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It's long life; it's not ruddy eternal

Ah, Citizen Smith; Robert Lindsay's finest hours. I wonder if they've stood the test of time?

Folks who know me, know that I regard sell-by dates as a suggestion. M&S were horrified when my mum once congratulated them on selling a yoghurt that was still good two years after the sell-by date (glad you enjoyed it, but please don't do that!). The man who opened the tins in his wedding hamper on his gold wedding anniversary? Why not - canning is a preservation method. Lea and Perrins being told to put a six month date on the bottles when they have a bottle dating from the opening of the factory that's still going strong? A bureaucrat who doesn't understand salt as a preservative.

Sugar works quite well too. My mum used to buy jam at village fêtes and sometimes pass them on a year or so later. I eat jam in batches, as it were; I'll want jam every day for a week or every week for a month and then not again for six months. I don't keep jam in the fridge once opened (definition of preserve, anyone - although modern homes don't have proper larders at the proper temperature so I sometimes compromise). That means there are a few elderly unopened jars in the cupboard; they crystallise at the top but are usually perfectly fine under the top crunchy inch. I opened one for my PBJ and I can report that while it is indeed preserved, after 15 years gooseberry jam is really more like candied gooseberries in jelly. A little crunchy, but rather nice...



full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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February 2018


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