Archive for category Jams and Chutneys

Cherry Jelly

Cherry Jelly madebyjayne.com

One recent Sunday saw my husband using a wheelbarrow as a step up to reach for branches to bend towards me to pick lots of cherries! What a find, a tree full of tiny cherries! When I first noticed the cherries they were tiny and bright red and there were so many of them that I assumed they must not be edible, Id heard somewhere that if the birds aren’t eating them they are poison. I don’t know if that tale is true but it makes sense to me so we ignored the cherries. Well those cherries got darker as they ripened and one day I popped one into my mouth “just to see” it was fine so we picked them! I think the birds couldn’t really see them and judging by pits all over the place the birds had found and eaten those cherries, there were just so many of them there were still enough for us!

As I mentioned those cherries were tiny, more pit than fruit so I decided that pitting them would be to awful of a job. I have a friend that has spent many a summer in Italy and she told me of tiny wild cherries in Italy that are made into liqueur so I used some for that, more of that another time. I used the rest for jelly rather than jam so I could avoid pitting! There are not many recipes for cherry jelly  so I applied the general rule of adding a pound of sugar per pint of juice for jelly making.

I did not get very much juice from my cherries considering the amount of cherries I used, and it was a little stubborn about setting. Maybe this is why there aren’t many cherry jelly recipes! However if you come across some cheap cherries or as I did some free ones and don’t mind a small batch of jelly this is well worth making, it tastes wonderful!

Cherry Jelly

The amounts will vary according to how many cherries you have. I had 4 lbs when making this jelly which in the end only resulted in 1 and a half jars of delicious cherry jelly.

The general rule for jelly making is to measure the juice obtained from your fruit, in this case cherries. For every 550 mls/20 oz of juice you get you will need to use 1 pound of sugar

ingredients

  • cherries, rinsed and removed from stalks (I had 4 lbs)
  • water (6 oz/175 mls)
  • sugar (the amount will vary according to how much juice is obtained from the fruit)
  • lemon juice (the amount will vary, I used the juice from a small lemon)

method

  1. Put the cherries in a large saucepan and add the water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the cherries are soft, some may have even escaped from their pits. Using a potato masher crush all the cherries to release as much juice as possible.
  2. Carefully pour the cherries and all the liquid into a jelly strainer which has been set up in a bowl or pan to catch all the juice. Leave for a few hours or overnight to let all the juice drip from the cherries.
  3. When the jelly bag is no longer dripping measure the juice.
  4. Add 1 lb/450 grams of sugar for each pint of juice obtained. I got exactly 550 mls of juice so used 1 lb of sugar.
  5. Put the juice and sugar into your jam pan.
  6. Add the lemon juice (again this will vary, I added the juice of 1 small lemon to my 550 mls of juice). Stir well until the sugar has dissolved then bring up to a full boil.
  7. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes and check for  the setting point,my jelly took around 15 minutes boiling before it would set. See here for setting tips
  8. Pour into your prepared sterilised jars.

I did not process my jelly in a water bath as I had such a small amount and its so good it wont be around for very long!

cherries madebyjayne.com

 

cherries madebyjayne.com

Advertisements

, , ,

12 Comments

My Year of the Urban Farm Challenge

Urban Fram Challenge 2012

This time last year I stumbled upon a challenge that really appealed to me. It was called the Urban Farm Challenge, a monthly blog challenge encouraging a simpler lifestyle relying more on local, organic (if possible) foods and making and growing your own food, even for city dwellers. It was to be a year of learning useful house-holding skills.  I have always lived in cities but love the idea of country life and over the years have dabbled in growing my own vegetables and canning my own jams and chutneys, often from that home-grown produce! This challenge was just a step further, there was cheese making, foraging, making herbal teas and tinctures. I just loved the idea and got the book for my birthday, I love this book! Its co written by Anette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols, two of the most inspiring people!  Both have families and are trying to live without supermarkets and the book is full of tips for gardening, composting, growing, preserving, city farming. There is advice on sourcing your own food suppliers, grinding your own grains. I loved this challenge and took part in most of the challenges although I must admit I was a bit of a fair weather partaker and did less of the winter challenges. Here is my round-up of my Urban Farm Challenge over the last year.

February: The challenge was soil improvement. I was late to the challenge but quickly ordered a composting bin with hope of making my own compost. Unfortunately the bin that arrived was huge, to big for my city garden so I donated it to a friend with an allotment and looked to the next challenge!

