Perfect Preserves: How to Preserve Tomatoes, Lemons & More

Preserving the bountiful harvest from your garden is not just a way to save money. It’s a delicious and sustainable way to enjoy your homegrown autumn produce throughout the year. With a little effort and some creativity, you can transform your autumn harvest into jams, preserves, and chutneys. These condiments are sure to tantalise your tastebuds no matter the season! 

We’ll explore the art of preserving, providing you with simple recipes that will keep your pantry stocked with garden-fresh goodness.

What Does Preserving Mean?

Before we dive into the delicious world of homemade condiments, let’s talk about the basics of preserving your harvest. “Preserving” may sound fancy, but at its core, it means finding ways to keep your garden produce fresh for longer. Food preservation typically involves techniques such as freezing, drying, pickling, or making jams, preserves, and chutneys. By preserving your harvest beyond the growing season, you’ll reduce waste and allow for a continuous supply of homegrown food.

Just be sure to sterilise all of your jars to guarantee the longevity and safety of your homemade delights!

5 Easy Ways to Preserve Your Garden Produce

How to Preserve Tomatoes

Even the most green-fingered gardener is likely to end up with a glut of green tomatoes that just haven’t ripened by the end of the season. Green tomatoes are actually delicious when fried or even pickled, but to enjoy that tomato-taste year round, try this chutney recipe.


  • 1kg green tomatoes
  • 250g onion
  • ½ rounded tbsp salt
  • 250g sultanas
  • 250g cooking apples
  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • 0.5l jar spiced pickling vinegar


  1. Slice the tomatoes and finely dice the onions. Layer in a large bowl with the salt and leave overnight.
  2. The next day, dice the sultanas and peel, core and chop the apples. 
  3. Put the sugar and vinegar into a large pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sultanas and apples and simmer for 10 mins. 
  4. Strain the tomatoes and onions in a colander (but don’t rinse), then tip into the pan and return to the boil.
  5. Simmer for 1 hr, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and pulpy. 
  6. Transfer to sterilised jars and cover with lids.

Recipe credit: BBC Good Food

How to Preserve Apples

Turn apples, a quintessential autumn fruit, into a delightful apple chutney for year-round enjoyment. Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 1kg apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 250g onions, chopped
  • 250g  brown sugar
  • 250g  apple cider vinegar
  • 125g raisins
  • 125g chopped dried apricots
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the apples are tender. This usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Ladle the hot chutney into sterilised jars, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace. Cover the jars with sterilised lids and bands.
  4. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes to seal them properly.
  5. Allow the jars to cool, and store them in a cool, dark place. Your homemade apple chutney will pair nicely with cheeses, meats, or as a condiment for various dishes.

How to Preserve Garlic

Fresh garlic is a year-round kitchen essential, and you can easily preserve it to ensure a steady supply. Here’s what you need to do:


  • Whole garlic bulbs
  • Olive oil


  1. Separate the garlic cloves from the bulb and peel them carefully.
  2. Place the peeled cloves in a clean, dry jar.
  3. Fill the jar with olive oil, making sure all the garlic cloves are completely submerged.
  4. Seal the jar and store it in the refrigerator. The garlic will keep for several months, and you can use the oil for cooking as well.

How to Preserve Pears in the UK

Pears are a popular homegrown fall fruit across the UK. Preserving them is a way to enjoy their sweet flavour throughout the seasons. Discover our pear preserve recipe below:


  • 1kg ripe pears (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the chopped pears, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a large pot. Stir well.
  2. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the pears become tender and the syrup thickens (approximately 30-40 minutes).
  3. While the pear preserves are still hot, ladle them into sterilised jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace.
  4. Seal the jars and process them in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Allow the jars to cool, and you’ll have delightful pear preserves to enjoy throughout the year.

How to Preserve Beetroot

One of the most delicious and enduring ways to savour beetroot is by pickling it. Homemade pickled beetroot not only offers a burst of flavour but also makes a delightful addition to salads, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards.


  • 700g beetroot
  • 250ml white vinegar
  • 250ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 175g sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns


  1. Start by washing the beetroots. If they have stems attached, trim off, leaving a few centimetres attached to the beetroot.
  2. Place into a saucepan and cover beetroots with water.
  3. Boil for about 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Smaller beetroots might take about 20 minutes and large beetroots might take about 40 minutes or more.
  4. Let beetroots cool to a warm temperature and then rub off the skins with your hands.
  5. Slice the beetroot or cut into chunks if preferred.
  6. Place beetroot into a sterilised jar.
  7. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boiler. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Pour through a sieve and into the beetroot jar. Seal the jar and store in the fridge.

Recipe Credit: Cooking with Nana Ling

Why Preserve Your Homegrown Produce

Preserving the abundance of your autumn harvest is more than just a cost-saving measure. It’s a delectable and eco-friendly way to relish the flavours of your homegrown produce regardless of the season. What’s more, with these simple jar recipes, you can explore new cooking techniques to expand your culinary horizons. So, roll up your sleeves, prepare those jars, and embark on a delicious journey to preserve the goodness from your garden.

For more eco-friendly tips, explore our guides on reducing food waste and being more sustainable at home.

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