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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 learning the science of preserving to help you capture seasonal gluts into jars of delicious edible delights.

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 into 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.

  • Preserve the Seasons

    Rachel is filled with passion, enthusiasm and knowledge which she shared most readily and joyfully. She removed the mystique of preserving and fermentation, showing that nothing has to be complicated or involve too much faffing. Result!

    Amanda Attended 21 May 2023

    5.0 out of 5
  • Preserve the Seasons

    A fantastic day at the beautiful River Cottage, I learned so much more about preserving in a few hours. Rachel was fantastic, and the front-of-house and other staff couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.

    Ian Attended 7 October 2022

    5.0 out of 5
  • Preserve the Seasons

    If you think preserving is just about pickles in a jar or strawberry jam, you really need to try this course. The possibilities are endless and never cease to amaze; a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring day - shame it had to end.

    Christine Attended 22 November 2021

    5.0 out of 5
  • Preserve the Seasons

    What a great day, learning and meeting like minded people in great surroundings with amazing food and drink. I also took away armfuls of yummy food to share at home, what could be better!

    judi Attended 5 October 2021

    5.0 out of 5
  • Preserve the Seasons

    Highly recommended. Thoroughly enjoyed everything and learned so much. A fantastic approach to food - great ideas, flavours and a fun/creative way to approach the fight against food waste. Lunch was excellent too.

    Miriam Attended 18 May 2021

    5.0 out of 5

Your day

10:00 - 17:00

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet Rachel in the cookery school and settle in with a tea or coffee in hand and a morning snack prepared by our team of chefs, featuring local, seasonal produce.

  • Session One

    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.

  • Session Two

    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

    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.

  • Session Three

    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 and a lacto-fermented pickle (a technique that not only keeps your veg preserved for up to a year, it also increases the health benefits).

  • Session Four

    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. In this session, we’ll also dive into infusing and drying, two of the easiest ways to preserve seasonal ingredients.

  • Session Five

    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.

  • Departure

    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.

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All prices include VAT.

Further information...

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.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

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