Tag Archives: preserved food

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?

Apple and raisin chutney

27 Jun

Originating from India, chutney is truly one of the best condiments there is. No sauce can truly compare. Sweet or spicy, chutney is your food’s best friend. Southern Indians eat idli (steamed rice cakes) and thosai (Indian pancakes)  with spicy chutneys — usually coconut, tomato or mint. Though dhal curry is also often added to make the meal less dry, chutney is undoubtedly the main attraction.

Sweet chutneys are quite different and are almost always made from fruit — mango is a popular Indian sweet chutney —  and are eaten with Indian breads and also rice.

From India though it may be, the popularity of chutneys also spread to the West. As stories go, chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the 17th century. These are primarily the sweet chutneys, not so much  the spicy ones.

Let’s focusing on sweet chutneys for now. Actually, they’re sweet-sour. The consistency of chutney is similar to salsa or relish . It almost always contains fruit or vegetables (crushed or mashed),  sugar, vinegar and onions. Other ingredients like spices are also added: cardamom, mustard seeds, cinnamon … the choices are endless.

Basically, the ingredients are mixed and then simmered in a long, slow process. Time is what you must have when you embark on a chutney project.

The good thing about chutney is you can practucally use any fruit you wish: from strawberries to apples to tomatoes and mango — you can create a fruit chutney of your choice and chances are it’ll turn out great. You can also use blemished (not rotten) fruit: the fruit will be crushed and cooked for a looooooooooong time so it’s ok.

Chutney can be chunky or smooth and can keep refrigerated for about a month.

Apple raisin chutney (from One Perfect Bite)

4 cups cooking apples (like Granny Smith),  peeled, cored and chopped.

1/2 cup water

1 cup finely chopped onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 can (14.5-oz.) peeled, chopped tomatoes, undrained

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place apples in a 3 quart pan with water and cook, covered for about 20-30 mins or  until apples are soft.
Meanwhile, combine onions, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, raisins, sugar, curry powder, mustard seeds and salt in another heavy bottomed saucepan, low heat. Stir to mix well.
Once apples are cooked, mash apples and add to mixture in saucepan. Mix well and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Keep stirring occasionally, reducing the heat. let it simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir often to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The chutney should be thick (though still slightly wet) when done.

Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Transfer to lidded jars. It will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. It will keep in freezer up to 6 months.