Meet the Designers
We were fans of Jenny Linford long before she wrote about us in The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour, her brilliant take on what it really takes to reap the best from what we eat. Her book is one of handful of favourites we recently added to our online shop.
What was it about England Preserves that inspired you to include them in your book?
I've long been an admirer of their jams. I've always really like the way they capture the flavours and freshness of the fruit, in a way which so many jams fail to do.
For The Missing Ingredient, I sought out the food producers I really respect and admire in order to get an insight into the care and time they take. So when it came to the section on jam and marmalade-making, Sky and Kai were an obvious choice. It was so interesting to visit them and watch them at work
Are there any jams you make that conjure up your heritage and memories of people who are no longer with you?
I didn't grow up with a family tradition of making jams and marmalades. I do, however, love making marmalade - a very fresh, zingy one - which I give to my friends and family hoping they will enjoy it and think of me when they eat it! A great jam maker I often think of when I eat England Preserves' jams is the late Brian Haw of the Academy of Fruit. He was a lovely man whom I met through my work as a food writer and someone who inspired Sky and Kai through his own wonderful preserving, a real mentor to them. I like that connection.
How important a factor is time when it comes to preserving?
Preserving food is a way of fighting the deteriorating effects of time on food, so it is a big strand in The Missing Ingredient. Time is very complex and overlaps, so you have factors like the seasonality and the ripeness of the fruits which England Preserves choose to make into jams. Some have brief windows. I love the idea that that fruit is then captured in a sugared form which extends its life and allows you a taste of - say - golden, sun-filled apricots - on a dark, cold winter day.
Eating to Live
Now it’s warmed up we’re dying to invite some friends over to share some Eaton Mess, oozing with our Strawberry Days. Or perhaps a tea party. Bloom can make her Victoria Sponge, which comes with our Raspberry Deluxe as standard. If we’re short on time but still need a treat, Tim’s Dairy Kefir Coconut yogurt fits the bill, topped with anything you like, and we like Raspberry Deluxe.
Slice of Life
We’ve been surviving thanks to Sunday Swimming in the Park with Swans, to the musical accompaniment not of Stephen Sondheim but of horse hooves, geese honks, and feathers flapping on take off and landing. That’s the Serpentine in Hyde Park, our watery salvation, rules permitting, of course, and we all know there have been plenty of those.
Closer to home, gardening has kept us both busy (Kai is majoring on herbs this summer, while Sky’s focus remains floral) while gin sours have kept us lubricated, thanks to a well timed nudge from Richard Godwin, whose excellent The Spirits newsletter was a weekly staple during lockdown. We’ve planted some late fruiting raspberries, which are great and easy to jam. Recipe tips to follow.
Living to Eat
When Sky told her father she was setting up a business making jam, he popped a parcel in the post with a £50 cheque and photocopies of the preserve sections of her grandmother’s editions of Larouse Gastronomique, Mrs Beaton, and Eliza Acton. One day, perhaps, we’ll add our own to the jam-making canon. We’d love to hear how *you* make yours.
Email, tweet or Insta us some recipes and you could find yourself jammed into the very next edition.
Sky and Kai