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Blackberry & Kiwi Jam

8 May

I haven’t thought of a name for this jam yet.  I’m into weird names or nicknames for things I make.  Lately I have been considering song titles, I will make a jam that is deemed appropriate to be named “Bad Romance” I am thinking this one could be it, but I would need a tasting panel for final vote.

Anywho.  The deets.

This jam is ah-mazingly delicious.  The jams I have been making lately are more for english muffins or baguettes.  This one however, will be perfect for the classic PB&J.  Its been a while!

2 Pints Blackberries
7 Kiwis
1 Lemon
1 Cup Sugar
1 Low sugar/no sugar pectin pack

Kiwi’s must be season right now, as they are on sale for 5/$1.00 at my local Henry’s.  I used to have the perfect little list of seasonal fruits and vegetables arranged by month, but I have no idea what happened to it.  :/

Peel and rinse all the kiwis.  You could go through the hassle of using an actual peeler, I use a small knife.  Clean the berries and juice the lemon, set aside the lemon juice.

Using a non-reactive pot, ie stainless steel, put your kiwis in and berries on about medium heat.  I cover them and let the fruit get warm, then I can go in with a potato masher and smush them all.  I haven’t yet bought a immersion blender, even though every time I am on Amazon I look at it and read tons of reviews.  Then later curse myself in the kitchen.

So obviously, next step is mushing.  Once that is done, stir in lemon juice and increase heat to medium/high.  Add your pectin, stir well, then add your sugar, blend until its all dissolved.

Increase heat to get a rapid boil that you cannot stir away.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Turn off heat and begin canning procedures, boil in a water bath, or freeze.

Makes about 6 jars.  

Tropic Thunder: Pineapple Habanero Jam

24 Apr

This ain’t yo mama’s jam.  Or your Grandmama’s for that matter.

Pineapple Habanero Jam.  I saw the idea on a Chowhound forum.  However, they added like 15 habaneros, without the seeds or ribs, and like 6 cups of sugar.  RIDICULOUS!

Pineapples are naturally sweet and acidic, which helps keep the entire batch maintain an acidic level for canning. I don’t think they is any reason to add a lot of sugar to any jam, personally.

2 Pineapples, free of skin
3 Habanero peppers with seeds and rib pieces
1 Cup Sugar
1 Pack low sugar pectin
3 Limes, juiced
Sea Salt

Sounds like a cocktail, I know.  I almost added rum, however I don’t have rum in my house, that’s the only reason.

I cut my first pineapple in half, then blended 1/2 of that and the other pineapple until is was smoothie consistency.  The other half I cut in fourths and cut them into thin triangular slices.  This was mostly for vanity in the jars, you’ll have the cloudy yellow of the pineapple, the diced peppers and thin triangles of pineapple in your canning jar.

I would suggest you wear gloves for cutting habaneros, I always do.  Dice your peppers into fine little pieces, nothing too microscopic.

Juice your limes, the 3 of them should yield almost 1/3 cup.

Add your Pineapple and peppers to a non reactive pot, ie stainless steel, or a Le Creuset French oven, which is what I always use.

Bring mixture to medium heat, almost bringing it to a boil.  I let it cook for about 10 minutes, because the blended pineapple is so foamy.  It brings it down a bit.

Add sugar and pectin, bring to a rapid boil that you can’t stir down.  Boil for 3 minutes.

Lower heat and add in lime juice, blend, and add about 3 grinds of sea salt.  Not a lot, just a tiny bit to balance out the acid.

Turn off heat and follow canning procedures, and seal in a water bath.
 Makes about 6 jars. 

Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

22 Apr
I sat at my dining table for at least an hour chopping up meyer lemons into itty bitty triangles. I am the lemon queen.
This is the first time I have tried marmalade, and I didn’t want to buy some from the store, do you know how much sugar they put into it? Holy S! Its ridiculous! Its going to taste bitter no matter what because of the rind, I made my jams with honey only up to yesterday. I had to use some sugar for the marmalades, I used less than recommended, I think they came out just fine.

Marmalades take forever, and I probably won’t make them again. I don’t like the bitterness.
I found several recipes online and they were all confusing and not what I wanted. So here is a recipe with lower sugar than most.

10 Meyer Lemons
2 cups sugar
1 Vanilla Bean
5 Cups water
1 Cheesecloth*

Prepare your canning jars, sterilize them and have them waiting with your equipment. Put a small plate into the freezer.

Chop off the ends of the lemon, set aside. Cut up lemons into little triangle, save all membranes and seeds, set aside with the lemon ends.
Wrap the lemon ends and all those bits and pieces into the cheesecloth so you can “steep” it into the mixture. Secure it with bakers twine.

Add lemons, 5 cups of water and the lemon bag and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. This should release the natural pectin in the rinds and seeds.

Taste a lemon to see if the rind is soft. If its to your liking, remove the seed bag and set into a bowl to cool. I turned off the heat while the bag cooled and worked on my jars and such. Once the bag is cool enough, ring it out to squeeze the last bit of pectin out, it should be cloudy, almost cream like consistency. Add that to the lemon mixture.

Cut your vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape all the beans out with the tip of your knife. Add to the mixture. Cut the remaining bean into small strips and add into the pot as well.
Add your sugar, bring mixture to a boil for 30 minutes or until it has jelled to your liking, use the plate in the freezer and drop a bit on it to see if it starts to hold it shape. If it is runny, you can continue to cook it. I am not a stickler on this, I ended up cooking mine for about 45 minutes then canned it.

Pour mixture into jars when ready and seal them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (depending on where you live)

*Side note: If you have a juicer you can skip the cheesecloth bit.  Take all the seeds and membranes and juice them.  You will get a thick pudding like liquid, this is the pectin left in the rind.  This yields almost 1/3 a cup.  The best part is that you don’t have to use a cheesecloth, which is annoying.

Kiwi Jalapeno Jam

22 Apr
I think this has been called “Kissin’ Jam” because its sweet and spicy. I left the jalapeno seeds in, because I like it hot, really hot… Just like my kissing… hmm nice segway.

Anyway, its pretty easy, just a bunch of knife work for the most part. I am waiting for kiwi’s to go on sale, only occasionally they are 5/$1, right now they are 3/$1. I bought about 22 for the recipe.

22 Kiwis, or about 3 Lbs
5 Jalapenos, seeds or no seeds
1/2 C. Sugar
1 Pack no sugar pectin

I sliced all the skins off the kiwis, and I cut a few into slices. You don’t really need to slice them, once they get warm you can mash them against the side of your pot.

Dice the jalapenos and add them into the pot.

Bring to a boil, its a mooshy boil, but a low boil nonetheless, add sugar, stir well until blended entirely.

Add pectin and cook on high for about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and start the canning process. You can seal your jars in a water bath or go the freezer jam method.
I have tried this jam in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and its not the best I have ever had, however, this tastes amazing on an english muffin or toast with butter, and with goat cheese on a baguette, nom. Besides, its a beauty in the jar if I say so myself.

Note on sugar: I never use a lot of sugar in my jams, I don’t think I need to enhance natural fruit flavor with additional sugar. As long as my content is acidic enough I generally cut down or I use a bit of honey in all my recipes. If the batch is not acidic enough I just freeze it.