Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Inner Peace?

I can't help finding a kind of inner peace as I stand by the cooker stirring. Watching for that magical moment when my ingredients find that moment of metamorphosis, the sugar solution turns into liquid crystal & all the fruit is suspended in it's sparkly glory. It makes me happy.
Of course it makes me even happier that people want to buy it too! But most of all it's the joy and enthusiasm that I see on people's faces when they taste it. I'm not saying that's it's MY jam in particular that brings the joy...it's just the taste! You can't even begin to compare the taste of homemade preserve with shop bought - even the high-end stuff. It's just too mass produced and too full of sugar.

I use less sugar than a recipe calls for and compensate with additional pectin when necessary. This means that the taste of the fruit comes out and the jam is a soft set. I firmly believe that we've forgotten what real jam should be like; it should ooze out of your scone under - or over depending on your preference, I'm an under personally - your clotted cream with a gentle squeeze.

Try this Strawberry Jam recipe. Trust me, you will not go back...

Strawberry Jam

800g fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled (900g unprepared)
1kg Jam Sugar* (has added pectin)
Knob of butter

Makes appox. 1.5 kg

Method
Add the strawberries to a large pan with the sugar (* I don't usually add all the sugar, I couldn't say exactly how much I add, it's a 'feeling' thing but it's about 3/4)
Heat gently whilst stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. DO NOT BOIL YET!
Whilst stirring you may wish to crush some of the strawberries with a masher.
Add a knob of butter.
Keep stirring, increasing the heat to bring to a full rolling boil (jam rises in the pan and cannot be stirred down). Boil for 4 minutes only.
Remove from the heat & pot into warm sterilised jars & cover.

This recipe is equally as good for raspberries and loganberries.

Mmmmm jammy!

Its been a busy old weekend, but thanks to Himself acting as general gofer & Number 1 Chopper-Upper I managed twice as much magic as planned on Sunday. Chilli Jam, Carrot & Cardamom Marmalade, Pumpkin Chutney, Raspberry Jam, Loganberry Jam, Seville Orange and Sultana Whisky Marmalade & Spicy Carrot and Garlic Chutney all done before I ran out of jars!

Market Drayton Farmer's Market Christmas Extravaganza on 12th December is fast approaching and I have a freezer full of foraged summer fruit to transform into jewelled delights for eating pleasure!

Bring it on!

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