Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm getting a wee bit jam-crazy (I think)

I can't stop. I'm like a woman possessed. I'm out buying fruit and glassware and pectin-sugar and paraffin and just can't quit making jams and jellies. And the steady diet of jam-foam-on-bread is starting to nauseate me (but I can't stop that, either!). The house smells sweet and fruity, but the wasps also like the smell and keep coming into the kitchen.

Wednesday night (first day of school) I went blackberry picking after school and brought home a couple kilos of berries, and made jam.

Thursday, got home about 6, so I took a night off from jam (but did ponder my quince shrubs and read up on recipes and ideas).

Friday night, home at 6 again, and picked quince and started the quince jelly, which was finished this morning (2 varieties of that).

And here we are, Saturday . . . Went to market early and bought figs and peaches, and more glassware and paraffin and also finally found a jam funnel (oh, it makes life SO much easier. Keeps the rims perfectly clean, so you get a good seal with the paraffin).

Quince Jelly notes:
I halved my quince last night, covered them with water, simmered them an hour, and set them to strain overnight. Was worried this morning -- the juice didn't seem 'right.' It was milky looking, coated the bowl when I tilted it . . . But I went ahead anyway, and as it boiled with the sugar, it cleared to a gorgeous rose colour, just as it was supposed to. I did 2 kinds -- some plain, then a smaller batch to which I added a few sprigs of fresh mint as I simmered it with the sugar (removed the sprigs before putting into jars). I think it will be nice with meats/lamb/pork. Still have a tree-full of quince with nothing to do with them (quince jelly has its limits, like everything). Might post on FreeCycle.

Black-&-Blue Berry Jam notes:
This was just my own concoction/creation using leftover of both, mixed in equal parts (300 g each of the two berries) and same amount (600 g) of pectin-sugar. Also added the juice of a lemon.

Fig Jam notes:
It's just finished as I type this. Very easy. You de-stem the figs, chop/mash them up (skins and all), add the juice of a lemon to the figs and sugar, then cook on low heat for about an hour. Very Mediterranean. (1 kg of figs to 500 kg pectin sugar.) I'm going to use the remaining bit that didn't fit into a jar, for a dessert tonight, stirring it into some Greek yoghurt.

Peach Jam notes:
I'm in the middle of this as I type this, and it will be the last for a while. The ratio for fruit to sugar varies immensely, depending on the recipes you read -- anything from equal weights of peaches to sugar, to half the weight in sugar. I finally decided to use 1.5 kg peaches and 750 g of pectin-sugar, and the juice of a lemon. To peel the peaches, dip them into boiling water for a minute at most, remove skins and pits, then put the peaches, sugar, and lemon juice into your pot, cooking 45 minutes to an hour (much like the fig jam -- until it passes the cold-plate test).

I'm really really tired. Four batches of jam (actually, 5, with the 2 kinds of quince, which is of course done in 2 separate batches) in one day is a lot. I'm going to get the peach into the jars, get the pics off the camera and attach a few to this post, and go flop for the evening with a DVD I just got (Julie & Julia -- what else but a cooking DVD?). And no more bread-and-foam -- will take a packet of the boeuf bourguignon out of the freeze and have that with a potato. (I don't even want to think about sewing and laundry tomorrow, but alas, both are necessary.)

No comments: