Jam Making in the Summertime
Well the hols are here and hopefully the Summer is ahead of us with time to make some more memories. The Summers that you remember as a child somehow never involve rain. They seemed hot, with scratchy dry grass making your legs itch when playing endless games of cricket in the garden. Going on holidays with aunts, uncles and cousins, always someone to play with on the beach. Simple fun but there it is, all locked away in my memory - it is so important to spend this time with children - my own remember on really hot days stopping at the fish and chip shop to pick up something for tea and then going to the local woods to sit and eat in the cool of a tree cathedral. It was always a shock coming out again into the hot evening to make our way home. Happy days.
Now our weather seems to have shifted in time, with the hottest days earlier in the year but no matter, we can still make memories. Some of my earliest involve jam making. My Mother had to preserve fruit by bottling or making jams. She didn't particularly enjoy doing it but needs must. There was little refrigeration and certainly no home freezing so there was endless picking, topping and tailing and boiling to be done. I, on the other hand, loved it! From being sent into the blackcurrant bushes to pick the low hanging fruit that the birds had missed, to stringing, topping and tailing gooseberries - I thought it was fun. When it came to making the jam I 'helped' by having a little stool as a table with the tools of my trade laid out - wax discs, cellophane covers, rubber bands - and a saucer of water to dip the cellophane in - just lightly mind. Handed up to Mum, in the right order, I was only 4 or 5 and couldn't see over the table! Later, laying in my little bed, the soundtrack of my childhood Summers was the concert on the radio and the cellophane covers drying and 'pinging' as they did so. Happy days.
To bring us up to date, I have been experimenting again - this time with a light Summer relish - Kiwi Fruit and Lime. It is zesty and tangy and is a very good match for salads and barbeques. You can also make and eat, it doesn't need to mature like a darker more robust chutney. Here's what you need:-
1 kg/2lbs 2oz kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces, approximately
500g/1lb courgettes, skin on but chopped to a similar size
500g/1lb white onions, peeled and chopped
2 large pieces fresh ginger ( about thumb sized) peeled and shredded
600ml/1 pint white wine vinegar
3 limes, zest and juice
340g/12oz white sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons cardamom pods
Put everything into a pan except for the last four ingredients
Cook gently over a medium heat until all of the ingredients have softened. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
All the lime juice, the salt and cardamom pods.
Cook gently for a further 15-20 minutes and then turn off the heat.
Stir in lime zest and pot up into warm jars immediately. Store away from strong light and use within one year.
Two great additions to our jars and bottles - this lovely little swing top bottle, the 125ml Bambino, just right for wedding favours or flavoured oils etc. buy as singles from Rosie's Pantry or in 20's from the artisan area on lovejars.co.uk
Our second new jar is a 500ml Food Jar which is ideal for pickles and chutneys. We have that season ahead of us so with its beautiful straight lines there is no waste of product. Great, great price too!