Preserve the Seasons
Preserving our homegrown and locally sourced produce is one of the key elements of River Cottage life. Spend a day with Rachel de Thample preserving the seasons at River Cottage HQ.
Capture the best of each season as Rachel takes you through a realm of preserving techniques inspired by our kitchen garden bounty, the fruits dripping from our orchards and the hedgerows framing our 100-acre organic farm.
Each class is tailored to the season giving you an opportunity to jam, chutney, pickle, ferment, dry and infuse a delicious selection of things we grow here at River Cottage HQ. By the end of the day, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to preserve the produce from your own garden, local markets, orchards or hedgerows.
Preserving is not only about embracing seasonal abundance. Throughout the day, you’ll learn how you can also minimise waste at home by turning modest fruit and veg scraps in to gourmet treats, like tomato skin salt or kale rib relish. Rachel has endless tricks up her sleeve and students always leave inspired and excited to get started at home. You'll also leave with a bag laden down with jars of scrumptious goodies.
10:00 - 17:00
Make yourself at home
You will meet Rachel and settle in with a tea or coffee in hand.
You’ll start the day with a taster featuring some of Rachel’s favourite preserves such as rosehip jam-packed doughnuts dusted with lemon verbena sugar or blackcurrant curd-capped crumpets.
We’ll get stuck right in learning how to make a seasonal jam. Rachel will explain how pectin works and how to make jam with pretty much any fruit (or veg!) you have to hand. You’ll learn how to make small batch jams and Rachel will also teach you how to reduce sugar or scrap it altogether in favour of local honey. We’ll dip into the garden to inspire herbal and seasonal floral twists.
Next, we will dive into the world of chutney-making. A classic question raised on the course: ‘What’s the difference between a chutney and a pickle?’ You’ll not only have the answer by the end of the day, but you’ll have also made a jar of each, packed with delights from our kitchen garden. By the end of the day you’ll be able to whip up delicious batches of both without a recipe - which means you can truly embrace your gluts by effortlessly transforming them into crafty condiments.
Lunch will feature a smattering of some of Rachel’s favourite preserves such as mackerel with oak-smoked beetroot pickles or horseradish salt-baked celeriac with pickled mushrooms.
Pickles are one of the easiest ways to preserve garden gluts. Rachel will show you how to make pickles with a salt brine and with vinegar. You’ll learn how to tweak and tailor the recipes which mean can harness your skills at home using seasonal produce throughout the year.
The afternoon will focus on fermentation, one of the oldest and healthiest forms of preserving food. You’ll gather some beautiful ingredients from our garden to make a tongue-tingling sauerkraut, adding a stunning array of seasonal herbs to give a magical touch to your creation.
Once you’ve packed your jars, Rachel will day demonstrate two more fabulous ways to preserve food (dry and infusing), all whilst you relax and sip a homemade brew such as a Honeyed Marmalade Quince G&T and taste your way around a platter of local cheeses paired with various pickles and chutneys touched on throughout the day’s class.
There will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team, before heading back up the hill for 5pm.
You’ll take home the jars of jam, chutney, pickles and sauerkraut you'll have made, as well as a recipe pack full of guidance so you can get preserving throughout the seasons.
Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.
On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.
This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.
We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.
We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.
With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.
- Sustainable Restaurant Association
- Food and Travel Magazine 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2018