I was recently introduced to London based Kylee Newton, of Newton & Pott - a preserving brand - through my friends at 31 Chapel Lane. Through this introduction I got an insight into the world of preserving. As I learnt during my afternoon with Kylee, preserving encompasses a wide range of foods - pickles, chutney, jams, compote, alcohol, cordial and fermentation products like sauerkraut and kimchee. There is more to preserving than just jams and chutney!
Kylee has turned what was a hobby into a thriving business. All her products are made in small batches in her home kitchen based in Hackney, London, which means you are getting a high quality, artisanal, locally made product.
With elderflower currently in season, I caught up with Kylee whilst she was busy making a batch of elderflower cordial, similar to this batch I made a few weeks ago. As I entered her apartment, the air was pungent with the sweet aroma of elderflower and lemon. It was a familiar smell and made me feel at home.
With lots of exciting projects in the pipeline, potential workshops and more stockists, you will have no trouble getting a hold of her products. You will also find her at Broadway Market every Saturday. With her own book, The Modern Preserver due for release on 20th August, you can look forward to trying your hand at preserving at home.
// When and how did Newton & Pott start?
Newton & Pott started 3 years ago after my job with Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans ended and I was working for a florist. I started preserving fruit and vegetables on the side and the "chutney" took over/stuck. I had always been making preserves for Christmas presents and people were so overwhelmed with getting this homemade gift that I wanted to share this sentiment with others, hence Newton & Pott was born.
// You're London based but you're originally from New Zealand?
I arrived in Hackney, London almost 15 years ago but I'm originally from New Plymouth, New Zealand. I studied Fine Arts there at Auckland University at Elam. Here I worked (as a lot of antipodeans do) in cafe's and restaurants while studying which educated my palate at the same time. I feel this background reflects my ideas around what I'm doing- I'm definitely a creative when I'm cooking and coming up with new flavours. I married a Londoner so I guess I'm here to stay.
// What is the ethos behind Newton & Pott?
The motto behind my business stems from “waste not, want not”, whereby seasonal fruit and vegetables are preserved to make them last longer. It's about saving the season, making something last and longevity. It's also about making the best of a harvest and preserving it in the form of jams, chutneys and pickles. By making chutneys, jams and pickles, I can use fruits and vegetables that may otherwise go to waste. I am making the most of the seasons harvest and giving it a new lease of life.
// Where are your products made?
All my products are handmade in my home kitchen, so every product is made in small batches as opposed to a large scale mass production where you lose the quality of the product and flavour. It also means that there are no nasty E numbers in my products. I do have plans to move to a larger commercial kitchen in the near future, so as to free up my home kitchen but it's important to me that I keep the handmade and small batch aspect going as this is where the quality lies.
// As well being passionate about preserving, you are also very passionate about community and have set up a monthly business forum. Tell me more about that.
It is a forum with currently a small group of members, which I plan to grow, where small business owners come together once a month and sit together as business people to talk about business. It's also an opportunity for members to share their knowledge and experience with each other. I strongly believe in community and that business grows as a community, so sharing is a good and positive way of learning where others can help what another has learned along the way.
// Where do you get your inspiration from? Are there any particular recipe books or authors that inspire you?
We have a lot of recipe books in our household. It's not just preserving books that inspire me but all sorts of different culinary ideas. I like to be on top of new trends but I often get mostly inspired on what the season has to offer me. So if pears are around I like to think "what can I add to make this a more pear more exciting?" I like to use alcohol, herbs and spices and floral aspects to my preserves so hence the Pear & Lavender Jam was created.
I love to introduce new flavours to peoples palates, taking this age old artisan and giving it a twist, so exotic fruits like tamarillos or feijoas can be sited in my repertoire or interesting combinations like beetroot & orange.
// What are the future plans for Newton & Pott?
I have a book coming out in August this year called 'The Modern Preserver' where I want to teach people to be creative with their preserving and also how to eat their preserves other than jam on toast or chutney with cheese - it's a condiment that can be added to a variety of daily meals.
Also (when I get a larder kitchen) I would love to hold courses to teach others how to Preserve the Seasons and bring longevity into their households. You don't have to live in the countryside to do this, preserving should be a modern day venture for all households wanting to waste not, want not and avoid any commercial additives.