Cooking for Cash – ideas
Homemade preserves for sale are always popular and many good cooks are maximising their skills in this area.
The way you choose to organise your business will depend very largely upon how much time you have available and upon the size of the operation, you want to run. It is very important to think ahead. You may not have much spare time now, but you could have more in the future, or the business could go so well that you decide to take on extra help. If this happens, it is a lot easier to expand if you have already taken care of the formal aspect of the business.
What to make
Homemade preserves are always popular and many good cooks are maximising their skills in this area. The choice of product includes jams, jellies, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, bottling fresh fruit and fruits in alcohol. Your own skills and preferences will help you to choose exactly what to make. Some items like raspberry and strawberry jams are always popular but, because of the individual nature of the market, unusual specialties can also sell very well indeed.
Take a look at the following list. Add in your own favourite recipes or experiment to produce a new flavour combination.
Jams and Jellies
Use fruit with a high pectin content to ensure a good set, or choose combinations of fruit to overcome any possible setting problems. Mixing different fruits together can make for some delicious flavour combinations:
Although Seville oranges are only available during certain times of the year, marmalade can be made all the year round from sweet oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits. They can range in texture from thick and chunky to a very smooth clear jelly. Fruit mixtures also produce very good marmalades.
Fruits in alcohol
Preserving fruit in alcohol can produce an expensive product. However, the results are delicious and ideal for Christmas presents. Mincemeat also falls into this category, though the amount of alcohol included is not sufficient to keep the product for more than a few weeks.
The list of possible combinations of fruit and vegetables for chutney is almost endless. Most people have their own tried and tested recipes, some of which have been handed down for generations.
Beetroot, onion and red cabbage are probably the joint-favorites in this category but, there again, unusual homemade pickles can find a niche for themselves. And do not forget that fruit also pickles very well.
Some people make and sell all kinds of preserves, making those which are appropriate to the produce available at particular times of the year. Others prefer to specialise in, say, jams or chutneys and to freeze produce in plentiful supply at one time of the year for use at another.
There is, indeed, a lot to be said for specialising to start with. You will be able to perfect both your recipes and your preparation techniques and customers will get to know your products and to ask for them by name.
Where to sell
There are dozens of different outlets for home-produced preserves. In the early days when you are not sure how much you can produce and are generally feeling your way, local outlets are probably the most sensible. Start by walking around all the shopping streets and shopping centres in your area and jotting down details of the shops you think might be interested in. The list will probably include:
Look out for the sort of grocer who sells the more expensive ranges of products. Very often the words ‘high class’ will appear as part of his/her low-key advertising. Shops that have a good delicatessen counter are also worth noting. Many of these shops sell homemade preserves in addition to their normal lines.
Cake shops and sweet shops
Do not be put off if these shops are not selling preserves at the moment. There is a good chance that you will be able to convince the owner or manager that you are offering another good profit product.
Tourist shops take many forms but if you live in a tourist area you will be able to recognise them immediately.
Cafes, teashops and restaurants
Many cafes, coffee shops and restaurants sell local produce as well as serving food, and if you are in a tourist area the turnover of such products could be very high.
Having made your list of outlets, put them in order of likely sales and write to the top two or three. Do remember to point out the benefits to them of selling your products; you are not asking for favours but offering to add to their profit margin!
Later, you may want to look further afield for your sales outlets. This may mean taking on extra help to deal with large or rushed orders and you will also have to deliver the product, which will cut into profits. Large city department stores, for example, sell home preserves, some of them all the year-round, others just at Christmas time. Approach the buyer for the food departments or the buyer whose job it is to set up Christmas food fairs etc. Ring up the store to get the names of these people and then write with full details of your products.
Homemade preserves for sale
Want to know more about homemade preserves for sale?
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‘How to Cook for Cash – Ideas’ eBook.
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