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I have never made ‘curd’ before, but my sister made lemon curd last year that was delicious, and while making the gooseberry jam the other day found a note for this recipe in my ‘River Cottage Preserves’ book. It is actually a recipe for Bramley lemon curd, but a note at the bottom suggests replacing the apples with gooseberries.
So I took 450g of Papa Peacock’s gooseberries (topped and tailed) and the zest of 2 unwaxed lemons and steamed these in the microwave (8 mins), then smushed the fruit through a sieve to make a smooth purée. I put this in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water and added 125g of butter and 450g of sugar and the juice of the lemons and melted the butter. Then slowly poured in 4 large beaten eggs, whisking them in with a balloon whisk. Then I turned up the heat and cooked the mixture for 10 mins, my jam thermometer confirmed it had all reached 82 degrees c. Then when all smooth, glossy and creamy, I poured it into sterilised jars.
I have to say it is a bit of a faff, balancing the bowl on the saucepan with the thermometer and whisk threatening to tip the hot curd all over the hob, but absolutely worth the bother the curd is yummy scrummy, like the filling in a posh french ‘tarte au citron’, with an added fruity gooseberry fragrance. The book says it will last 4 weeks – yeah right!

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Smooth Gooseberry Jam

July 4, 2012

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Papa Peacock’s allotment provided us with a super huge bag of gorgeous big juicy gooseberries at the weekend. So I got out the jam pan (I don’t have a jam pan, I use my stock pot!).
My girls are incredibly picky and refuse any jam with ‘bits’ in it, and as these gooseberries had a few big black seeds in them I decided to go through all the faff of removing them from the mix before getting the jam anywhere near the breakfast table! I have been known to heat up bitsy jam and pop it through a sieve to make it kid friendly!
I prepared 1kg of gooseberries, snipping the top and tail off them with a pair of scissors, then I washed and steamed them in the microwave, (they took 10mins on full power in my 800w). Then I blitzed the fruit with my hand blender, and pushed the pulp through a sieve to get a smooth purée, no skin or seeds. I put this into my stock pot/jam pan and added 1kg of granulated sugar. Brought it all up to a bubbly boil and kept it there for 10 mins. Then when a bit cooler I popped it into sterilised jars.
It’s pretty yummy, and even though the pulp was a snotty green colour, the jam is a lovely peachy, orange colour. And my girls are eating it!

Raspberry Jam

September 22, 2011

Granny and Papa Peacock are on holiday so we went to Papa’s allotment at the weekend to do some scrumping. The prize of the visit was 1.2kg of a mixture of raspberries and loganberries, which I turned into a delicious jam.

I am guessing that the mixture was about half and half, and it was a little over 1.2kg so I used 1kg of sugar and one sachet of pectin powder for the jam. Smushing the fruit with a potato masher in the pan first then adding the sugar and pectin and bringing up to a rolling boil and boiling for 5 mins. Then I put half straight into sterilised jars and pushed the 2nd half through a sieve to remove most of the pips (my fussy kids!) before getting it into the jars.

I am guessing that the delay in potting up, has probably lessened the cupboard time of the pip free jars, but I don’t think that will  be a problem, I keep opened jars of homemade jam in the fridge anyways and I really don’t think this one is going to last very long – it is delicious! It tastes amazing, reminds me of jam from my childhood, and would make an excellent Victoria Sponge Filling, if I get round to that before it all gets scoffed. Just look at how happy Alice is with her Raspberry jam on toast!

Rhubarb Jam

April 13, 2011

We are very lucky to have a particulary prolific Rhubarb plant in our garden, inherited when we bought the house, it seems quite happy to be left alone, growing in a mound of concrete hardcore at the bottom of the garden. Each year we give it a shovelful of homemade compost and let it be and very year we have a bumper crop from February right through the summer. It makes a lovely jam, here is how I do it.

I prepare the stalks the night before, washing and cutting them to short 1cm slices (because this rhubarb isn’t forced the stems can be quite thick so I cut them short to account for their large size otherwise). I measure out 1kg of the slices and add some finely grated fresh ginger root (about the size of a thumb), then layer this in my big stock pot (I don’t have a preserving pan), with 900g of granulated sugar and a packet of pectin powder, and over the lot drizzle a small cupful (100ml) of orange juice and leave it all overnight.

In the morning the sugar and the orange juice have dissolved and left a rhubarby syrup. I set about sterilising a few jars, by washing them in hot soapy water and rinsing them with boiling water from the kettle then drying them in a low oven (120 degrees C). All my jars are random recycled ones but this amount seems to make up about 6 standard jam sized jars. Then I add my jam thermometer to the pan of Rhubarb and syrup and get it boiling (jam temp). I boil it for 5 or 6 mins then turn off the  heat. The jars are usually ready now, so I decant the liquid jam into a measuring jug to pour it into the jars. I usually fill half the jars with pretty textured jam, then blitz the last half with my hand blender to make a smooth jam for the kids. Then I add a wax paper disc and a cellophane ‘lid’ held on with an elastic band. – Top tip, dip your cellophane circles in cold water before putting of the jars then as the jam cools they tighten onto the tops for a proper seal.

Strawberry Jam

June 28, 2010

Dreaming of the breakfast I had this morning (home-made strawberry jam on toast – home-made speltish bread, and a cuppa) I got out the jam pan. I have to say my previous goes at jam have not been consistently successful, the jam is yummy but I can’t seem to get the ‘set’ right. Everyone you talk to has their own technique which can be very confusing, so I decided to consult an expert. My husband bought me the ‘river cottage preserves’ book for Christmas so I decided to follow the strawberry jam recipe to the letter. The recipe calls for 1kg of fruit, 500g granulated sugar and 450g jam sugar (sugar with pectin added) and 150ml lemon juice. Previous jam experiments have left me with a cupboard full of jammy bits and bobs so instead of the jam sugar I used 1kg of granulated and a sachet of pectin powder – so much for ‘to the letter’, I hear you tut tut – I just can’t help myself!

Unfortunately, no all this fruit did not come from own two window box pots from the ‘strawberries’ post, so I cheated and bought them (sainsburys had a half price deal) only ever use british strawberries for food miles reasons and because we do strawberries very well here.

I put 200g of fruit (the larger ones so I didn’t have to bother chopping them up) and smushed them in the pan with 200g of the sugar with a potato masher, slowly warmed it up then added the rest of the fruit. Slowly brought it up to simmering point (gentle bubbling) and left it there for 5 mins for the fruit to soften. Added the remaining sugar and the pectin stiring to stop it sticking until the sugar was all disolved, then adding the lemon juice. Brought it up to a full rolling boil, my thermometer got up to 105 degrees centigrade, keeping it there for 10mins. Then let it cool a little for the foam to disperse (I am sure this is what the jam books call scum but it sounds dreadful and looks more like foam to me!) Then popped it into sterile jars – recycled jars washed in hot soapy water and dried in a low oven and used still hot. I always over estimate the amount of jars needed especially when they are all random sizes, but the official yield of this recipe is 4-5 x 340g (normal bought jam size) jars. Then sealed with a wax paper disc and celophane and elastic, just like my nana used to do.

I am overjoyed at the result the colour of the jam is a bright summery scarlet and it tastes delicious, fruity and not too sweet. And it is a perfect set, with fruit pieces and a light jelly base that runs off a spoon like a proper expensive french preserve. My breakfast this morning was lovely, I tried to have a look at the Saturday Times jumbo crossword too, but the kids wouldn’t let me get very far – typical!