I’ve never made jam before, and I have it on good authority that it’s a tricky one to get right. I’d grown a small amount of green tomatoes in my windowbox over the summer, and wanted to use them up, so supplemented them with some shop-bought green tomatoes and bought plenty of sugar to make jam from them, intending to do it on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. So, last Friday night after a very adequate dinner of port, crackers and cheese, I decided to attempt making the jam around 10pm. I wouldn’t say I was drunk exactly, more just the tired you get if you’ve had some drinks early on then stopped drinking. Whatever the case I wasn’t really in the correct frame of mind to try jam making. The recipe I chose was from Modern Cookery Illustrated, published by Odhams Press Ltd (this edition is from 1947), a pleasantly worn book I got from a car boot sale the other weekend. The page edges are all soft with years of use, the spine is sellotaped together and the margins peppered with neat notes in old fashioned handwriting.
This excerpt is from the Foreword -
“The world may be made up of Nations – but nations are made up of individuals – and individuals are happiest and most peace-loving when they are well nourished and healthy, and so I hope this book will be a small link in the chain that in the hands of our women will help build a fitter, happier Empire”
And indeed, what Empire is complete without a recipe for Rhubarb Hedgehog?
Green Tomato and Ginger Jam
6lb green tomatoes
2oz root ginger
1/4lb preserved ginger
2 tablespoons ginger syrup
1 large lemon
Cut the tomatoes in small pieces. Cut the lemon in very thin slices, remove the pips and cut the slices in small pieces. Bruise the root ginger and tie it in a piece of muslin. Put it in a preserving pan with the tomatoes, lemon and syrup. Stir over a gentle heat until the juice flows. Then bring to the boil and boil gently until the lemon rind is soft, then add the sugar and preserved ginger cut in small pieces and boil quickly until it sets when tested. Remove the root ginger. Turn into warm dry jars and cover at once.
- I made a third of this amount as I only had 2lb of tomatoes.
- My crappy scales let me down and I think too much sugar was used.
- I panicked when it wouldn’t set and put a chopped apple in. This turns out to have been unneccessary as the ‘jam’ is now very set. Sort of ‘knife-handle-snapping-off-when-you-try-to-get-it-out-of-the-jar’ set.
- The lemon could have been chopped smaller.
- It’s rather tasty, though too sweet. The ginger does not come through as strongly as I would like, but I suspect it’s being drowned by the sugar.
Bottled by Alix