Mangoes in October, figs in February and strawberries in May—you can have your favourite seasonal fruits and eat them too all year round by making preserves out of them.
“Fruits have natural jellifying agents like pectin and are acidic, because of which they can be preserved. If you have sterilized the bottle, you can store the preserves for three-six months,” says chef Pooja Dhingra of Le 15 Patisserie, Mumbai. Chef Prabhakar Pagadala of Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai, suggests refrigerating the preserves at 5-6 degrees Celsius. “The sugar prevents bacteria,” he adds.
Pears in mustard syrup. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Use conserves, syrups, jams, marmalade and fruit butter in different ways. Have them as bread spreads, along with croissants or cakes, chopped fruits with fresh cream or ice cream, as topping for milkshakes or on tarts. We got recipes of fruit preserves that don’t use any artificial preservatives and are easy to make at home.
Pears in mustard syrup
Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee, Indigo Deli, Mumbai
1kg fresh pears
100g mustard grain
60ml red wine or white wine vinegar
2 pieces star anise
1 stick cinnamon
A sprig of rosemary (optional)
Peel the pears and immerse them in water, with some lemon juice added to prevent oxidization, and keep aside. Put sugar in a pan, add an equal quantity of water and cook on slow flame. Stir the sugar and regularly skim the surface for any impurities that float to the top. Add a wedge of lime to the pan while cooking the syrup. When the mixture reaches syrup consistency, take it off the flame and keep aside to cool.
Broil the mustard, then place in a bowl, add vinegar and soak for half an hour. Then run it in a grinder to form a paste. Cut the pears into wedges and poach them in the sugar syrup. When the pears are tender, keep them aside to cool. Now, add mustard to the mix and stir. Pour the mix and the pears into a glass jar, add star anise and cinnamon.
Chef Pooja Dhingra, Le 15 Patisserie
100g soft butter
2 tbsp icing sugar
50g fresh strawberries
Wash, hull and chop the strawberries. Purée them in a mixer and keep aside. In a small bowl, beat together the butter, icing sugar and strawberry purée until soft and creamy. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Chef Prabhakar Pagadala, Courtyard by Marriott
800g fresh figs
1 tsp baking soda (optional)
450g caster sugar
1/2 piece of lemon
In a large cooking utensil, place the figs and sprinkle baking soda to prevent the fruit from turning dark in colour. Pour boiling water over the figs and soak for an hour. Now, drain the figs and rinse thoroughly with cold water. In a large cooking utensil, combine the sugar and 250ml of water, bring to boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the figs and lemon slice to the syrup in a bowl and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. When it cools, transfer the mix into a glass bottle and refrigerate.
Organic apricots in syrup infused with vanilla
Ayesha Grewal, The Altitude Store, New Delhi
12 organic apricots
1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp lemon juice
Wash the apricots and pat them dry. Cut them in half and remove the seed and place the cut fruit in a jar. Add water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the vanilla bean, slit lengthwise and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Pour the syrup over the apricot halves in the jar, leaving 1/4-inch of free space. Close the lid and place the jar in a water bath (a bowl of lukewarm water in which the jar is immersed) for 25 minutes. Remove and refrigerate after the bottle has cooled.