March: The challenge was home dairy, this was the challenge that I was most looking forward to! The idea of making my own cheese was completely new to me but I dove in and made lemon cheese, ricotta and mozzarella. I have made my own cheese several more times throughout the year and am inspired to try more, I’ve found this to be an area that I really want to explore!

Mozzarella madebyjayne

April: The challenge was gardening and sowing your own seeds. Easy for me as I grow some type of vegetable each year. My Mother in law has an allotment and takes care of the plants for me, it’s an unbelievably lucky outcome for me and I’m so grateful to her for this! Among the regular vegetables I grow I also tried some different things as part of one of the challenges. I managed to seek out collard greens, not successful at all in the cool, wet summer we had,the snails got to the only tiny plant that survived! I also planted endive (chicory) another fail! The black futsu and Naples long pumpkins were much more successful as were the yellow courgettes (zucchini).

IMG_2069

May: The challenge for May was foraging, not as easy as I thought! I’m too scared to try to find mushrooms on my own but I did make a dandelion salad foraged from my garden, I will admit that dandelion leaves are not the best thing I ever tasted but I am glad I tried!

Foraged salad madebyjayne.com

June: This month the challenge was botanicals and all about making your own tinctures, balms and herbal infusions. I made chive blossom vinegar which I look forward to making again. I really wanted to try to make my own lotions but am a little ashamed to admit that I still have not tried this, maybe that will be one of this years “to try’s”.

020

July: Seed saving and looking forward to winter was the challenge this month, I did not take part as nothing was in flower yet. Due to the awful weather we had last summer everything was behind.

August: It was preserving this month, something I do each summer anyway. Small batch canning, cold storage, fermentation were all available to try using summers bounty. I always make jams, jellies and chutneys and last year was no different. Here is a selection of what I made  pickled courgettespeach pie preserves (so good!) and I tried fermentation with cucumber kimchi.

Zucchini Pickles madebyjayne

September: It was all about bartering this month, and swapping ones goods for those of another. One of the possible challenges was to hold a food swap, I love the idea of this and maybe one day I will try to arrange one, I just need to find enough fellow canners and growers! I don’t mean to go on about the awful summer we had last year but due to this I found I didn’t have an abundance of anything!  I did manage one swap with a friend that had a bucket of plums for which I swapped some very large squash.

October: Protein was the theme this month, and we were free to choose our own challenges from hunting to growing your own beans. Time escaped me this month and I didn’t get around to taking part.

November: The challenge this month was about grains, using whole grains and even brewing with grain mash! This was a crazy month and despite my best intentions once again I missed this one, although using whole grains is something I try to do anyway.

December: This month handcrafted holidays was our task. With the recession this is something I have been seeing more and more of and I love the idea of this. I made my own vanilla and lemon salt to give as gifts. One of the gifts I had most fun with was to make up a basket and fill it with jam, chutney, lemon salt and vanilla I had made. This was a very successful, my friend loved her gift!

Homemade vanilla extract madebyjayne

January: This was the wrap up month, but it was extended to February which is why I’m doing it now.

I had a great time with this challenge, I loved reading the book and trying new things. One day I hope to have a house with a little land where I can fulfill my Little House on The Prairie lifestyle dream! For now I will carry on enjoying some of the skills this challenge has taught me and hopefully pick up some more. Many thanks to Annette for organizing this and all the hard work she put into it, I had a blast!

, , , , , , , ,

10 Comments

Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood oranges madebyjayne.com

Blood oranges are quite spectacular, sometimes the orange has a blush of red on the skin hinting at the colour of the fruit inside. Other times the blood orange looks just like a regular orange and that will be the one that is crimson inside. It seems no two blood oranges are the same! The picture above is of my bag of blood oranges, all beautifully different! They have a wonderful flavour that is both sweet and tart, this makes them wonderful in marmalade. I’ve made more marmalade than ever this year, although I must say I think my citrus fest is about over!

I made this blood orange marmalade last year and loved it. I always start with a small batch which in this case was a mistake as I enjoyed it so much. I would have made more but the blood orange season had sadly ended. This is quite a sweet marmalade, which I really like. Marmalade made with blood oranges has a reputation for being difficult to set, when I made it last year I hadn’t heard that and made it without thinking, it turned out well although it was a much chunkier marmalade than I usually make and the peel turned out with an almost candied effect, not unpleasant but maybe not to everyone’s taste.

