This is already the third batch of this orange marmalade I cooked in the last month. Partly because the marmalade is so delicious and partly because I tweaked every batch a bit more until I reached a state of perfection (at least for me). The idea of cooking and then pureeing whole oranges I took form Christine Ferbers “Jam bible”. And already the first batch made after her recipe was great. But the bitterness was a bit to strong for me and so I started to tweak. I changed the time for cooking and the ratio of juice and whole fruits.
And I tested different kinds of oranges. My favourite is the Canoneta, but every juice orange is a good choose as the mesocarp (the white thing between rind and fruit) is thinner and so the marmalade is less bitter. But if you can get tangrin I can only highly recommend to add some to the mixture, too. They add a deepness of flavour that is incomparable.
And so the third batch is now a big candidate for the title “Favourite Jam of 2017” and in combination with freshly baked brioche it can replace every cake for me.
Whenever I snack tiny spoonful of the delicious rosehip jam, I close my eyes and remember sunlit wild rosebushes on beautiful morning in October. While around our home there are only few bushes with small fruits, in Swabia you can find a lot beautiful fruits. And so we used our saturday morning stroll to pick some fruits. With four people more then a kilogram is fast picked.
The fruits then traveled home with us and the next day I started making jam. Before I checked different methodes and decided to first cook them, puree them and then pass them through different sieves to remove the seeds and seed hairs. Cooking Rosehip Jam is a time consuming task but nevertheless rewarding. I find that adding enough water while passing the fruit pulp through the food mill is crucial to get all of the fruit puree through the
That’s why I ended with 1 kg of Fruit pulp and about 500h of seeds. The pulp I mixed then with half of the amount of sugar and cooked for 2 minutes. Then the jam was nicely thick then and very delicious. To make sure that the jam keeps well (with this low amount of sugar) I decided to sterilize the jam as do I do it for my Zwetschgenmus. And now I enjoy the jam every morning 🙂
Some recipes have to be made in big batches as they are favourites. The summer squash salsa from Irmela Erckenbrechts cookbook “Zucchini” is a such a family favourite. It taste great as spread on fresh bread, as dip for nachos, as barbeque sauce or as fast dinner with pasta. And so we normally quadruple the amount given in the book directly.
And last year, when the sister moved last summer we carried carefully the many, many glasses freshly made salsa down stairs of the old flat and up the stairs into the new one. And were rewarded at the end of the day with salsa and nachos – a story with happy end.
The recipe is great to use some of the giant summer squashes which had reached one kilo ore more, growing hided under leaves. I got some of these giants from a colleague and – of course – we cook salsa with them. And so Winter can come, we are stocked with 20 glasses salsa now 🙂
Since last year I’m totally in love with cooking jams without gelling sugar. I love the old fashioned flavour and that I have all ingredients I need (which are sugar and lemon juice) always at hand. No need for extra shopping… And so I change slowly all of our favourite jam recipes.
The four favourite jams here are Blueberry, Red Currant and raspberry,Blackberry und plum butter. Apricot jam is raking not so high but having some glasses around is essential for baking cakes. And so I did not hesitate when there where beautiful apricots on sale last week. As apricots – like blackberries – contain a middle amount of pectin, I choose carefully some not so ripe fruits, to go along with the ripe ones. The reason behind is that unripe fruits have a higher content of pectin. Adding some lemon juice helps with the gelling process as well.
After half an hour of simmering, the jam has a deep apricot flavour which is one million times better then everything you can buy. Even my love was nodding his head approvingly when I was urging him to test. So this jam has the potential to rise high in our favourite list!
For a good start in our weekend I cooked some delicious burgers. And making burgers means always preparing everything fresh, from bun to the patty and the sauce. Add something special, I decided to make a honey mustard sauce.
The basis for it was a thick syrup made with vinegar and honey, flavoured with some celery. This was then mixed with egg and mustard and oil to make a good mayonnaise. The finishing touch was a pinch of green curry powder and some cress.
