Jam, The European way
Now that Harvest is here and all of the wonderful local fruits are available at the farmers markets and stores, I start making jams—even very small amounts. The local peaches, plums and tomatoes (yes) are DIVINE!! Even though a bit pricy, it’s worthwhile to use the tastiest fruit when making jams. I’ve made jam many different ways, but this is the one I like the best because the taste of the ingredients turns out so realistically fresh. It’s also a very easy method and makes the house smell really good. So give it a try and with this recipe, the sugar herewith is at a minimum so you don’t have to worry about ingesting too many calories.
1. Cut your fruit into smaller pieces, pit them, or with berries you can leave them whole if you wish, or with large strawberries, cut them into smaller pieces.
2. For each cup of cut fruit, use 1/4 cup of refined white sugar.
If using apricots, peaches or nectarines, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them. If using mangoes, squirt a bit of lime juice on them. If using tomatoes, add a bit of lemon and if you wish some gingerroot or preserved ginger or stick cinnamon. Yum!
3. Toss your fruit with the correct amount of sugar in a large skillet that you will be using on the morrow or in a large bowl. Place either one covered in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Next day, place your skillet with the fruit and sugar in it on top of your stove without any lid and bring it to a very low simmer. Let it low simmer from half hour to 1 hour or more. Be sure to keep an eye on it and to stir it at least every 10-15 minutes. When I use just 1-2 Cups of fruit, I notice that the jam can finish in just 15 minutes. As well, sometimes the pectin in your fruit may be of high caliber therefore you don’t have to cook it as long.
5. After low simmering the appropriate amount of time that you deem , I take a teaspoon of the cooked jam out, stick it in the freezer for a couple of minutes and then take the teaspoon out to see if the consistency is what I would want in the end product. If so, take the skillet off the burner and let it sit till cool.
6. Then, you can put it in your jam jars and seal them—or you can put it in jars without sealing and refrigerate them. They’ll last quite awhile in the frig without being sealed. However, in either case, I bet they won’t last long because this European way of making jam is so tasty.
7. The way I seal my jars is the following: In a tall large pot filled with enough water to sustain my jam jars which also are filled with water I boil them for about 12 minutes; I boil my tops in that pan or another one; I let everything cool down before putting my jam in the jars. I think that’s the old fashioned way because if you have a dishwasher which can heat up to sterilization, you certainly can sterilize them there. I think you can also sterilize in the microwave—but I do it the old fashioned way. When the jam is in the jar, I pour melted paraffin on top and let it set. (Melt the paraffin according to the directions on the paraffin label.) Then I place the tops on the jars and label and date them.
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Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.