This year I used the new method I discovered when making my bergamot marmalade by cutting the fruit in half, boiling it then chopping and boiling with sugar I did however take more care with the peel and tried to chop the pulp really well to get a clearer marmalade. I used slightly less sugar than the weight of my boiled fruit as I felt blood oranges are so sweet already. I think next time I will try with even less sugar, of course if using less sugar when preserving  this makes the end result less shelf stable and is probably not suitable for canning. I also tied up the pips and pith from the lemon I juiced into a piece of muslin and added it during the final stage to add some pectin and aid setting. This is a great tip I thought I would give a try after seeing it on the wonderful Food in Jars blog, in this great post offering marmalade tips Marissa said she sometimes adds lemon seeds to lower pectin citrus like blood oranges to help setting.

Blood Orange Marmalade (makes about 2 and a half jars)

Ingredients

  • 5 blood oranges
  • juice of 1 lemon reserve pips and pith (tie these into a small piece of muslin)
  • approximately 600 grams granulated sugar, (the weight will vary according to the amount of pulp your oranges produce)
  • 150 mls of the water your oranges were boiled in.

Instructions

  1. Cut each orange in half and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours, keep checking and add more water if necessary to avoid boiling dry.
  2. Remove the oranges from the water and when cool enough to handle remove all the pips.  Reserve 150 mls of the boiling liquid for later.
  3. Chop the softened peel to the thickness you prefer. Put all of the peel, juice and fruit into a measuring jug. For each 1 pint of fruit you have measure 1 pound of sugar. I had 600 grams of fruit pulp and used 550 grams of sugar, just a little less as the oranges are sweet.
  4. Put the sugar into an oven tray and warm in the oven for 10 minutes at 170 C, 325 F, gas 3. (You can add your clean jars to the oven at the same time to sterilise.)
  5. Tip the fruit, warmed sugar and  100 ml/ 3 oz reserved boiling liquid into your jam pan, add the muslin tied bundle of lemon pips and pith, stir well and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes test for setting. See here for setting tips if unsure. My marmalade took about 20 minutes to set.
  7. If set pour the marmalade into your prepared sterilised jars and seal.
  8. I processed my jars in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Blood orange marmalade madeyjayne.com

, , ,

6 Comments

Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemon Curd madebyjayne.com

Yes my title reads Meyer lemon! I have lamented for years that we can’t get Meyer lemons here in the UK. Id heard so much about Meyer lemons and constantly read about them on twitter and through others blogs. One of my good blog friends Liz the Chef is the Meyer lemon Queen! She even has her own Meyer lemon tree in her garden, alas she is all the way over in California so I lived vicariously through Liz’ and many others recipes using these elusive lemons.

Well last weekend thanks to the wonderful thing that is twitter a conversation about fruit led to my discovering that Tesco are now selling Meyer lemons! I was so excited, could it be true and if it was would the branch of Tesco near me have them? Such was my excitement my husband drove me there and then to the store see if I could get my hands on some. The citrus section was strangely busy and it seemed ages before I was able to look properly but there they were, Meyer lemons flown here from California! Truly you have never seen anyone swoop on a pack of lemons so fast or get so excited about a lemon! In an age where the trend is turning towards eating more locally grown food sometimes it is still truly amazing that we are able to try so many different things from around the world so please forgive the air miles my Meyer lemons used!

Once I had my lovely lemons I had to decide what to make with them! There are so many things one can do with a Meyer lemon! I decided on lemon curd first as I wanted the lemons to be the star of the recipe so I could fully appreciate their flavour.

This recipe uses 3 lemons and makes just one jar of lemon curd,  So the verdict of my first Meyer lemon curd? It is very fruity and sweeter than curd made with regular lemons, its delicious! Made on a sunny day following a bitterly cold couple of weeks the taste of this lovely curd made from lemons ripened in the California sunshine sang Spring to me.

Meyer Lemon Curd (adapted from this recipe by Rachel Allen)

  • Zest and juice from 3 Meyer Lemons
  • 75 grams ( 3 oz) butter
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) caster sugar (I used unrefined sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Put the lemon zest,juice, butter and sugar into a saucepan, heat gently until the butter has melted.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and egg yolk.
  3. Pour the egg mix into the lemon and butter, whisking quickly. Keep whisking until the mixture has thickened, this took 3 minutes for me. Keep the heat low or the eggs will scramble. No matter how careful you are, in my experience little flecks of cooked egg white will still appear which is why I follow with the next step.
  4. Remove from the heat and push through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon into a bowl to remove any cooked egg.
  5. Pour into a sterilised jar.
  6. Once cool keep in the fridge.

