Bog Roll :: stuff/food/jam

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

14 May 2016

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Today I made a small batch of rhubarb and ginger jam. Our usual source of rhubarb had only a small batch for processing this year, and we collected it last weekend. It has spent most of the week soaking in sugar and lemon juice in the fridge. I used my classic method. Input was 1.7 kg of rhubarb, 1.7 kg of British sugar from beet, juice of 2 lemons (frozen and defrosted) and 300 g of crystallised ginger (finely chopped). Yield was 11 small 100 g jars for this year's Sheep Fair and 3.5 370 g jars for me.

I'm now rather full of sugar and feeling a bit odd!

09 Sep 2015

Cambridge Gage Jam

Last year our gage tree (probably a Cambridge Gage) had plenty of fruit but they were all inedible. This year it had plenty of fruit, so much so that as fast as we collect it there is even more ready to collect....

It's been a while since we had gages to jam. I used the same method as previously, though I added a fraction more sugar as the fruit wasn't fully ripe. Today's batch was 1.7 kg of fruit (cleaned and destoned), 350 g water and 1.2 kg of sugar, plus the usual juice of a frozen and defrosted lemon. The yield was pretty good and as we have loads of fruit left, even after we give some of them away I'll do another batch later this week.

25 May 2015

Rhubarb Jam

Over the bank holiday weekend I made two batches of jam: rhubarb & ginger and rhubarb & orange. I made a small batch last year - which we've not yet eaten - but it's quite a while since I've made so much and for sale.

This year I remembered to grade the rhubarb first, so that each batch was made from stems of similar diameter, which means that they cook evenly and you don't end up with a heterogeneous mixture - which is bad.

17 Sep 2014

Apple and Damson Jam

I made damson jam, it's something I've not made for years. It's the first year we've had fruit from our damson tree. Sadly we were on holiday when the fruit was at it's prime so we lost some to birds and age. In the end we had about 1.5 kg of fruit that was okay, to which we added a further 1.5 kg of cooking apples we collected from a box in the village.

I gave everything a wash and picked out the past redemption fruit, and put the cleaned damsons and roughly chopped apples in the jam pan and added 400 ml of water. I then heated the mixture and gave it a good mashing until it was all broken up and soft. Previously I've tried making jelly but the yield is dreadful, so instead I forced the mush through a collander to hold back the stones, pips and coarse material.

Next I cleaned everything up and started on the jamimg process. I added 1.5 kg of sugar, 300 ml of water and the juice of a lemon into the jam pan and heated to boiling. I then poured in my 1.5 kg of apple and damson puree, and brought quickly to the boil. I let it have a full rolling boil for about three minutes (damsons and apples have a lot of pectin and if you boil for too long you just get rubber). I then potted it up and left it to cool.

From this batch I got 9.75 jars of jam, which isn't too bad at all. It's not as clear jelly, but it tastes plenty good and it's a lot easier to make than proper whole fruit jam. When I put it in the jars it was very runny and didn't lool jam at all, this morning when I inspected it had set well, I'll find out tonight if it's over cooked!

16 Jul 2013

Jams and Jellies

It's been a while since I made jam or jelly for myself. Last year wasn't great for fruit and the jam I did make was sold in the Sheep Fair. This year I've make one batch of rhubarb & orange and a batch of redcurrant. Our green gage tree is happy so we may get some fruit from it by the end of the summer but better not count any chickens yet....

14 May 2012

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

I've just made a batch rhubarb and ginger jam. I've not used the Miot method but rather my regular method as we concluded that my method works better with the local rhubarb I have.

The only change I made to my normal method is to freeze and defrost the lemon as Mr Miot suggests as it does get you a lot more juice and pectin out of the lemon. I made 2 kg of rhubarb up and it made 11 assorted jars as expected.

14 Aug 2011

More Plum Jams

I've been busy making plum jams this month. A few weeks ago I jammed up wild plum and green gages, yesterday it was Normandy Mirabelles and green gages (plus a few ripe ones from our tree).

