Apologies for the sporadic posting over the last year; rest assured we continue to do many (mostly) well-intentioned, (often) ill-advised things in the kitchen (and out of it). Today, however, I am delighted to share this guest-post from Salada. Her others (all advisable) can be found here, here and here.
It has been a productive summer in the vegetable plot for members of the marrow-squash family, hence an autumnal recipe that doesn’t involve apples (contenders nonetheless). It comes from Patricia White’s “Food as Presents” (see Apple Muffins for details). Finding house-room for many squashes is exercising my ingenuity. I grew two types of winter squash and two sorts of courgette (yellow and green). A squash weighing about 1.5kg, pictured, provided the main ingredient for the jam, augmented by a few courgettes. I have made this jam but not for several years, and remember it as being better than lemon curd – lighter to eat and much easier to cook, there being no chance of curdling eggs.
Variants from the recipe:-
- I used 3 lemons, mine weren’t large enough
- The peeled, de-seeded weight of raw veg was about 1kg, so I used 1kg of sugar
- I used a blender/liquidiser, not a food processor
The preparation and cooking all went to plan. It really is a very simple jam to make. The chunky ends of the lemons were too tough for the blender; they and a few tiny pips floated up during boiling and were ditched.
Testing for that ‘nicely thickened’ point
I tried the cold saucer-wrinkle test. Put a saucer/small plate in the ice-cube/freezer section for a few minutes, then pour a teaspoon of the hot jam on to it and leave for a minute in the fridge. Gently push the surface of the jam from the edge and if it wrinkles while still warm underneath, it is likely to set.
I also used a sugar thermometer. At the wrinkling stage it had not reached the official jam temperature (about 105C), nearer 102C, but this is not an ‘official’ jam and I reckoned it was done.
N.B. Too long cooking will darken the colour so the jam will look less appetising.
Sterilising glass jars
Dry-sterilising is simplest. Put very clean, dry jars, open end up, on a baking or roasting tin, place in a cold oven and heat it to gas ½ or the lowest electricity setting. Leave for 15-20 minutes (while the jam cooks).
The usual method is to pour hot jam into hot jars as soon as the saucepan is off the heat. I used a little jug to transfer the brew, keeping pan and jars as close as possible to prevent drips. Fill jars almost to the top, about ½cm from the edge. Put the lids on quickly. Once the jam is cooled, gently unscrew the lids and wipe off any condensation inside, to stop it dripping on the jam. Dear reader, there are variants to this method, but space does not permit. [Refer to: Cooking Explained by Barbara Hammond; Leith’s Cookery Bible; an old HMSO* publication – Domestic Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables, if you can find one, for good explanations, diagrams even.]
The flavour and texture resemble a slightly coarse lemon curd. When cold it was similar in consistency to soft, thick honey and did not drip off my tepid toast. It’s a great filling for Victoria sandwich cake or jam tarts, and could substitute for the filling in lemon meringue pie (with a bit more lemon to sharpen it). As with all preserves, store somewhere cool and dry.
*Her Majesty’s Stationery Office
Jammed by Salada