, ,

2 Comments

Bergamot Orange Marmalade

Bergamot orange marmalade madebyjayne.com

Id never tried bergamot oranges before, to be honest I hadn’t ever seen them for sale. I do enjoy a new discovery, so when I saw them I had to get some! Its marmalade time so that was what my bergamot oranges were destined for. Once Id tasted one, however, it was apparent that was all I could use them for!  They look pretty unremarkable, like unripe oranges, although any similarity to oranges ends there,  I was taken aback at how bitter they are! I can be found nibbling at the lemon in my drink but the bitterness of bergamots was something else! They have a just shy of harsh floral smell, apparently bergamots are what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive aroma.

Coincidentally the day I bought my oranges someone tweeted this video about making marmalade by Jane Hassell-McCosh, the founder of the Worlds Original Marmalade awards. (Don’t you just love twitter!) It’s a lovely video, shot in Jane’s kitchen where she talks you through making marmalade in a way that I hadn’t tried before. I have never found a recipe for marmalade that I’ve stuck with. Unlike making jam, marmalade requires a bit more preparation, some recipes have you starting 2-3 days before! Well that doesn’t suit my impatient nature! Jane’s method was quicker and avoided using muslin to tie up pips and pith. Her easy guidance persuaded me to try making marmalade her way.

In the video Jane uses a mix of oranges, lemons and grapefruit.  She has an easy method of measuring the cooked fruit to sugar at a rate of 1 pint of fruit to 1 lb of sugar. This suited me as I was making a very small batch. Making marmalade this way was really easy and very successful! It set really easily, always a worry when making marmalade! That sour, bitter flavour accompanied by the heavy floral  fragrance made me worry what the marmalade would taste like so at the last moment I threw a regular orange in with it! I also added some extra sugar. I was glad I added that orange in with my bergamots, it added a familiar taste to an otherwise very different tasting marmalade. When trying this marmalade the first taste is just like marmalade made with Seville oranges then you bite into a piece of bergamot peel and you get a flowery, almost soapy hit (but not in a horrible way!)  my description may sound unfavourable but that is not the case, the combination of sweet, sour, and floral all work well together to make a very different marmalade. I really like it and wish Id been brave enough to make a larger batch. I got a jar and a half with my small batch, this recipe could easily be doubled.

I am linking this up with the One Ingredient challenge held by Laura at How to cook Good food and Nazima at Franglaise Kitchen as the theme for this month is Oranges.

Bergamot Orange Marmalade (adapted from Jane’s marmalade recipe)

  • 2 bergamot oranges
  • 1 medium-sized orange
  • Approx 1/2 lb 225 grams granulated cane sugar (I used unrefined sugar) plus another 2 oz/50 grams sugar

The sugar needed may vary according to how much fruit pulp you measure.

  1. Cut each orange in half and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours, keep checking and add more water if necessary to avoid boiling dry.
  2. Remove the oranges from the water and when cool enough to handle remove all the pips.  Reserve 100 mls/3 oz of the boiling liquid for later.
  3. Chop the softened peel to the thickness you prefer, as the peel is so strongly flavoured I would recommend thin cut. Put all of  the peel, juice and fruit into a measuring jug. For each 1 pint of fruit you have measure out the same amount of sugar. So for each 1 pint of fruit you need 1 lb of sugar. The 3 oranges in my recipe gave me 1/2 pint of fruit so I needed 1/2 lb of sugar
  4. Put the sugar into an oven tray and warm in the oven for 10 minutes at 170 c, 325 f. gas 3. (You can add your clean jars to the oven at the same time to sterilise.)
  5. Tip the fruit, warmed sugar and  100 ml/ 3 oz reserved boiling liquid into your jam pan, stir well  and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes test for setting. See here for setting tips if unsure. My marmalade was ready at this stage.
  7. If set pour the marmalade into your prepared sterilised jars and seal.

As I messed with the sugar ratio and the recipe resulted in such a small amount I do not recommend this for canning.

