Preserve, jam and pálinka

Zesty fruits are part of the summer, but it is worth preserving them so that you can avoid thinking of them with nostalgia in winter. We are going to get into the story of fruit preserving and jam making among preservation methods. As a matter of curiosity, the science of jam making is at least as ancient as brewing. You can easily access to recipes as well, because our collection contains a cookbook or rather an electuary book, and you can get familiar with cooking tools too.

History of preserves and jams

Asszonyok - 	Balatoni Múzeum, CC BY-NC-NDConscious housekeepers gather information well before the season and buy the most important ingredients needed for fruit bottling. Buying a large quantity of sugar and salicylic is not enough, moreover, preserving with sugar was considered a rarity until the WW I.Routinish preservers surely know that the 75%-ripened fruits are the most suitable for being conserved in sugar-syrup and the following fruit types are worth conserving this way: cherry, sour cherry, strawberry, apricot, peach, pear and the famous quince. Many of you might think of the divine quince jelly now, which has an interesting story. Probably, the quince was the first fruit to preserve and became history as the golden apple owing to the Greeks.

Apor Zsuzsanna liktáriumos könyve -Magyar Kereskedelmi és Vendéglátóipari Múzeum, CC BY-NC-NDDespite its beauty and palate-tingling scent, it is uneatable in raw state, but it is excellent after being preserved or jammed.We have to be grateful to our noblewomen for the first cookbooks in Hungarian language, for example to Anna Bornemisza, whose recipe book is the translation of a German cookbook. Zsuzsanna Apor’s ‘Electuary’ (jam or homemade herbal medicine) book published in 1727 is one of the oldest recipe collections. The volume contains the first confectioner recipes and the methods of preserving, confiture making and candying.I have already mentioned that the methods of preserving fruits without sugar have a great past in Hungary, especially jam making from plums. It is usually made from a large quantity of fruits, in copper cauldron, absolutely thickened, by using Beszterce and red plums from the famous plum-growing region Szamoshát. The plums are put in the cauldron with or without stones; the jam is boiled on a slow fire and stirred continuously for about a whole day.

Török Erzsébet szilvalekvárt főz, fénykép - Magyar Kereskedelmi és Vendéglátóipari Múzeum, CC BY-NC-NDThe ready jam is poured in a simple sauce dish (‘szilke’ in Hungarian) and it is put into the oven after bread baking in order to harden. Nevertheless, the good plum of Szatmár looks fine not only in a cauldron: the plum pálinka of Szatmár (Hungarian strong spirit) is also very popular due to zesty fruits and many-year expertise. You can preserve them traditionally: with or without sugar, with or without stones, made as jams or as confitures, but the point is that you consume the delicious contents of your pantry wholeheartedly.

Translated by Zita Aknai


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