As usual it's the normal Miot method: 700 g sugar + 200 ml water + half the juice of a frozen and defrosted lemon heated until it boils, into which you tip 1 kg of your fruit and return to the boil. It produces a slightly softer jam than is typical in the UK, but the fruit doesn't get over cooked and the flavour is excellent.

We now have six jars of Mirabelle and eight jars of green gage jam to add to the wild plum jams and jellies. Slightly better yields than last year: Mirabelle Jam and Gage Jam and we still have only collected a few of our own gages.

31 Jul 2011

Wild Plum Jam

We noticed some wild plum trees on our way home this were loaded with fruit. We collected what we could reach and took them home. As usual I use the Miot method, heat the sugar water and lemon juice first to the boiling point, then add the fruit and boil for a further 20 minutes.

Yesterday I processed the smaller red plums. They tasted good but had very little flesh relative to the stone. So I mashed them up and filtered them to produce a coarse juice which I used to make a rustic jelly. It's got a good strong flavour, is very sharp but is actually much clearer than I expected. A success I think.

Today I processed just over kilo of the larger yellow plums. They were just large enough to de-stone, so we de-stoned them and then I made a traditional jam with them. Again compared to commercial cultivars the fruit was less sweet and small, but the flavour was good and they made good sharp jam.

If all goes to plan, tonight I'll jam up the green gages/reine-claudes we collected from the school playing field. These are a standard cultivar and while they are nice and large, like a French grown green gage they are not as sweet as our Cambridge gage in the garden or a French grown (i.e. more sun) green gage. Without doubt green gage jam is my favourite, sweet and full of fruity flavour!

29 Jun 2011

Redcurrant Jelly 2011

At the weekend we went to our usual PYO farm and picked red and white currants and strawberries. Not the best crop, the red currants were already very heavily picked (pigeons I'm told) so we didn't get as many as planned, and though the strawberries were large and plentiful they weren't that tasty.

As in previous years I mashed up the red and white currants (about 50:50 this year) and filtered the juice out. That takes more than 24 hours so I left it all trickling though in the fridge over night.

This evening after dinner I filtered the juice again (it was a bit cloudy) and got 1.3 kg of juice. To that I added 1.3 kg of fair trade sugar and the juice of a frozen and defrosted lemon. Put the lot in a jam pan and bring up to the boil, skimming off any scum that forms on the top. Once it's boiling, it should take about 5 minutes to reach the setting point. This year it made 5x370 g jars, a better yield than last year but still not as good as the best years.

Interestingly, this year we have had a cold winter and an early and very warm spring and the fruit came to full ripeness about 1 month earlier than in previous years.

08 Sep 2010

Gage Jam

When we bought our house this spring it came with a fruit tree. We are still not 100% sure what it is but it is a variety of gage, probably a Cambridge Gage (they are currently popular in the UK).

Our tree is quite young and still small and not in a very good location in the garden, so the fruit are not as sweet as green gages we bought while on holiday. Yesterday we picked about 4-5 kg of fruit off the tree and I jammed up 2 kg of the fruit with the rest for jamming tonight.

The method is as for the mirabell jam that I made just before going on holiday. For 1 kg of cleaned and de-stoned fruit you need 700 g of sugar, 200 ml of water and the juice of half a lemon. You put the sugar, water and lemon juice in the jam pan and bring up to the boil, then add the cleaned fruit and return to the boil (121°C), continue boiling for 20 minutes then pot. The yield was 7x370 g pots and three 25 g taster pots.

Very different from the damson jams I made a number of years ago. When we chop the Eucalyptus tree in the garden down we'll have to plant a damson plum of some sorts, more fruit trees is the way to go in the garden.

20 Aug 2010

Mirabelle Jam

My in-laws have been visiting, they dropped of a few kilos of their Normandy mirabelle plumps. I frantically turned them into mirabelle jam before our holiday. Rather nice I think and very unusual in the UK.

