply

    Penny J
    August 31, 2014

    Jam. Or pickle. Or jam – LOL – I can't choose! Jam I think!

  4. Leave a Reply

    September 1, 2014

    Jam making. The book looks great. @millizilli

  5. Leave a Reply

    September 1, 2014

    I love jam making. It's so nice to make jam and give to friends.
    I really want to make the spiced blackberry jam x

  6. Leave a Reply

    September 1, 2014

    I love chutney and it would be great to.make some of my own!

  7. Leave a Reply

    September 1, 2014

    PS My other half makes jams and he would love the new suggestions in this book.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Stacey Melia
    September 2, 2014

    I make wine from our fruit…does that count?!?!

  9. Leave a Reply

    September 6, 2014

    I make jams, chutneys, cordials .. I love seeing my produce in jars in my cupboards

  10. Leave a Reply

    September 7, 2014

    i so want to get into i all, never tried before. we have a raised veggy plot in our garden which has spent this year establishing, hopefully we will get some decent crops next year, we also have a cherry tree and apple tree so hoping to have good hauls from them next year too. mine & OH's first place and with our young fa,ily were looking at doing as much our selves as possible. i need a bit of a hand though!

  11. Leave a Reply

    Heather Haigh
    September 10, 2014

    I've never tried preserving, apart from bunging it in the freezer, but I would like to.

  12. Leave a Reply

    September 10, 2014

    I have to agree with the majority here – jams and jellies 🙂

  13. Leave a Reply

    Liz Marriott
    September 10, 2014

    I bottle a lot but would love to learn about salting for veg…

  14. Leave a Reply

    September 11, 2014

    I really want to try and make a meat rub

  15. Leave a Reply

    Lynda Shrubb
    September 12, 2014

    Make jam and pickles but would love to have a go at making chutneys.Looks like a great book

  16. Leave a Reply

    September 12, 2014

    I love making chutney. I would love to try jam but have been scared to so far

  17. Leave a Reply

    September 12, 2014

    I enjoy making jams although I sometimes find jellies a bit tedious. I recently tried making damson ketchup & it turned out surprisingly well.

  18. Leave a Reply

    Kristy Brown
    September 12, 2014

    This is my first harvest this year so am looking at chutneys and jams which I have never done before – before I started growing food the only way to preserve it was to hide it from the tribe!

  19. Leave a Reply

    denise s
    September 13, 2014

    this year i have been bottling fruit , it looks so pretty! seeing the fruit in syrup

  20. Leave a Reply

    September 13, 2014

    Got to be making jams and jellies. Tastes soooooo amazing and lasts you all the year round 🙂 @LyndaBrown5

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