Saturday, 12 July 2014

Blackcurrant Jam

Just how long does it take to make Blackcurrant Jam.  That depends what one measures.  For just a bit of fun, I was thinking about this when I was gardening this morning.  I won't count the planting of the bushes, or the long drive to collect them from the growers...but if I count picking them, then sorting them, washing them, picking off the stems, but not the dried flower ends, this takes about 1 hour for a kilo of berries.  Then there is the boiling, the potting up, and the washing up, washing the kitchen floor etc....another hour and half, but it is all worthwhile I think....

This year the berries are particularly large and juicy, so I added very little water to cook the berries before adding the sugar.  However the crop is not high as the birds and squirrels have been at the bushes, but I did spend a hour or so trying to cover them in their own individual mesh cover one evening a couple of weeks ago.  The hardest part was trying to push the bamboos canes into the ground which was really hard.

Just as I love marmalade on my toast, hubby loves Blackcurrant jam, as well as stirred through yogurt.   Friday I made a few pots to 'lay down' in my preserve cupboard.  I might enter a jar in our Horticultural Club competition.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Keeping up with the jamming

I've made more than I've written about....

How do I know for sure...its when Hubby went to cupboard and found what he was sure was Strawberry Jam, but no labels.

What happens is that I pick up the fruit at the market, and then make the jam on Friday.  Fridays are busy days here.  I like to prepare for the weekend, and have started to have friends over for breakfast.  Really nice with girlfriends who are busy with work, whose hubbies or partners are busy with their hobbies.  A breakfast together, talking about crafts and a tour of the garden, is a lovely way for me to start my weekend too!

I remember the Strawberry Jam well.  I followed a new technique which has given me a very good colour, flavour, and hopefully set.

This Sunday I made Apricot Jam, which is as yet unlabelled, but I did take pictures.  We had been very busy on Saturday, so decided to have a stay at home Sunday.  It was warm, and I had taken the apricots all 2 Kg out of the fridge before breakfast.

A few minutes in a large stainless bowl, and they were ready to cut up.  They were delicious, not too ripe, a little sharp, with rosy skins, perfect for jam.  As I cut the apricots into about eight pieces, they are tossed in the juice of two lemons to stop them from browning.

With all the stones in a plastic bag, I found a hammer, and took the lot onto the patio and started the tricky technique of extracting the kernels without breaking them up too much.  At last everything was in the pan, the apricots cooked gently, without any water, and then the sugar added, and ready for the steady boil.

All potted up, and ready for the labels to be designed, and printed out, and pasted onto the jars.

 There was a small ramekin to spare, and in the evening David had some in his plain yogurt.  He described the fruitiness and the effect of biting on the kernels as a little explosion of amaretto on the tongue!  This would be wonderful as the filling to an almond sandwich cake.