Guest post by Sue North
The official day that we remember the bravery of aircrews who took part in the Battle of Britain is fast approaching – but did you know that there’s a great gluten-free way that you can help to preserve that heritage? And all it involves is buying a pot of jam.
Barbara Daughtrey from the town of Sleaford in Lincolnshire runs her own business making the most wonderfully tasty jams, preserves and specialist oils – and I know how good they are as I got the chance to sample some of her wares at the Lincolnshire Show back in June.
Lincolnshire played an important role for the RAF during the Second World War and now Barbara’s Heritage range of jams is raising money to help with the restoration of the engine from a Spitfire which is being carried out by enthusiasts at Metheringham airfield in the county. Ten per cent of the purchase price of each jar goes to the restoration fund.
I sampled the Summer Fruits jam her company A Little Luxury has produced to support the restoration appeal and it’s delicious – a blend of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants that has a sharp edge to its delicious sweetness.
You can tell it’s not mass produced too, as the jam has a lovely, rich consistency and a deep red colour that makes you think of hedges bursting with ripe fruit that’s waiting to be picked.
The bonus to all this is, of course, it’s gluten-free!
Barbara runs the business with her daughter. She didn’t plan to become a jam-maker but working in the kitchen with her hands was suggested as a kind of physiotherapy after she was seriously injured in a road accident and had to give up her job as a teacher.
She loved it and began raiding her grandmother’s recipe book for ideas for flavours for jams, relishes, chutneys and marmalades. The war, and how food shortages made cooks really inventive, has been a great influence, particularly for the Heritage range.
Flavours produced with a wartime theme have included Mock Orange Marmalade (a blend of apple jelly and carrot), Mock Apricot (a carrot jam) and High Dumpsie Dearie Jam (a blend of apples, pears and plums).
The day I met Barbara she was even dressed 1940s-style, in Land Girl dungarees complete with knotted headscarf.
Early success has helped the company to grow. No longer are the jams made in Barbara’s kitchen at home but in a purpose-built extension instead.
A quick glance at the website (all.vpweb.co.uk) reveals an extensive range of products which, wherever possible, are made with Lincolnshire-grown ingredients. There are traditional flavours with a twist, like plum and amaretto, award-winning marmalades and a rapidly-expanding range of chilli products and oils.
Most are gluten-free but Barbara is happy to advise you. There are a number of stockists in Lincolnshire and a thriving online ordering service. I’m planning to get hold of some of the delicious strawberry and vanilla jam for the next gluten-free Victoria sponge I make. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Find out more about the Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre at www.metheringhamairfield.com