DSC04733

, ,

10 Comments

Fig Jam

To be truthful I don’t really “get” figs. As a child Fig Newton cookies revolted me, as an adult I just don’t find figs have much taste. I know many people love them but I think my taste buds are wired for stronger tastes, the subtle taste of a fig is lost on me. However when lots of sugar is added and figs are turned to jam? Well this sweet toothed gal loves that! I love the sweetness accompanied by the tiny crunch of the miniature seeds. I first tried fig jam after my friend acquired a fig tree when she bought a house in Italy, looking for ideas to use up her fig glut she made both jam and chutney, I loved both!

This summer on holiday in France fig was one of the jam choices in one of the hotels we stayed in, with that jam fresh in my memory I knew that’s what I would make when I saw that figs were this months ingredient for the One ingredient blog challenge run by Laura and Nazima

My recipe is based on this recipe from Waitrose, well I followed their instructions but actually kind of experimented with this and it turned out really well, the cinnamon and vanilla are just enough to enhance the figs but not over-power them. This is a small batch of jam, just 2 jars which was perfect for me as I have a cupboard groaning with the weight of jams and pickles already and I haven’t even made my chutney yet!

As figs are in season I’m also adding this to Ren’s Simple and in Season blog event, held this month on Katie’s blog Feeding boys and a Firefighter.

Fig Jam

  • 450 gram (1 lb) Fresh figs, washed.
  • 300 gram (10 oz) sugar, I used unrefined
  • 1/2 a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 a vanilla pod, split with a sharp knife
  • A squeeze of lemon juice from half a lemon
  1. Cut the stems from the figs and chop up into inch size pieces.
  2. Put into large pan, (this is such a small amount of jam I didn’t even use my jam pan just a large saucepan).
  3. Add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well and turn the heat on low until the sugar has dissolved
  4. Using a potato masher mash the figs up a little then turn the heat to high to bring to a boil.
  5. Allow to boil for 6 to 10 minutes, the texture will begin to thicken.
  6. For me at this stage (around 7 minutes) the jam had thickened so it was obvious it had reached setting point  but do use the saucer method if unsure.
  7. Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla pod and pour into sterilised jars and use your preferred canning method. I boiled the jars for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

, , , ,

9 Comments

Peach Pie Conserve

By some good fortune I came across punnets of organic peaches that were buy one get one free just after seeing that peaches were the ingredient for August on Nazima and Laura’s  blog challenge called One Ingredient, this month over at workinglondonmummy.com

I was spoilt for choice as peaches are one of my favourite ingredients in the summer but finally decided to make this jam as my entry.

I’ve seen Peach pie jam mentioned on twitter and as a lover of peach pie it was music to my taste buds! Its been on my “to make” list for some time.  Peaches are a low pectin fruit and don’t set as well as other fruits so what was meant to be jam turned out to be a conserve, which is only a softer set jam and actually my preference.  The only recipes I could find for Peach Pie Jam were American ones using pectin, it seems much more common to use pectin in the US.  I prefer to use just fruit and sugar to make jams, relying on lemon juice for added pectin where necessary.  You can buy “jam sugar” in the UK which has apple pectin added, I have used this in the past and it does give good results but as I now prefer to use unrefined sugar I don’t use the jam sugar any more.

To make my version of Peach pie jam I just made peach jam and added cinnamon and nutmeg to make more of a pie flavour. It really does taste like peach pie filling!

Serendipity was shining on me when I came across those peaches as this recipe will also tie in with the August Urban Farm challenge set this month by Marissa McClellan, author of the wonderful book Food In Jars. This book is full of wonderful recipes, in fact there is even a peach jam recipe, I will make that next time!

Peach Pie Conserve

  • 2 lbs peaches, about 10 peaches
  • 14 oz sugar (350 grams) I use unrefined
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  1. Peel the skin off the peaches by placing the peaches in a bowl of boiling water for a minute. Remove from the boiling water and the skins (most of them, there is always a stubborn one!) should slip right off.
  2. Remove peach pits, chop the peach flesh up and put in your jam pan along with the rest of the ingredients. Stir together well.
  3. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 15- 25 minutes while stirring frequently.
  4. After 15 minutes check for setting point. The jam can take between 15- 25 minutes to reach setting point.
  5. Once set remove from heat and put jam into sterilised jars. Then follow your usual canning procedure, or not as the case may be. I put my jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.

, , , ,

16 Comments

%d bloggers like this: