Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Supermarket Savings

Here is a recipe for a jam that needs no cooking. Because of this, best potted up in small jars as although it will keep in the freezer for up to 9 months (it may need stirring once thawed), and in the fridge - unopened - for 3 months, once the jar has been opened it must be kept chilled and used up within 3 weeks.
This type of jam will be softer than the boiled jams - more like a conserve and a little bit mushier. But the flavour is excellent. The best fruits to use are the fleshy ones that need no cooking, and that will mash easily (strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries, plums, ripe gooseberries, elderberries, black and red currants). The jam can consist of one type of fruit only, or several can be mashed together. Liquid pectin is on sale in supermarkets - called Certo I think, but not sure.
No-cook Strawberry Jam: makes nearly 4 lb (1.75kg)
1 1/2 lbs (675g) ripe strawberries, hulled
2 lb (900g) caster sugar
4 fl oz (100ml) liquid pectin
2 tblsp lemon juice
Mash, process, sieve or liquidise the berries. Stir in the sugar. Leave to stand for one hour, stirring from time to time. Add the pectin and lemon juice and stir for 2 minutes.
Pour into clean yogurt pots (for freezing), or small sterilised jars and cover with foil. Remember to label. Leave to stand in a warm place for 6 hours, then place in the fridge for up to a couple of days (the time it takes to 'jell'). Stir then store in fridge or freezer.

This next recipe is also for a jam (made the convential way) and originated in Australia. Because no red fruits were available, tomatoes were used instead to give the bright red colour. Tasting rather like plum jam, this is an excellent way to cope with gluts of tomatoes and windfall apples. As tomatoes were originally called Love Apples, this has to be the name for this jam, although another under the same name (but different) has been posted months ago.
Love Apple Jam: makes 7 lb
4 lb (1.80kg) ripe tomatoes
2 lb (900g) cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced
5 lb (2.30kg) granulated sugar
1 x 400g can crushed pineapple
juice of 2 lemons
Remove skins from tomatoes by placing them in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds then peel off the skins. Put the tomatoes and apples into the preserving pan and place over a gentle heat until simmering, then cook until softened. Stir in the sugar and heat gently until dissolved, then add the pineapple and lemon juice. Raise the heat and boil rapidly for about 20 minutes or until setting point has been reached. Cool slightly then pour into warm sterilised jars, cover and seal.
testing for a set:
Have a saucer in the fridge or freezer so that it is very cold, bring out and immediately put a teaspoon of the jam onto the saucer - if it jells, then it is ready. If not, return cleaned saucer to the fridge and boil the jam for a few minutes longer before testing again.
Myself, find that dipping a wooden spoon into the jam, then holding it above the pan and watching how it drips works just as well. Jam that is ready to set will first drip away the surplus, but the last drips just dangle from the spoon not wanting to drop, beginning to setting as they hang.

However much cooks were forced to improvise during the war years, this actually led to some wonderful recipes being 'invented'. Here is one of them:
Apple Marmalade: makes over 1 lb
12 oz (350g) sugar
1 pint (550ml) water
1 lb (450g) cooking apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 lemon
Put the sugar and water into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the prepared apples to the syrup. Cut the lemon and squeeze out the juice. Cut away the lemon rind from the shells, removing any pith. Cut the rind into narrow strips. Add these strips and the lemon juice to the pan and simmer for about an hour or until setting point has been reached.
Cool slightly, then pot into warm sterilised jars, and seal in the normal way.