Monday, March 4, 2013

Relishing and Preserving The Summer

This year has been my first real go at making jams and preserving vege. It started back near christmas when I was making berry coulis and my friend distracted me with an entertaining video of a scandanavian man diving into solid ice. Sounds terrible but it was rather funny. well. enough for me to forget the coulis and end up with jam. However, this jam was pretty awesome and put all the other siblings in the fridge to shame. 
Preserving never really captivated me but after seeing the patterns of seasonal foods it really does make the most sense. Now is the time when the plants are soaking up the heat and dishing out their once yearly treats too fast to eat. Chutney, sauces,  jam and poached fruit. I mean yes, we could just go and buy all of this from the supermarket. But it just adds to the weekly cost of living and when you can make all of it yourself which is yummier, fresher,local, healthier and is full of plain natural greatness. The later makes more sense to me.

I didn't know exactly where I personally would inherit a glut of something to preserve except our tomatoes. It wasn't until I stumbled (literally walking backwards entertaining a friend and rolled my ankle in the old chicken fence post hole) to find the plum tree in the back yard above my newly battered head. So with a daily plum intake exceeding 8, wrinkly summer fruit and a summer palate not ready for hearty stewed fruit it begun.

First it was spiced plum jam, and then Gar gave me a small inheritance of apricots a few days past optimal eating.  So on a scorching summer morning I was working in the garden getting all the leeks in and decided to seek mercy in the kitchen to get the apricot jam going. With summer ale in the left hand and a wooden spoon in the other the insipration took over. Now smirking away in the cupboard are jars of Apricot jam with ginger honey and a touch of ale awaiting my frosty morning fruit toast. That is the best thing about making these yourself, creativity and preference take rule. Less/more honey, sugar, cinnamon sticks,rhubarb,currants,orange....


Jam (all stone fruit)
1/2 the amount of sugar to fruit in weight 
Leave overnight then boil hard for 10mins and stir constantly to avoid burning until it coats a spoon.

Berry jam
2/3 amount sugar to berries in volume
dash of lemon juice
Boil hard 5 mins, reduce heat and continue for another 10-15mins, remove foam.
Hot Zuchinni Chutney-

Ingredients -
6 cups of roughly chopped zuchinni (any variety)
2 onions
2-3 fresh chilli's (depending on your heat tolerance)
2 capsicums of mixed colour
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 TBSP paprika
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp tumeric
1tsp ground cumin
Olive Oil

Roughly chop the veges, except the chilli. Place in a large saucepan and cover with the salt. Stir well and leave overnight.
In the morning, drain all of the liquid that is formed, add a few lugs of Olive oil and cook on the stove for around 10 mins to soften the vege, stirring often.
Add the remaining ingredients including the finely chopped chilli, stir well and simmer for around 30mins.
pour into sterilized jars.

Tomato Relish -

Ingredients -
1kg ripe tomato's
2 large onions
1 1/2 cups sugar
enough white vinegar to cover
2 tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp cornflour
1-2 Tbsp extra vinegar
Cut a small cross on the top of each tomato, place in large bowl, cover with boiling water, leave for a minute. Drain and rinse with cold water, peel off skins.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and finely chop the onions. Place in a large sauce pan and cover with the salt. Stir well and then leave overnight.
Then add the sugar and enough vinegar to just come to the top layer of tomatoes, bring to the boil, reduce to a medium heat and gently cook for 15-20 mins.
Mix the curry powder, mustard and cornflour with the olive oil till it forms a smooth paste, stir into the tomatoes and cook until thickened.
Spoon into warm, sterilised jars and seal. Refrigerate once opened.
Makes: 2 large 500ml jars

Al x

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