Saturday, June 29, 2013

that's my jam!

a few weeks month ago (how is that possible?!), i made a batch of strawberry rhubarb ginger jam based on this recipe. i used the same base recipe to make some strawberry mint jam this time:
~1kg/~2 lbs strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 fistfulls of fresh mint
zing of lemon juice (from a bottle)

first, i poured about a half a cup into the ol' food processor with the mint and let that whirl around for a bit. this is the same technique i used when i made chocolate basil cake and i think it works quite well.
strawberries and mint sugar were plunked in a bowl to make themselves all syrupy. Then, i cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked the jam in a skillet (to maximise evaporation). This recipe produced about 3 small jars--i gave two away and kept one for ourselves.


the jams were processed in a water bath for 10 minutes and, post-boil, 5 minutes longer, just to make sure they were nice and sealed.


i am entirely grateful that my dear friend kathryn sent me canning supplies. after a great amount of searching for something that apparently doesnt exist here, a common theme in my life, i used the interwebs to make my dreams come true. or at least provide me with a jar lifter. (and a super cute tea towel! and really hot homegrown peppers!). another thing i cannot find here are 2 part lids--the kind i watched my mom use with the flat lid and screw part. however, i survived using a one piece lid. of all the jars i processed--of strawberry, plum, and cherry jams--only one didnt seal.

IMG_0204next, inspired by this recipe , and my penchant for chinese 5 spice, i made some plum jam. we happened to have nearly a pound of plums around, and i picked up a few more at the market to supplement the batch.

i used:
~.5kg/~1 lb plums
2/3 cup sugar
chinese 5 spice (五香份 [wǔxiāngfěn])
sichuan pepper, fennel, cinnamon, clove, and star anise

it was very messy.

this time, instead of cooking the jam in a skillet, i used our trusty fondue pot.

i got a jar and a half of deliciousness from this batch.  the half jar is in the fridge and the other one will be tucked away to eat later in the year when we are pining for fresh fruit.

lastly, i made some cherry jam with cardamon.

1 kg-ish/~2 lbs. cherries
1 packet pectin (50 g gélifiant)
2 cups sugar
i was curious about the pectin here, so i decided to use it. i know i didnt for the strawberries, which are also low in pectin, but the only way to learn is by trying, right? right. the packet i found said it wasnt sweetened, but my jam turned out really sweet. true, i added more sugar in this recipe than the others, but still. i was a bit surprised how sweet it was.

but, before the cherries were cooked, i had to pit them; we don't have a cherry pitter... however, we do have a funnel! and funnels make for great cherry pitters. will you make a mondo mess? indubitably. but pitting cherries is a messy business no matter how you slice it.

i put the cherries a few at a time into a small glass bowl and press on them with the funnel with the pointy end. it takes out the stem and pit in one fell swoop. then, you can easily put the waste in the compost with a tap. it only took me about 15 minutes to pit all the cherries -- i was processing the plum jam at the same time.

the cherries and sugar were combined to encourage syrupy action

and then cooked and cooked and cooked, again in the fondue pot.

i added the pectin, brought the mixture again to a boil, and then filled my jars.

the cherries this year are amazing. over the last few weeks, ive had them with breakfast and made hand pies.


the fresh pop of fruit has been welcome at this house as once again the weather has decided to bite its thumb at us. here's hoping for warmer temperatures and picnics and eating OUTSIDE.

No comments:

Post a Comment