Friday, 7 October 2016

Plums Galore

This was taken a few weeks ago, and we have just opened the first jar of the plum chutney to have with our lunch:  it was delicious!

Here are half of the plums ready to be cut up for the jam to which a little rum was added, then other half is already being made into Chutney.  Many thanks to Janet for perfect home grown Opal dessert plums.

Candied orange and lemon peel using a pressure cooker

Years ago I would never have thought of making candied peel, but recently I was thinking why not?  When I was about to buy some chopped up candied peel, I was amazed that sulphur dioxide and sulphites are now added...maybe they always were, but now it is mentioned on the container.  I prefer my food without such additives if I can help I had a little session of making candied peel.  Here are the results...a tray full drying off in the sunshine in the Conservatory.  

The reason I am posting about this, is that I took a pot full to Marie Claire, a couple of days ago.  I handed it to her hubby, who said MC would be delighted.  Her sister makes it, but guards the recipe.   I on the other hand love to share my recipes, and hope people will enjoy making them.

Last night whilst I was out, MC called and chatted to Mr M, and asked for the recipe.  I am sure there are many ways of making candied is how I made this batch, using a pressure cooker to cut out the hours of boiling!

I bought a string of four oranges, and having washed them well, peeled the skin keeping on the pith from three of them, and left the oranges whole in a container in the fridge to eat later.  There also was just one unwaxed lemon available, so this joined the other skins. It is better to use unwaxed and organic citrus fruit if you can find them.

The pieces of peel were left overnight covered with plenty of water in my stainless steel pressure cooker.  In the morning, the water was drained off, and topped up with fresh water, with the pressure cooker now about half full, with the fruit easily covered by the water.

I had to pressure cooker the peel twice, as I felt after the original three minutes, the peel was still not soft enough.  I reckon six minutes at 15lbs pressure will be just right next time. The pressure to come to room temperature gently.  Just lying in the water helps to soften the skins

I have read on the internet that you can do the next part under pressure, but I was not feeling brave enough to cope with very hot sugary liquid and pressure!

I drained off the cooking water, and put the peel on a plate, then returned 100g water and added 200g white granulated sugar to a smaller pan, and over a gentle heat allowed the sugar to gently dissolve.  Then I added the drained peel, brought everything to the boil and then reduced the heat so that it gently bubbled for about five minutes.  I left it on the cooker covered by the pan lid.

The following morning, I brought up the contents of  the pan to a bubbling roll, and then a simmer, as cooked it again until the liquid was much reduced.  The pan was then left to cool down again.

On day three, I drained the peel, put it on a cooling rack, and placed the whole lot over a baking sheet, and placed it in the oven at Gas Mark 1 to 2, and left it there for an hour or so, opening the door from time to time to allow the steam to escape, and check that the peel was not scorching.  The oven was turned off, and the peel just cooled down naturally.  TI could have continued this for longer, but I like my peel quite moist, and as it was sunny, I put the peel out in the sunny conservatory, to it to continue to air dry.

And the lovely tasty orange sugar syrup, is in a jar in the fridge, waiting to be used for brushing on as a glaze on buns and other bakes!