The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


You can buy a pressure canner in the UK!

Posted in Kitchen equipment, Preserving, Save Money | 48 comments

You can buy a pressure canner in the UK!

I’d been thinking about importing a pressure canner from America for some time. I already bottle/can fruit and tomatoes each year but a pressure canner would enable us to bottle lots of other home grown vegetables for use during the winter. And of course the thought of being able to can spaghetti sauce, cassolet, confit of duck, patès and pesto to name but a few delicacies would be amazing. No need to pay electricty for freezer space, everything nicely on view on our shelves. Water bath canning and the oven method takes some time and is...

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How to make your own bacon at home without a smoker : our new delicious sweetcure recipe

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Preserving | 10 comments

How to make your own bacon at home without a smoker : our new delicious sweetcure  recipe

  If you haven’t tried curing your own bacon at home, please give it a go. It’s so easy. You will be eating superb bacon for a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest, nastiest tasting unhappy pig bacon available.  You can also control the levels of salt – Danny has high blood pressure so commercially produced bacon is a bit of a no no. And unless you inject your bacon with preservatives, you will get no white residue to alarm you. With homemade bacon at the helm you can actually Make Friends and Influence People without having to...

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Seville Orange marmalade and liqueur recipes

Posted in Liqueurs, Preserving | 20 comments

Seville Orange marmalade and liqueur recipes

  I picked up The Contessa from the vet’s this morning. She’d been staying with them for a day and a night as they carried out a blood sugar curve test. She was diagnosed with diabetes last year and is doing pretty well but recently she has lost a lot of weight and her diabetes needs to be stabilised. The daily injections are not the gruelling trial that I thought they would be. In fact, a kind reader suggested that we give her a tiny treat after the injection and that has worked well. Immediately she spots the syringe she starts to dance...

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Two easy apple sauce recipes

Posted in Preserving, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Save Money, Vegetarian | 23 comments

Two easy apple sauce recipes

  Apple sauce is so easy to make and it’s versatile too. Fabulous with pork, duck or goose it can also be added to cakes, pastries, used in crumbles and as a topping for cereals or yoghurt. Here are two apple sauce recipes. One making apple sauce from scratch and the other using leftover apple must from making jelly. Way back I would have chucked the apple must but now we are trying to use everything that comes our way and it’s fun. There’s a word of warning though if you are an apple sauce making virgin. Having made your own apple...

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Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

Posted in Christmas, Jam Jelly and Preserves, Preserving, Vegetarian | 20 comments

Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

  Unless you already make pickled onions, let me share a secret. Pickled onions are ridiculously easy to make! They are great Christmas or anytime presents, especially if you use a decent quality vinegar. Poor old Danny’s acid tum can’t take malt vinegar so I always make a couple of jars for him every year using white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t posted my recipe until someone emailed me asking for one. This chutney is based on Oded Schwartz’s method from his superb book Preserving. I’ve added...

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How to hot water bath tomatoes: canning/bottling

Posted in Preserving, Vegetarian | 18 comments

How to hot water bath tomatoes: canning/bottling

  I’ve been bottling tomatoes like a woman possessed. This might seem strange as tinned tomatoes can be so cheap if you know where to go. But these are our own organic tomatoes, they are sweeter than the tinned ones and once made they sit in the barn waiting to be added to dishes until our first tomatoes ripen the next summer. Last year I bottled whole tomatoes and passata. Once we discovered that Bloody Marys made with homemade passata were to die for, we used up our winter supply within a couple of months. Danny was dead keen for me to...

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What is the setting point for jam and jelly?

Posted in Featured, Jam Jelly and Preserves, Kitchen equipment, Preserving, Reviews | 36 comments

What is the setting point for jam and jelly?

Earlier this summer I decided to use my jam thermometer to help me find the setting point of jam. To my delight I noticed that it was marked ‘JAM’ at 105°c/220°f. “This is going to be so easy.” I thought. “No more trailing back and forth to the fridge waiting for a tardy batch to set.” Danny had bought me a 9 litre Maslin pan and this was the day it was christened. Up until then I had been using a very large non stick saucepan. So I clipped the thermometer to the side of the pan and feeling like a pro started to boil...

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Green bullace jam recipe

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves, Preserving | 14 comments

Green bullace jam recipe

  If you missed the greengages a few weeks ago don’t panic. The wild greengages (green bullaces) are ready to pick now. These are not green cherry plums, which will now be yellow through to deep red when ripe. Green bullaces are green, fall into your hands when you touch them and taste just like a a mini version of our modern greengage. They are the tiny ancient ancestors of our cultivated greengages. I like to imagine cave families going out to forage for them. Now, as way back then, they are free. For years I’ve visited a small stretch...

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