Archive for the ‘preserves’ Category

Blood Orange Marmalade

August 1, 2009

Blood oranges. Blood ORANGES! I have had my heart set on getting myself some Blood Oranges ever since I first saw their beautiful ruby colour on the pages of Foodgawker many months ago. But like most things, I was doubtful I would ever get my hands on any since I live in what many people call the ‘arse end of the universe’ (my dad especially says this) and such exotic things are rare. So you can imagine my excitement when on Monday I was driving past Raw, a local organic food store, and saw BLOOD ORANGES on the blackboard outside the shop! I immediately did a U-turn and bought two kilos.

Blood orange 1

But now that I had the precious Blood Oranges, I needed a better cooking pot then the tiny one that I had (and remembering my last adventure with jam making, when I had to decant 1/2 into another pot & boil them seperately). I went to a few cooking shops in Hobart city, with not much luck, even the specialty cooking shops didn’t have any! So I went out to North Hobart to a catering shop called Medhurst, which is a great place & I really should have gone their first!! They have pots big enough to get into. I found a great 11 litre Scanpan stainless steel pot, the last one in the shop & on special for $85! It is exactly the same width as the biggest pot I already had, but is actually twice the height which is important when making jam, because when you add the sugar to the mixture it triples in volume. I also treated myself to a new Victorinox knife, since my old favourite failed due to only having a plastic handle.

Now, onto the marmalade!! I was loosely following Elise’s recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade, except I was too lazy to do the whole membranes & seeds pectin thing so I just used some Jamsetta. I didn’t bother measuring the fruit mixture after the first stage of cooking either, I just put in 2kg of sugar!

Another thing I had to change for the sake of my sanity, is the way of separating the skin from the pith. I used the ‘scrape out’ method for 2 halves or so before my hands got so tired I could hardly hold the spoon anymore, so I had to try something else. The peeler wasn’t working on the already-juiced skins, so I decided to try to cut the skin off using my new ultra-sharp knife. It worked very well & I julienned them and everything.

Blood orange cooking

And the result. 8 jars of beautiful ruby red marmalade, ready for my toast tomorrow morning. My few taste tests when checking for setting time were very promising indeed, but I will save the real taste test for tomorrow! For now, I can’t stop looking at the colour:

Blood orange jars

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A Day in the Country

December 16, 2008

I have been waiting for the day I could go fruitpicking at Sorell Fruit Farm for weeks now. Today was the day!! I took my sister, an esky, sunscreen, the ute & we were off.

First we headed to the strawberry fields:

strawberry-field

There were so many strawberries!!!! We couldn’t stop picking, and eating:

strawberry-punnet

We ended up getting about 3 kilos of delicious sun-ripened strawberries. We dropped them into the farmhouse for safe-keeping while we picked some cherries:

cherries

Not black cherries but still juicy & delicious. We got about two kilos of these.

I tried to get some peaches but they were very few & too high up… But I did get some Tayberries, which I am told are a cross between blackberries & raspberries and grow on rather sprawling thorny vines.

$40 and 2 hours later, we decided to call it a day and set off back home, and I decided to make strawberry jam!

Any Berry Jam

You will need:

1.5 kilos of Berries, mixed or a single variety

1.5 kilos of white sugar

juice of 1 lemon

50 grams of Jamsetta  (actual ingredient listed is citric acid)

1/4 cup water (only if needed)

Method:

You will need a very large pot for cooking your jam in, as the volume of the liquid expands about 3-fold when boiling.  I had to use 2 pots when I realized it was going to boil over & make a mess!

Also, you will need about 6 sterilized glass jars, and a suitable method of sealing the jars (I know you can get sets with specially designed lids & seals, but I’ve never used them… I used some cellophane ones where you wet the underside & place it over the opening & secure with a rubber band). To sterilize the jars, I chose to be double-safe, and I boiled as well as baked them. Boil for ten minutes, and then (carefully!!) transfer them to the oven for as long as you want (I left mine in the oven while chopping up all my strawberries).

Wash & hull berries, and, depending on your preference, cut them in halves, quarters, or leave them whole (for some berries like raspberries, this isn’t necessary since they break up anyway).

cut-strawberries

In your pot put your fruit, lemon juice & water if needed. Cook over a low heat until fruit is tender. I got onto mine with the potato masher, because I don’t like large fruit pieces in my jam, but go with your preference here.

Add the sugar in the jamsetta/citric acid, and stir to disolve. This is where you have to turn the heat up & boil rapidly for 15-20 minutes. But be very careful of the large increase in volume! Also, bursting bubbles may splatter tiny drops of searing hot syrup, so be careful not to put your face & hands too close to the cooking jam (even if it does smell delicious!).

To test if jam has set, keep a few saucers in the freezer. Dribble a little syrup onto a cold plate after 15 minutes and put back into the freezer until it’s cold. Drag your finger across it – if it wrinkles on the surface it is set. If it doesn’t, keep boiling & test in another 5 minutes. Once your jam is set, turn off the heat & leave it until it’s completely stopped boiling (this can take up to ten minutes). Pouring the jam into the jars was the hardest part for me, first I transfered it into a large bowl with a spout:

red-bowl

But even then some of it spilled down the sides!! I just cleaned them up before I sealed them up.

I made my jam with 1 kilo of strawberries & the rest tayberries, since they were very soft & juicy & not really good for anything else:

tayberries

When I go fruitpicking next time, if I can get a couple of kilos of tayberries I will make tayberry jam aswell.

Here are the finished jars of jams, all different sizes because they are made with recycled jars:

finished-jam

I can’t wait to try some on my toast tomorrow morning!!

Now I am thinking up a recipe for the rest of the strawberries I have left (about 2 kilos). Any idea?