12 Jul 2010

Redcurrant Jelly

I've just finished this year's batch of redcurrant jelly. We got the redcurrants from the PYO farm on Saturday, yesterday I processed them down to juice and today I cooked them to jelly. We started from about 1.5 kg of juice to which I added the juice of a lemon and 1.5 kg of granulated sugar. Yield from this was 6x370 g jars and one slightly larger jar, so not huge.

We did redcurrant and strawberry last year, so it's been two years since our last batch of redcurrant jelly, and my better half has been missing it as it's her favourite!

08 Jun 2010

New Year's Jam

A bit later than intended, but today I've made my first batch of jam in our new house and for 2010. I made rhubarb and ginger jam using the Mr Miot Method. I started with 1 Kg of frozen and defrosted rhubarb, a frozen and defrosted lemon, 800 g of granulated sugar, 250 g crystallised ginger (finely chopped). However, the rhubarb didn't release much juice when defrosted so I added 200 ml of water to stop the sugar from burning. It made two large pots to keep and two medium and two tiny to give away.

It's the second time I've use Mr Miot jamming method and it is very easy to work with - well worth copying. Buy his book if you want to know how to make really good jam: Maison Francis Miot.

Today was also the first time using our new John Lewis (Smeg) cooker in anger. It performed very well and I'm glad we bought it.

01 Jul 2009

Mr Miot's Rhubarb Jam

Yesterday I made a batch of jam using Mr Miot's method. It's based on his standard method which is different from the method I've used myself previously.

  • 1 Kg Rhubarb (frozen then defrosted)
  • 0.8 Kg Sugar
  • ½ a lemon (frozen then defrosted)
  • 200 ml rhubarb juice (from the defrosted 1 Kg)
  • 250 g crystallised ginger (my addition, not in the French original)

First you freeze the lemon and the chopped and cleaned rhubarb. Freezing and defrosting the lemon should ease the extraction of pectin for setting the jam. Freezing and defrosting the rhubarb should extract water juices from it, keep just 200 ml.

Heat the sugar, juice from the lemon and the lemon along with the rhubarb juice up to boiling point (121°C). Once it's rolling along add the chopped rhubarb and return to the boiling point. Boil hard for a further 15 minutes (give or take) and then add the ginger. After removing any scum and a a few more minutes it should be ready to pot.

I jammed 2.2 Kg of rhubarb with 1.76 Kg sugar, two small lemons and 0.5 Kg of chopped crystalised ginger. Tasted okay on the night, but rhubarb and ginger takes a few days to reach full flavour.

28 Jun 2009

Strawberry Jam

Yesterday we went to a local PYO farm to collect fruit for jamming. As much as we love redcurrant jelly we decided to skip it for this year and try something new - so I spent £15 on mostly strawberries.

Strawberries are terrible to jam, they are low in pectin, high in water and (in the shops in the UK) low in flavour. If it were not for the national obsession with them, no one in their right mind would bother with them...

I decided to use the recipe of Francis Miot, who is some top French jam maker:

  • 700 g strawberries (fraises)
  • 350 g redcurrants (groseilles) - you are supposed to remove the pips with a goose quill but we skipped this...
  • 200 g water (d'eau) - it seemed an awful lot but it did turn out okay
  • 1/2 lemon (citron décongelé) - ideally frozen and defrosted
  • 800 g sugar (sucre blanc) - does not need added pectin
  • 30 ml red wine (vin rouge) - we skipped this as we don't drink wine

The method is his standard method. First heat the sugar, water and lemon (squeezed juice and whole fruit) up to a full boil (121°C), then you add your topped and halved strawberries and (deseeded) redcurrants and bring back to a full boil. You then boil on full heat for 20 minutes before potting into hot cleaned jars as normal.

For best flavour do not add butter, remove the scum with a slotted jam spoon instead. Don't soak your fruit overnight in sugar as it draws out too much water - or so Mr Miot says.

We started with 2.1 Kg strawberries and 1.05 Kg redcurrants and yielded 13 (full) 370 g Bonne Maman jars. This morning we opened a jar to test - VERY GOOD!