I mentioned the large quantities of jam in our house to Spaid, and he started reminiscing about rhubarb jam, the best jam in the world if you come from the Hebrides. I made some, adds good vibes to work.
1 kg summer rhubarb, chopped into very small segments
25 g crystalised ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
1 kg jam sugar
Chop the rhubarb and put it in the jam pan, with the finely chopped crystalised ginger, and the lemon juice. Pour the sugar over the top. Leave the mixture overnight.
The next day, heat the rhubarb and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved, and then quickly bring to a fast boil, and boil until setting point is reached.
Malcolm managed to buy some extremely cheap raspberries the other day. I came home from work and there were mad amounts of fruit in the kitchen. He had also bought some strawberries, and he made some industrial quantities of strawberry jam. I made raspberry jam and it is as red as rubies, and speckled with pips, absolutely glorious on scones.
1 kg raspberries
1 kg sugar
Juice of 1 orange (optional)
Warm the sugar in the oven
Meanwhile, put the raspberries in a large jam pan with the orange juice, and bring to a simmer
Add the sugar, and bring to a hot boil, and keep boiling until you reach setting point. I use the thermometer as a general guide, and the flake test to be sure. Don’t be afraid, a fast boil on full heat works best.
Pour into clean warmed jars and seal.
The flake test: Dip a clean wooden spoon into the jam. Hold the spoon over the pan and twist it to cool the jam, then allow the cooling jam to drip from the edge of the spoon. If the drips run together and start to set, forming wide-based ‘flakes’, then the jam is at setting point.
There are many ways to make marmalade, and lots of advice about the perfect version. This is ‘method 1’ in Bulletin 21 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, printed in 1971. I got the book at a jumble sale in 1981.
I published this tonight, as I promised the recipe to someone who’d tried the marmalade. I can’t remember if she had the Aperol batch though.
1.5 kg seville oranges
2.25 litres of water
3 kg sugar
Optional extra – 200ml of Aperol – reduce water to 2 litres
With a potato peeler, shave strips of peel from the oranges and lemons. Cut the peel very finely, into strips about 1cm long and the thickness of a penny. You don’t need to do all the peel, it depends on how much you really like it.
Put the peel in a pan with some of the water, and simmer for around 2 hours, until the peel is tender.
Cut up the rest of the fruit coarsely and simmer with the remaining water in a closed pan for around 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, strain through a colander to remove the pips.
Add the strained juice (and optional aperol) to the peel, bring to the boil and then add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved.
Bring the marmalade to a fast boil, until setting point is reached. When you have decided the marmalade is ready, turn off the heat, and skim off any foamy scum.
Let the marmalade cool quite a bit in the pan: this means that the peel distributes evenly in the jar.
This is a classic. I use a very old version from a book by Marguerite Patten; the book is priced 2/6! The jam is best with rhubarb cut late in the year. I have recently reviewed this alongside the ‘Maw Broon’s cookbook’ and updated it. As usual, most of the ingredients can be ethically sourced.
800g-1kg Rhubarb, locally grown
200g crystalised ginger
1kg jam sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Cut the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces, and cover with the sugar to stand overnight.
Chop the ginger finely and sprinkle into the sugar.
Cook slowly in a jam pan, until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Heat quickly until the jam is thick, and boil for about 15 minutes.
I got given some quinces so I had a stab at making quince marmalade. I added some essence of roses, and it was inspired. Thank you to Mrs Bird.
5 Quinces – each quince produces around 100g flesh
500g jam sugar
2 tbsp rose water
I wiped the fuzz off the quinces, put them in a pan and covered them in water, and simmered in a covered pan for an hour.
Once the quinces were tender, I cooled them, peeled and cored them and chopped the flesh up into small chunks.
I added the peel and cores to the remaining water and boiled this up with the zest of the lemon. The liquid started to change to a gentle light red.
I strained the liquid, and then added the rose water and lemon juice, and made the volume up to around 300ml
I put the chopped quince into the liquid, and started boiling, as the colour darkened I added the jam sugar, and boiled to setting point. (I used a jam thermometer, but I also used the cold plate technique)
I poured into clean jars that I had heated up in the oven.
The test on the spoon was wonderful, but the true test will be in the morning when I try it on toast.