- Thane Prince: 'There’s something quiet and proper about jam-making' - Telegraph:
In Perfect Preserves, Thane explains in jolly, practical prose the subtle differences between jams, jellies, butters, marmalades and chutneys.
Preserving is not just for harvest festival time, she says, it’s a year-round effort.
“It starts in the spring with marmalade – those oranges come in in February – and runs all the way through to December, when I make my cranberry vodka.
“With sugar, acid and pectin, you can set anything.
Best Ever Raspberry jam
This is probably my favourite recipe for jam.
I always make small batches as this jam is best eaten fresh Frozen berries work well allowing a taste of summer when snow is abundant.
500gm freshly picked or thawed frozen raspberries
500gm white sugar
Put 3-4 200ml washed and dried jam jars on a baking sheet then place in an over set to 150º C
Have a couple of small plates in the fridge or freezer
Place the berries and sugar into a heavy bottomed steel or enamelled pan and cook over a low heat until the fruit melts and the sugar is fully dissolved.
Bring the mixture up to boiling point and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
Switch off the heat and test for a set. Drop a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate, wait about 30 seconds then push the edge of the puddle gently with your finger.
If you can see the surface wrinkling your jam is ready if not re-boil testing every 2 minutes, again using the timer to keep track.
Once you are happy with the set, pot the jam into the hot jars cover with lids and allow to cool
Check the lids are tightly on and label before storing in a cool dark larder or cupboard
Thane Prince's gooseberry and elderflower curd
”A curd is, basically, a set custard, a silky-soft luxury.”
125g salted butter
100ml elderflower cordial
200g white caster sugar
Place the washed gooseberries in a pan over a low heat, with just the water that clings to them, cover and cook until the fruit softens and boils.
Rub the mixture through a sieve into a round-bottomed pan.
Lightly whisk the eggs until smooth, and add to the pan, along with the butter cut into 1cm cubes, the elderflower cordial and sugar.
Put the pan on a very low heat and srir constantly with a wooden spoon, as though scrambling eggs.
Cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and the butter melted.
The mixture should not feel gritty when stirred, and there should be no signs of sugar on the back of your spoon.
Turn the heat up a notch to low, stirring constantly, cook the curd until it is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
Do not stop stirring or leave the pan; do not let the mixture bubble.
When the curd has thickened – remembering it will thicken more as it cools – take the pan from the heat.
Pot the curd into sterilised jars, using a jam funnel and a ladle.
Cover with the lids and leave to cool.
When the jars are cold, label them and check the lids are firmly screwed on.
Store in the fridge; unopened, it keeps for up to four weeks.
Yield approx. 1kg | Keeps 6 months
350g red onions
1–2 fresh red chillies
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
500ml cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
400g white granulated sugar
Wash the berries in a colander and shake off as much water as possible.
Tip them into a large heavy-bottomed, non-reactive preserving pan.
Peel and finely chop the onions and the garlic.
Chop the chilli.
I leave the pith and seeds in, but for a milder flavour take these out.
Grind the seeds, berries and peppercorns finely, using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle.
Now put everything but the sugar into the pan with the blackberries. Place this over a moderate heat, and bring the mixture up to a simmer.
It should bubble gently.
Cover with the lid and cook gently for 30–40 minutes or until everything is very soft.
Remember to stir from time to time.
Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, as blending the hot mixture can be explosive.
Once the ketchup has cooled a little, spoon it into the blender and whizz until smooth. It may be necessary to do this in batches.
You now need to sieve the ketchup to remove any unwanted lumps, skins etc. Place a sieve over a glass bowl and, using a wooden spoon, rub the mixture through the sieve until you have a dry, fibrous residue left in the sieve.
Place some clean bottles and/or jars and their lids on a baking tray and then into the oven preheated to 100 C/200 F/ Gas 2 for 20 minutes.
Return the ketchup to the washed saucepan and add the sugar, stirring it in well.
Put the pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Simmer the ketchup over a medium heat until thick, about 15 minutes, stirring often, as it has a tendency to stick to the pan at this stage.
Once it is as thick as you wish, remembering that it will thicken on cooling, remove the ketchup from the heat and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.
Take the baking tray of bottles/jars from the oven at the same time.
Stir the ketchup once more, then pot into the hot jars or bottles, using a funnel, and leaving a headspace of about 2cm at the top of each bottle or 1cm at the top of each jar.
Screw the lids on loosely and allow to cool.
When cold, label the bottles or jars, and check the lids are tight. Store in a cool, dark place or the fridge.
- Thane Prince's Blog: www.thanecooks.blogspot.com
and - http://thanecooks.wordpress.com/
and - http://www.thaneprince.com/
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