I have finally got around to making this. I have been sitting on a container of frozen apple juice – harvested autumn 2011 can you believe – that I juiced from a big bag of apples from my brother. Once more I have taken a fairly relaxed but informed approach to the alchemy.
- 2 litres apple juice
- 1.5 kg sugar
- 2 fresh red chillies (jalopeno)
- 6 home grown bullets (like bird eye chilli)
- Chilli flakes – 3 tsp
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 inch ginger
- Juice of 1 lemon
Just like making any jam I dissolved the sugar slowly before boiling hard for 30 minutes. I was worried that the garlic and ginger would burn but that didn’t happen as I skimmed them out after about 15 minutes. I think I might have boiled it too hard though as the colour became very dark at the end (I should really get a jam thermometer).
I let it cool for a bit before adding the fresh chilli at the end (fine dice). I reckon it’ll still be fresh in a year or so, if it lasts.
Autumn, one of the most bountiful seasons in our calendar, is upon us. Driving home from university yesterday (with a head crammed with data and to do) I found myself getting increasingly excited at the prospect of crunching through the overgrowth gathering berries. I try and get at least one batch in annually and this year I am pleased to say that the Blackberry pickings have been excellent (all that rain and warmth).
Unfortunately I have been otherwise engaged (Uni & school) and have obviously missed the glut as the easy to reach brambles had been picked clean. Not to be denied I donned my Indiana Jones chaps and lassoed my whip and began going off piste. 2 hours later…. I emerge triumphant with booty a plenty. I then pillaged my newly acquired blueberry bush to add an extra dimension. Both low in pectin though.
- 1.4 kg blackberries
- 0.6 kg blueberries
- 200g white grapes (good source of pectin)
- 1 Lemon (juice & peel – also good for pectin)
- 2 kg white sugar (yikes!)
I put all the fruit & lemon in a heavy bottomed pan.
I toyed with the idea of adding water but decided against it as the blackberries were very plump and juicy and I didn’t want to be boiling for days. I brought the fruit to a gentle boil and mashed everything with a potato masher to squeeze out all the juice. I then added the sugar which I think is perhaps a bit too much. i might be tempted to ease it back to about 1.5 kg next time as the fruit was quite ripe.
I let the sugar dissolve slowly then turned up the heat and got it boiling on medium to high for about 30 minutes stirring every 5 mins or so. I did the old plate in freezer test a blob till it wrinkles test then forgot about it and winged it (as usual). A knob of butter to settle the foam was helpful.
In the end I managed to get about 7 jars (454g ea.) out of it and a teenie tiny taster jar as well.
Next on the agenda is some apple and chilli jam. Bon apetit.
This was a very spur of the moment addition to my Sunday routine. Spur of the moment – not something that you might associate with jam making! I was returning some desert dishes to my neighbour and noticed that she had left a large bag of gooseberries on her front step. I mentioned this to her just in case she had forgotten them to which she replied “do you want them? I was going to make jam but I ran out of time.”
A bag of sharpness
These were picked from her allotment and were just begging to be jammed up. I got my 13 year old involved by helping to top and tail them while I sorted through the strawberries that were thrown in as a last minute addition (some were too bruised).
Prepped and ready
I did not have a recipe to use so I just winged it. I added a cup of water and boiled for about 20 minutes then added about 1.5kg of sugar.
Ready for the sugar
Because of the high levels of pectin already in the fruit I boiled for about 15 minutes after I added the sugar. In hindsight I think that I could have done without the water as the end result is more of a compote than a jam. Not to worry, it tastes yummy on hot buttered toast.
Not bad for a last minute addition to my sunday kitchen. I will be taking a jar to my neighbour to say thanks.