When the quinces turn golden in my parents garden then we are in the middle of autumn. And our flat is filled with the rich perfume of the fruits as I tend to place them strategically in living room and kitchen to enjoy my favourite autumn flavour as much as possible.
Qunices are rich on pektin so they are perfect for jelly making. I use them with peel and core and although add some green ones to the batch, as these are especially high on pektin. Preparing the fruits is then quite easy as they just have to cut into pieces. Then they are cooked with water until tender. The longer you cook them, the deeper the colour will become, ranging from amber to red. For an extra plus I always add some vanilla , as it underlines so nicely the delicate quince flavour.
Since three years I use my Slowcooker to cook plum butter. This is very relaxed as I just have to remove the plum pits the night before and turn on the slow cooker. I put the lid on the cooker in a right angle, leaving a gap so the evaporated water can escape. After 12 hours cooking on “High” the juice has reduced a good deal and after pureeing it needs another three to four hours until it reaches the perfect thick consistence.
The dearest one likes his plum butter without a lot of spices, so I add only half of a cinnamon stick and a tiny little bit of a vanilla bean. Just enough to underline the flavour without shining through. And as I use only a bit of sugar, I preserve the glasses of plum butter, just to be on the safe side. Last year I tested Michas Methode with boiling the glasses covered with water in a big pot. It worked like a charm and the plum butter kept well for one year.
The sunny and hot days of the last week turns the first blackberries into dark and delicious treats. And so we went to pick berries early on Saturday morning . Natures plenty was very overwhelming and in little more then an hour we picked three kilogram. And because I read Christine Ferbers “Marmeladenbibel” we picked some red, unripe blackberries as well. The reason for this the fact that blackberries contain less pectin then red currants or blueberries. Adding some unripe fruits increase the pectin content because they contain much more pectin then ripe fruits. They add some acidity as well which support the gelling process as well.
The rest of the recipe is 100% me, as I does not like to macerate blackberries with sugar (as Madame Ferber suggest), because this turns the blackberries into hard, small pieces. And so I cook the jam similar to the red currant and raspberry jam. And after 20 min of simmering even the unripe fruits softens completely and I’m very happy with the delicious jam I got in the end.
It’s early in the morning, the air is nicely warm and the wind carries the fungous smell of moist forest ground. All around us are blueberry bushes in the light shadow of birches and pine trees. This means summer for me! Slowly we pick berry and berry. After two hours I feel completely relaxed and our basket contains one kilogram of Blueberries.
Back home we washed the fruits, picked out the leaves and started to cook blue berry jam. Again we decided to go for the purist version using just blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. The lemon juice adds some tartness and is important for the gelling process. Together with sugar the acid is needed to bring the pectin molecules closer together to form pectin chains which is the reason why the jam is gelling.
And as I had the feeling that recipes for jams made without jelly sugar is interesting for some people, is here my recipe for blueberry jam:
The 1:1 gelling sugar was sold out this weekend in our supermarket. Buying 2:1 or 3:1 was not an option for me as I like to avoid having preservatives like potassium sorbate in my homemade jams. All 2:1 and 3:1 gelling sugars contain some preservatives to cope with the reduced amount sugar. And so I stand in the sugar aisle, mused about jam making and decided to cook it in the “good old way” without gelling sugar.
Since some years I cook already my quince jelly only with quince juice, sugar and citron juice if needed, and always get an red-orange jelly with an intense flavour. Red currants contains a lot of pectin as well and so cooking them without gelling sugar sounded like a good idea. To reduce the risk of burning the jam, I let the berries simmer for 20 minutes without sugar, before I pass the softened fruits through a sieve and mixed it with the sugar. Starting with 1750g berries I ended with 1000g berry pulp and about 350g leftover seeds, meaning that a lot of water was evaporated. This leads to a dark red, aromatic jam and I’m sure that I will do my red currant jams in this way now all the time!