JAMS, JEL­LIES, MARMALADES curds & con­fits

Look­ing for a sweet treat? Take ad­van­tage of na­ture’s sea­sonal of­fer­ings to make sweet, flavour­some pre­serves.

NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Preserves -

No berries? No prob­lem. Try Kiwi icon Aunt Daisy’s mock rasp­berry (or straw­berry) jam. In­gre­di­ents: • 1.8kg to­ma­toes • 1.4kg sugar • juice 1 le­mon • 1 ta­ble­spoon rasp­berry or straw­berry essence

Skin the to­ma­toes and cut up fairly finely. Add sugar and le­mon juice. Boil gen­tly for about 2 hours. Stir in essence. Do not boil after the essence is added, or the flavour will be lost. Test for set­ting.

Fac­ing a glut of zuc­chini? Make kon­fyt, a type of jam eaten in South Africa. It’s a favourite of Get Grow­ing reader An­n­marie Bald­win. “I used to adore wa­ter­melon and gin­ger kon­fyt in Zim­babwe. Hope­less try­ing to grow wa­ter­mel­ons in my gar­den. This year I sub­sti­tuted Ital­ian zuc­chini.”

In­gre­di­ents: • 1.5kg Ital­ian zuc­chini (it’s drier than other zuc­chini), peeled and cut into 1cm cubes • 1.5kg sugar •3 grape­fruit (pare off zest, keep juice and shells, dis­card pips • 135g crushed gin­ger

Place zuc­chini in a pre­serv­ing pan with 2 ta­ble­spoons of the citrus juice. Cook on medium heat. You want the zuc­chini to be­come translu­cent but not mushy. Stir care­fully and of­ten to keep the pieces ro­tat­ing. Add sugar, the rest of the juice, zest and gin­ger. Stir un­til sugar dis­solves; add in empty grape­fruit skins to help with set­ting. Once the kon­fyt is boil­ing, let it sim­mer for about 15 min­utes or un­til the zuc­chini has soft­ened and set­ting point is reached. Re­move the skins and bot­tle hot into hot, dry, ster­ilised jars. Seal tightly. This is good on hot toast or fresh, but­tered bread.

Or try Al­fred Hoyle’s quince jelly. You need: 2 buck­ets of quinces, washed and cleaned, chopped into small pieces, pips and all. Put in a plas­tic bag and freeze for 8 weeks (the wa­ter con­tent of the cells ex­pands when it freezes, break­ing the cell walls so it’s eas­ier to ex­tract the juice). Thaw in a large pot, add 3 cups cold wa­ter and bring to the boil. Im­me­di­ately turn the heat down to very low and sweat the fruit for 3 hours un­til it starts to col­lapse. Strain overnight. You will be left with a pink liq­uid. Put back into pan, bring to boil and add ¾ cup sugar to each cup of juice. As the jelly starts to set and be­comes a deep sun­set red, add the pièce de ré­sis­tance… half a cup of Coin­treau. Bot­tle im­me­di­ately.

For Jo McCar­roll’s re­ally peely mar­malade boil 15 whole grape­fruit for 30 min­utes, adding man­darin peel to the wa­ter if you like. Drain and cool. Dice into fine or chunky slices. Weigh fruit and add three-quar­ters of its weight in sugar. Place in a large pan and heat slowly un­til the sugar melts, con­tin­u­ously stir­ring. Sim­mer, stir­ring for 40 min­utes or un­til it starts to set. Pour into jars.

To test if your jam has reached set­ting point, place a saucer in the freezer for a few min­utes. Place a drop onto the cold plate. When the jam’s ready, the sur­face will wrin­kle when you run your fin­ger through it.

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