Preserving is an essential technique for chefs, as it prevents food from turning into a decaying mess that's not even appetising to the neighbourhood cat. Commonly preserved foods include jams, pickles, chutneys and conserves. Typically cooks preserve fruits and vegetables in their home, but it is also possible to preserve meats and even some dairy products such as eggs.
Aside from the aesthetics, food that has not been correctly preserved is inedible, harbouring all manner of harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
There are many forms of bacteria found within mouldy foods, such as Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacte. While these phrases may mean absolutely nothing to homemakers now, a little research will show you why it's important that preserving is done using the appropriate techniques and cooking tools.Methods of preserving
There are a wide number of different methods that can be used to preserve foods, such as drying, freezing, vacuum-packing and canning.
In each case, it is very important to make sure that all implements are sterile. For example, when making jams, the food itself is often cooked until piping hot and then put immediately into a container that has also been sterilised with boiling water, before being immediately sealed.
Doing this ensures that bacteria has no time to develop during the cooling process, which will lengthen the life of the food contained within.
Headcook and Bottlewasher can offer chefs a selection of pressure cookers that can accommodate the needs of a wide variety of cooks keen on preserving.
The 5 litre pressure cooker from Kuhn Rikon is one of these, and it is available to buy for the price of £84.95.
As well as pressure cookers, preserving pans are extremely useful for people who are preserving foods, as they are specially designed to eliminate bacteria.
A preserving pan that is available from Headcook and Bottlewasher is the professional quality pan from Beka and it can be bought for £89.10.
Jam jars as a preservative
Jam jars are commonly used as a preservative, as a tightly secured lid can trap fruit and prevent the growth of bacteria.
The method is adopted by chefs throughout the world for jam making and it is a simple procedure, even for those that are just learning to cook.
Firstly, home cooks should purchase a jam jar, available from Headcook and Bottlewasher in a variety of sizes to suit all kinds of needs. One option is the 1lb jar by the manufacturers Glass Jars and one jar can be purchased for only 99p. Therefore, cooks can afford to buy in bulk and plan ahead for future home cooking tasks.
Preserving kits can also be useful to those home cooks that want to get to grips with preserving, especially if they are not confident they will be able to buy all of the equipment independently.
Headcook and Bottlewasher can supply chefs with a preserving kit from Delia Exclusive for £55.00.
The pack includes all of the tools needed for homeowners to begin improving their preserving skills, including a high quality stainless steel maslin pan, jam funnel, preserving thermometer, muslin, two le parfait preserving jars, labels and an extra long wooden spoon.
Home canning is another form of preserving that is regularly practiced by chefs and is a useful skill to add to your home cooking repertoire, although the process is a little more complicated than using a jar.
Canning can allow foods to extend their shelf life for much longer than other conventional storage methods, though the European Food Information Council has alerted cooks to two important factors that must be regarded when canning.
Low pH foods such as fruits and pickles can be canned safely and effectively at boiling temperatures of 75°-100°C, whereas meat and vegetables that have a pH which is higher than 4.6 need to be canned in a pressure cooker. Furthermore, it is essential that these foods are canned under a temperature of 115 °C or above, as canning the foods at a lower temperature could mean that harmful bacteria is still present.
Headcook and Bottlewasher sells a wide array of pressure cookers that can help homeowners to perform canning successfully.
One of the available options for buyers is the 4.5 litre pressure cooker from WMF, which can be bought for £135.
The product includes a unique twist nob that can be used to control all of its functions, while there is also an integrated cooking timer, so chefs do not need to worry about overcooking their latest meal.