Posts Tagged ‘Home Made Jams’

Hi all, I know, it’s been long! Busy is again, the usual excuse …

Here is a quick update on early – mid year harvesting, I waited longer than usual to plant out my squash family plants and it paid off! Although I still had them out much earlier than what seed companies and most gardening books in the UK recommend. Basically, I try to plant out say one third of my squash every year (Courgettes (Zucchini), Cucumbers, Pumpkins and the other unusual ones (Such as my Summer Crookneck) – with the other two thirds to go in a few weeks later, you always still have the time to germinate the first third again if the first batch fail.

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Salad, Herb and Veg Harvest – Permaculture Organics – June 2018

After chatting with a fellow allotmenteer, he told me that he came across some older information which shows that our area has never had frost anytime in May as per records – which now means anything recommended to plant ”later on in may after the last frost dates” can be pushed a few weeks forward with some small risk possibility.

Anyway,to the main story, whilst almost all of my fellow allotmenteers are only just planting out their squash, I’ve already been harvesting!! In the above photo there is some fresh Lemon Balm (for calming tea), Terragon (cooking herb – I have added this into tea as well), Sorrel (Sour, as a salad addition) and 4.5 Courgettes (one had a bit of rot on the blossom end). I have a larger batch of Lemon Balm drying in the shed at the allotment, I just wanted some to bring home fresh.

Foraging wise, I have been able to get hold of Tilia Flower for tea (Linden tree – known incorrectly as Lime tree, latin= ‘Tilia cordata’), this makes a very soothing, calming subtle tea and is probably my favorite tea – mix with Lemon Balm too! Elderflower has been harvested and kept in the freezer (might try make the wine again, if not, there are other recipes especially a cordial I want to try out).

In the kitchen, I have produced three batches of Jam so far, the first was the rushed Dandelion Flower jam which I made a few jars that should last until next year, the second was a Strawberry jam from store bought berries, then again more Strawberry as a friend who has another allotment not far from my neighbourhood went on holiday and aid I’m welcome to go there to pick them, all in all I think I got at leat 4 kg of Strawberries on the two occasions I went there. So the second batch of jam was inevitably made from Organic / Semi Organic strawberries which were sweeter, I decided to reduce the sugar content by 250-300 grams and my jam still set fine!

Finally, another thing to note – in the above photo, of all four produce harvested, Three are perennials! Permaculture emphasizes on the importance of Perennials in a food producing system… and for good reasons.

 

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So here it is, as stated in a recent post, I missed last year’s Blackberry picking season due to being very busy with projects in my free time and the sad realisation that I had also missed Sweet Chestnut season TWO YEARS in a row!!

There really is not much of an excuse for not foraging for Blackberries considering they are so widespread in the UK and the fact that you can freeze them until needed (this may not be suitable for some recipes however.)

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2 kg’s of Blackberries in a Large Saladmaster Pot

 

Ingredients and Equipment:

  • 2 kg ( ) Blackberries, freshly picked or from frozen
  • 1.450 kg ( ) Granulated Sugar
  • Juice of 1.5 Lemons
  • Large Pot
  • Cleaned Re-useable Jam / Honey or other Jars with Lids
  • Tongs if possible
  • Small Pot or Pan
  • Oven Gloves
  • Wooden Spoon and a Ladle
  • NOTE: this same recipe can be followed in a smaller amount ie: 1 kg of Blackberries with Juice of 1 Lemon and 750g of Granulated Sugar

Method:

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Step 1: Place your freshly washed and rinsed jars inside your oven and leave there until later

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Step 2: Place the jar lids inside a small pan or pot, covered in water ready to being to the boil (this is where you use the tongs, to take them out of the water one by one when needed)

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Step 3: Slowly heat the Blackberries until they give off some of the juice liquid, you can help them along by semi squashing with a spatula or potato masher, this should take maybe 5 minutes (expect more if your blackberries were frozen)
Note: If you want your jam to be lumpy thick, minimise how much you stir and squash the blackberries)

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Step 4: Now add in the Lemon Juice as well as the Sugar, mix well then bring it all to the boil, once boiling, simmer gently until it thickens and reaches 105 Degrees Celsius

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Step 5: When there is an obvious change in the density of the liquid (becomes runny / watery) you can start boiling the water in the small pot / pan and switch your oven on to a high temperature (150 Degrees Celsius) to start sanitizing your jars and their lids.
After your Jam-to-be has boiled nicely for around 30minutes to an hour since adding in the other ingredients, you are looking to have a temperature of around 105 Degrees Celsius before you switch off the heat and start filling your jars, there is a Simple Method to check if it is the right temperature without needing to obtain a Candy Thermometer, just do the Cold Plate Test.

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Step 6: Once happy with the thickness after testing on a plate, start ladling the Jam into the jars one by one (I keep the other jars in the oven and only take out one at a time)
As soon as a jar is fill, use a damp cloth or tissue to remove any bits on the rim of the jar then place a lid and give a good firm twist, place the jar on a cloth or tissues away from the reach of kids etc.and let sit until morning or a few hours later.
Note: Oven gloves and tongs will be needed at this stage

I managed to fill 6x small / medium, 2x medium to large and 1x Large Jar which was quite impressive, note that the jars are mostly different, I do re-use any jars that I can from my grocery shopping, it does work and jams / chutneys I preserved last year are still fine today – there is absolutely No Need to go out and buy expensive specialist ”preserving jars” in fact, the one time I had a failure is in a dedicated larny Kilner Preserving Jar!

Date and label them if you wish, then store in a pantry or cupboard which is not too close to your cooking station.

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