The Field - - MOTORING -

Put sim­ply, jam (and chut­ney) is the cur­rency of choice for many coun­try­side transactions. Who can be­moan a gar­net­deep cherry pre­serve or sharply nos­tal­gic colo­nial chut­ney when prof­fered in re­turn for some mi­nor ser­vice or as a host­ess gift? Now it can go too far, a par­tic­u­lar batch of pear (from an im­mense glut) and vanilla jam my sis­ter made be­came fa­mous for lurk­ing at the back of count­less cup­boards. But that was a blip in her oth­er­wise ex­em­plary pot­ting ca­reer. I blame the sheer vol­ume pro­duced.

Most jam books do not start with the gar­den. Which is odd be­cause that should be the jam-maker’s be­gin­ning. Far­rell’s book is well-pre­sented and in­for­ma­tive, start­ing with a prepa­ra­tion sec­tion, then notes on the gar­den and kitchen, be­fore launch­ing into the sea­sonal sec­tions on fruit and veg­eta­bles. Each jam or chut­ney (or herb) has its own grow­ing in­struc­tions and then how to turn it into some­thing de­li­cious. In­struc­tions are clear and use­ful, even to the sea­soned jam-maker.

So whether you need ad­vice on when to prune your plums or the best way of mak­ing black­cur­rant jam, let Far­rell’s ex­cel­lent hand­book guide you. By Holly Far­rell

Pho­to­graphs by Ja­son Ingram Frances Lin­coln, £18

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