JAMS, JELLIES, MARMALADES curds & confits
Looking for a sweet treat? Take advantage of nature’s seasonal offerings to make sweet, flavoursome 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.