Tag Archives: Jam

I wanna jam it wid you …

5 Jul

I’ve been going jam crazy over the last couple of weeks. Mango, apricot, apple, blueberry … I have more jam in my fridge than I know what to do with. It’s easy to get carried away because it’s really so easy to make jam and, trust me, homemade jams taste undescribably better than store bought ones. Check out the recipe for the mango jam I made HERE. The picture above is an apricot jam I made using organic apricots: an indulgence surely, but organic fruit (or food for that matter) is much tastier and better and I was in the mood for some superior goodness.  I used just 4 smallish apricots which yielded slightly more jam to filla 30 ml jar with. I included the recipe for the apricot Jam in this month’s Don’t Call Me Chef column which focused on preserved food. Click HERE for the article/recipe.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve found numerous sites on jam making online that are quite  interesting. My next jam project is with tomatoes. I haven’t quite completed my research on tomato jam (I kinda go crazy with “research”) yet but  you could check out THIS link for a Tomato Jam which looks quite fun to make.

For simple, basic tips on making your own jam check THIS site which gives you ten tips for making the perfect jam, jelly or marmalade. It’s really all you need to know if you aren’t keen on trawling the net for 100 different ways to make a simple bottle of jam.

If you too, like me, have gone J-amok and have too much jam on your hands, you may want to consider baking with Jam.  I made some PEANUT BUTTER AND JAM COOKIES last week and they were an easy and tasty alternative to your standard PBJ sandwich. HERE’s another pretty cookie I want to try sometime soon: Almond Linzer star cookies, they’re called.

Pies and tarts are also a wonderful way of utilising your jam. I like this recipe for Italian Jam tart on The Fresh Loaf:  just click here.

If you’ve got any ideas, I’d love to hear them and try them too. Let’s all jam together, shall we?

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PBJ cookies

2 Jul

What’s better than PBJ sandwiches? How about PBJ cookies? They’re flourless (yes, you read right), have practically no sugar and takes just about 30 mins to make from start to finish.

This recipe was screaming my name when I skimmed it on the Internet. I have a jar of homemade peanut butter and another of homemade jam and I’ve been stuffing myself silly with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and it was getting a little stale.

So I begin surfing for ideas and came upon two great recipes, both of which were twists to the classic PBJ. The first uses peanut butter in a loaf cake; the loaf cake is then sliced and sandwiched with jam. Oh, my. I so wanted to try this.

The second was a recipe was for this flourless PBJ thumbprint cookies on a blog Healthy Food for Living. Say what? A flourless peanut butter cookie?  I just had to try this one too.

I settled on the cookies simply because I had to leave for the gym in an hour and a half which didn’t leave much time to bake a cake. With the cookies, I had plenty of time to not just bake them but also photograph them and eat a couple: heck, I was going to exercise my butt off, I might as well make it worth my effort! 😛

What you need

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg white, lightly whisked

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Jam

Preheat the over to 180C. Mix the peanut butter, egg white, sugar, baking soda and vanilla extract in a bowl till everything is well incorporated.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Using a spoon, scoop the cookie dough and shape it into a ball. Using your thumb or finger, make an indentation in the center. Cool, crater cookies 🙂 Repeat the same process with the rest of the cookie dough. You should get about 8 cookies. Make sure you leave about an inch between the cookies.

Now, use a teaspoon to fill the craters with jam.

Bake for 10-15 mins or till the cookies start to get golden. They will be crispy on the outside but a little soft inside. Allow to cool (and harden a little) before gobbling them down!

That’s it.

Jam packed goodness

25 Jun

When I told my friend Shirley  I would be making jam, she asked if I’d been watching re-runs of Freinds a lot recently. You remember the episode when Monica goes mad over jam making and ends up making and bottling jars and jars  of homemade jam (and joey dipping his fingers in the mix and contaminating a couple of batches?). I wish I were Monica: that woman can cook up a storm and still look gorgeous.

Well, actually it wasn’t Monica I was channeling.  Our  theme for next month’s (July’s) Don’t Call Me Chef (a monthly column in The Star) is preserved food. Not cooking with preserved food but preserving food: it can be pickles, jam, preserved fruit … the choices were open.  Thing is, I’ve never really done it before so it required quite a bit of legwork: I’m  a bit anal that way.

I decided to start my research by making a simple jam. Actually, I ‘ve had jam on my “things I have to make)  list for quite a few years now. But though poeple say lists help you focus and achieve your goals, my lists just keep on growing … they grow at a rate I doubt I’ll ever be able to catch up. Don’t believe it? I have 150 items on my “things I have to make” list!

So anyway, I did a lot of reading up on jam making and turns out it isn’t complicated. Traditional jam is fruit cooked, usually to a pulp, with sugar to set. That’s it. What you would need is fruit (basically any fruit you fancy though I would be wary of durian for jam!), sugar and lime/lemon juice or vinegar). Some add pectin (to set the jam and get the right consistency) but this really depends as the natural pectin from the fruit is usually quite sufficient for the jam to set.

The sugar content is usually quite high and though you, like me, may consider cutting down on the sugar (fruit is sweet, after all) you may not want to be overzealous in doing so as the sugar actually helps preserve fruit. Reducing the sugar may result in reducing the preserving power of your jam.

I chose to make mango jam simply because I love mangoes are they are in season at the moment and easily available.

Mango Jam

1 kg ripe, sweet mangoes

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

Peel and cube mango. Blend 3/4 of the cubed fruit to a puree. I didn’t blend all the fruit as I wanted the jam a little chunky. Mix the pureed+cubed jam with the sugar in a stainless steel bowl and let it stand for 30 mins or longer (to allow the flavours to mix).

Using a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron, anodized aluminium, copper are good) so that the heat is distributed evenly and the sugar does not burn. Add the mango+sugar and cook (med to high heat), stirring ocassionally so that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom.

The mixture will soon bubble up: big, rolling bubbles that rise up the sides of the pot. Should there be a light-coloured foam on the surface, skin it off gently. Stir every now and then. The almost jam should start to  boil down and smaller, thicker bubbles will replace the boisterous ones.  bubbles.

How long to boil? Well once it boils down and the jam starts to leave the sides of the pan, you can test the consistency  by putting a teaspoonful of the hot mixture on to a cold plate. It should set almost immediately. If it’s the consistency you like, it’s almost ready. If not, continue boiling for a bit.

When it reaches the consistency you like, add the lemon juice and stir it in. Turn  off the heat and  ladle the jam into the sterilised jars – douse the jars and the lid with boiling hot water. Seal the jars tight, place them upside down in about 4 inches of hot water for a few minutes to seal shut. When the jam is cool, store in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator. The jam  should last for about 6 months  if properly sealed. Once opened it has to be refrigerated.