East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

Potting, preserving and pyes…

When I was at the Good Food Fair at Belgrave Hall Museum last summer I watched a fascinating demonstration by Jeannie Bilton of ways of preserving meat before the days of fridges and freezers. As Jeannie says in the notes she¬†gave out on the day: ‘Preserving meat by encasing it in fat is an age-old technique found across the globe. Potting is the traditional British version. Originally, meats were potted by being cooked in large jars, sealed with suet, then strewn with herbs to deter insects. The modern method is simpler and done on a smaller scale… Modern potted meats are not really preserves, but will keep in the fridge for several days… Once the contents are sealed in with a layer of clarified butter or fat, and a lid, they’ll keep for a week or two in the fridge’.

Cheese and fruit can also be potted. Here’s Jeannie’s recipe for Potted Raspberries:

Jeannie Bilton demonstrating preserves at Belgrave Hall

Potted Raspberries

4 lbs raspberries

1oz unsalted butter

4lbs caster sugar

Pick over the fruit and remove any stems. Rub a preserving pan with the unsalted butter and put in the fruit. Put the sugar in a bowl and leave to warm in a low oven. Heat the berries over a low heat until they start to bubble. Add the sugar to the fruit and beat with a wooden spoon over a very low heat for 15 minutes and put into small hot pots. Cover and store in a cool place for up to six months.

Many thanks to Jeannie Bilton for permission to quote the above, and to publish the photograph.


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About this Sponsor

A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.