How To… make any jam.

This post is part of the Nutritional Health Series, check the tag for the other posts!

Jam is a great way to make use of large amounts of fruit or slightly damaged or defrosted fruit. Many people don’t think they have the time for jam, but really, it’s fast, simple and will save you a lot of money on wasted fruit and buying jams!

1: The basics.

Jams come in three distinct forms. A jelly, made from only the juice. A jam, made from crushed fruit and juice. And a compote, a jelly with whole fruit preserved in it. They are all made largely from fruit and sugar, but sometimes use gelling agents like pectin or gelatine to help them along.

2: Fruit.

You need fruit for a jam or jelly. At least 500g or 1lb of fruit is needed to make a large portion of jam, but with the microwave method you can make smaller batches! Fruit juice is also an option.

In some jams, like marmalade, you use the rinds of the fruit as well as the flesh and juice.

3: Sugar.

The most efficient sugars for jam are crystal sugars, like white sugar, demarera sugar or brown cane sugar. But soft sugars like honey, palm sugar or maple syrup can work too, with a bit more patience.

The perfect ratio for jam is between 50/50 and 1/3 sugar to 2/3 fruit.

4: Gelling.

If you’re really not sure your jam will set, consider using a gelling agent.

  • Pectin is a natural fruit gelling agent you can use to firm up a jam.
  • Gelatine comes from animal bones and collagen, but may make your jam too solid.
  • Packaged jelly is easier to use for a bit of flavoured firmness.
  • Agar is a seaweed product that is used instead of gelatine in veg*n dishes.

5: In a pot.

The traditional way. You put your fruit in a pot and simmer until it begins to break down and release fluids. Then you add the sugar slowly, stirring the whole time. Reduce the jam and let it cool.

6: Microwave.

Small batches of jam can be made in the microwave. Just crush the fruit and sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl, cook for a minute at a time and stir in between until it becomes viscous.

7: Raw.

If you combine gelatinous fruit, like bananas, persimmons or lychee, with your sweet fruit and sugar of choice, you can make a tasty raw jam. Just blend 1/3 gelatinous fruit with 1/3 fruit pulp (mash the sweet fruit and squeeze the juice out) and 1/3 your sugar of choice. A viscous sugar like palm sugar, maple syrup or honey works best.

8: Jars.

Traditional jams can be preserved in a jar. Be sure to soak the jar in boiling water first and fill and seal it while it’s still hot. If you have a canning station, this may be the best option, but otherwise hot jam into a hot jar and seal works fine. My jams last a whole year like this without going off.

9: Fridge.

Microwave and raw jams are best kept more aerated in a bowl with a lid in the fridge. They keep 5-10 days, less if less sugar is involved.

And that’s how to make any jam you fancy. Almost all fruits can be jammed, but gelatinous fruits, apples, pears and berries will jam easier due to their high pectin content!

What’s your favourite jam or preserve?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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WWW. Meatloaf and Banana Pancakes.

This week’s lunch was made in a bit of a rush. I forgot to get enough bacon, so I had to hurry to the shops to get another pack. Still, all turned out well.

 

Recipe 1: Meatloaf and Veggie Chips.

Ingredients:

Meatloaf serves 6, chips serve 2.

-300g/10.6oz parboiled potatoes

-300g/10.6oz mince

-6-8 rashers of bacon

-2tsp salt

-1tsp paprika

-2 large parsnips

-1 small sweet potato

-2tbsp olive oil

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl and potato masher

-1 deep cake tray

-1 flat oven tray

Recipe:

1: Peel/wash and slice the parsnips and sweet potato.

2: Put in the flat tray, toss in olive oil and place in the oven at 200C/390F for 15min.

3: Mash the potato, mince, salt and paprika together.

4: Lay the bacon strips along the base of the deep tray.

5: Pour the mince and potato mix into the bacon. Fold over any loose ends of bacon.

6: Place in the oven alongside the chips. Lower to 160C/70F. Cook for 30min, or until the chips are brown and the loaf is cooked through.

7: Serve with goat’s cheese or mustard (or both!).

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Recipe 2: Paleo Pancakes.

A really simple recipe that I love but Jon isn’t sure of.

Ingredients:

Serves 4.

