Preserving is something I have loved doing ever since I can remember – I have memories as a very small person helping my Mother to make jars of jam ready for the Winter. I could only just see over the kitchen table but loved all the neat rows with their cellophane tops and labels.
I made my first chutney alone and unaided when I was about 11 years old – I don’t know what my Mother was thinking of – but I was delighted with the result and embarked upon trying out more recipes over the next few years.
Preserving has been a lifelong passion and I have enjoyed experimenting with creating my own recipes which is after all, the roots of preserving in the first place. Our ancestors used what they knew with what they had in order to extend the life of food that they farmed or foraged in order to feed their families, and to survive.
Nowadays, preserving can be more of an enjoyable hobby but is still an important means of making the most of what we grow or harvest or maybe find as bargains at the market. It makes a significant contribution to the family diet by adding nourishment, variety, and flavour to everyday meals. Nowadays, when we are all trying to make ends meet it is even more important to make sure we make the most of all that we can and prevent waste.
As well as being an Artisan producer, I teach preserving at The Old Smithy in Rutland, I write for magazines, am founder of The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers, give talks and demonstrations and consult for Jam Jar Shop Ltd. Most importantly I am married to Trev, have two children and am Nanny to Tom, Felix, Oscar, Charley and Samuel – Nanny’s Gang. Felix, in particular, refuses to eat ‘shop bought’ jam and his favourite is Nanny’s Apricot. He’s only four and I think it’s brilliant he can be so discerning and confident in his choices.
We run a series of courses aimed at the beginner and novice preserver, plus master classes for the more experienced. You can design your own day at The Old Smithy with our tailor made choice – just get a group of friends together and I will devise a day around your preferences.