Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Daring Cooks Food Preservation Challenge

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation. Find out what I did and get my recipe for Spicy Haw and Apple Pleather after the jump.

To get me warmed up I jumped straight in with one of the challenge recipes (you can find them on the PDF here) The Bruschetta in a Jar was quick and easy to make from my few early balcony tomatoes and the already home dried oregano. One jar was sealed up good and proper, another left to sample. The sample was delicious and I'm sure I'll enjoy it even more come winter.
The main part of my tomato crop then came in and I was quick to the jars again to make Roasted Tomato Passata this time from Preserves. As well as home grown tomatoes it also has in it home grown rosemary and shallots so I'm especially proud of this batch. And with six (one had already been eaten by the time I took the picture!) jars that will give us a pizza every other month for a year. Just about our usual rate but given how delicious this is we'll have to wait and see!

I didn't really get chance to try much else because this summer wasn't made for rest. Between abseils and visits to Cornish rainforests I just had time to fit one more thing in. A perfect combination of the new season's apples and a plentiful foraging favourite.

Spicy Haw and Apple Pleather
(makes one sheet)

200g apples, chopped
200g haws
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of all spice
tablespoon of sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 60° C and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  2. Place the apples (pips, skin and all) and haws in a pan. Heat to medium. Give a quick mash and let it cook down into a thick purée. This should take around 40 mins, you may need to give another helpful mash or two to encourage it along.
  3. Remove from the heat. Set a sieve up over a large bowl and pour the mixture through it. Use a spoon to press the remaining mixture through the sieve until nothing more will go. Scrape the stuff on the underside of the sieve into the bowl. Discard everything left in the sieve.
  4. Give the purée a quick mix and taste. Add the sugar bit by bit tasting as you go. When it's sweet enough for you add the spices and mix in.
  5. Spread the mixture out onto the baking parchment, about 3mm thick, and put it into the oven.
  6. Cook for 8-12 hours to cook. Or something like that, don't worry if your timing different just cook it until the Pleather comes away from the parchment easily. We leave our oven on overnight.
  7. Put the Pleather on another piece of baking parchment, trim the edges and roll up. Slice the roll into bite size pieces.
It apparently stores for 4 months but I haven't tested that one myself. There are enough long jouries and camps in my life to need all that sugar as soon as I can get my hands on it!


  1. I would love to make my own fruit leather! I'd like to try your recipe, but I'm afraid I don't know what a haw is... or when to add it. :( Still, your recipes look lovely!

  2. Your bruschetta in a jar and tomato passata look so delicious. I will definitely try the recipe for the passata :)

  3. Well aren't I daft? The recipe now tells you when to add the haws. You put them in with the apples.

    Haws are the berries from a hawthorn tree small red and in abundance at this time of year.