Monday, October 19, 2015

Covet Monday: Something Sweet

People who know me will be happy to testify that I am not very good in the kitchen. When I try to do anything more complicated than pancakes or boiled eggs (both of which I can actually do very nicely, indeed), it usually goes wrong. Tears have featured a number of times in the past.

So when our garden produced a bumper harvest of plums and topped it off with an incredible amount of wild blackberries, I needed some really easy ways of preserving them. A couple of phone conversations with my mum, some light online research and a trip to a jar wholesaler and I was ready to go.

So this is what I did with the first lot of plum:

Plum Jam

All I used was plums, a squirt of lemon and sugar. Ordinary sugar. Not preserving or jam sugar or any other setting agent. If you use ordinary sugar you rely on the natural pectin in your fruit to set your jam, so it will work best with fruit that contains more pectin; you might struggle with berries. And you typically need to use a fruit to sugar ratio of 50:50. 

1. Wash plums and de-stone.
2. Put fruit, lemon juice and a bit of water in a pot.
3. Bring to the boil, stir frequently.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
5. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
6. Turn up the heat and bring to a rapid boil.

7. After about 5 minutes, take a drop of your jam and pop it on a cooled plate. Leave for a minute and push your finger through it. If it wrinkles, it has reached setting point. If not, boil a bit longer and try again.

8. Fill into jars. [I remember my granny sterilising huge glass jars in pots and this being a big palaver. I just got some ordinary jars with screw tops, washed them well, rinsed them hot and put them in the oven upside down for about 20 minutes. I put the lids into boiling water and filled the jam in when the glasses had just come out of the oven.]

I was a bit worried that this jam would be too sickly sweet due to the 50% sugar content but the fruit had good flavour and a bit of tartness and I am happy to report that it tastes nice and fruity.

So this was the first lot of plums taken care of. We had another one to come. And all those blackberries. I am happy to report that I have since then produced blackberry syrup, blackberry jelly, plum vodka and blackberry gin. So watch this space if, like me, you need easy ways of preserving some fruit. If I can do it, anybody can!

The lovely people at Independent Fashion Bloggers have chosen my post this week for their top 20 "Links a la Mode", alongside with the others below. Do check them out!
Links à la Mode, October 29
SPONSOR: Shopbop Blank Denim, Love Sam Tops, Schutz Shoes, Zoe Chicco, Bickley + Mitchell, Sara Battaglia, Long Cardigans, Black Lace Tops, Fur Coats, Men's Splendid Mills

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