-3-4 small bananas

-2-3 large eggs

-2tsp cinnamon

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and blender

-frying pan (nonstick or greased)

Recipe:

1: Blend the eggs and bananas together.

2: Fry either as small pancakes or one huge one.

3: Serve with cream and berries.

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Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Fruits of the Forest Pie!

Because he’s off for Friday and is only working the morning tomorrow, Jon decided to come home for lunch today. So we had the Wok and an at-home lunch on the same day. Always makes me happy when that happens. 🙂

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Recipe 1: Cottage pie.

Made entirely with cheap ingredients, as a bit of a challenge. Around £2 for the lot and it made 4 servings, so that’s pretty good. Jon gave it a 4/5 in terms of quality, but that’s not bad considering how little it cost and how filling it was!

Ingredients:

-800g/28.2oz potatoes

-300g/10.6oz mince

-100g/3.5oz bacon

-1 tin peeled plum tomatoes (400g/14.1oz)

-1 carton chopped tomato (400g/14.1oz)

-50g/1.7oz butter

-2tbsp herbs

-1tsp chilli

-1tsp pepper

-1tsp salt

-1/2tsp cinnamon

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Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-small pot

-potato masher or fork

-deep baking tray

Recipe:

1: Wash,  maybe peel, and slice the potatoes into small cubes.

2: Boil them.

3: Take the tomato, the bacon, 25g/0.9oz of butter, the chilli and the herbs. Mix together in the tray.

4: Put the bacon mix in the oven at 180-200C/355-390F for around 20min.

5: When the potatoes are soft, almost entirely drain them.

6: Mash the potatoes with the last of the butter, the salt, the pepper and the cinnamon.

7: Add the mince to the baking tray.

8: Spoon or pipe the potato evenly on top of the mince mix.

9: Bake at 160C/320F for around 1h.

There is no way to make this look more attractive. In many ways it's kind of worse than curry...

There is no way to make this look more attractive. In many ways it’s kind of worse than curry…

Recipe 2: Fruits of the Forest Pie.

Very, very easy and very cheap if you don’t use expensive jam or swap it for honey and a dash of fruit juice. As it stood, we had a jar of 100% fruit jam that I wanted to use. Also amazingly good. Jon gave it a 4.5/5.

Ingredients:

Makes 6 large slices or 8-12 smaller ones.

-200g/7oz plain flour

-150g/5.3oz butter

-100ml water

-3tbsp sugar/honey/concentrated grape/other sweetener

-200g/7oz mixed berries

-100g/3.5oz raisins/sultanas/currants

-2tbsp berry jam

-1 egg

Utensils:

-2 mixing bowls

-1 fork or cutter

-1 spoon

-1 rolling pin

-1 small, sharp knife

-1 brush

-1 baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour, sweetener and butter together until crumbs are formed.

2: Add the water little by little until the consistency of the dough is firm to the touch, elastic and not sticky. You won’t need all the water.

3: Place the dough in the fridge to cool.

4: Mix the berries, jam and raisins together in a bowl. Don’t worry about rehydrating the raisins, they will rehydrate themselves when cooking!

5: When the dough is cooled, take it out and break off 2/3 of it. Work the dough until it’s pliable again.

6: Roll it into a ball and roll it out until its as big as the pan, plus the height of the sides, plus about 1cm.

7: Grease the pan.

8: Carefully lower the dough into your pan. Press it into the corners.

9: Place in an oven at 160C/320F for 10-15min.

10: Whisk the egg.

11: Take the pie base and brush it all over with the beaten egg. Place back in the oven for 5min.

12: Fill the pie with the berry mix.

13: Take the other 1/3 of the dough and work it.

14: Roll it into a ball and roll it out so that the sections will go across the pie.

15: Using your sharp knife, slice the dough into a quadrilateral. Slice it into 6 or 12 strips.

16: Lay the strips over the top of the pie, weaving them.

17: Squish the strips onto the side of the pie and add egg to ensure they stick.

18: Glaze with more egg.

19: Bake at 160C/320F for 50min.

You can save the remaining egg for scrambled eggs or an omelet.

A more photogenic dish.

A more photogenic dish.

Mmm, pie!

Mmm, pie!

 

And that’s what Jon had for lunch today. He was very pleased. 😀