Monday, 18 March 2013

make it monday : tropical fruit jam

Don't panic when you read the first two ingredients, I usually pick them up reduced at the supermarket.  The tins of peach and pineapple are cheap ~ most supermarkets do a value / basic version, and it really will all taste the same in the jam.  The amounts of each ingredient might look a bit odd, because I've used the weights of the tins and based the recipe around those ~ trust me when I say it's easier that way round!

You'll need to sterilize your jars and lids and scoops and funnels so that your jam will be keep~able, you can find out how and why and all that right here.  These amounts will make  seven or eight ordinary~jam~jar~sized jars of jam, which should keep you going for a week or two. 

250g fresh mango
335g cape gooseberries ~ also known as physalis
565g tin of pineapple (pineapple pieces in light syrup)
250g tin of peach slices (slices in light syrup)
1200g sugar
100ml lemon juice
a tablespoon of marg

These are physalis, also known as cape gooseberry.  They have these papery leafy bits around them, and they're usually a bit sticky, so it's best to pull the paper casing off, then give them a quick wash under the tap.

They tend to be found in the more exotic bit of the supermarket fruit and veg section ~ think mango and guava as opposed to pear and banana.  Chop them up a bit ~ into halves is fine.

Fruit and sugar into the saucepan (the absolute biggest one you have ~ I use a 10l stockpot, if that helps) including the 'light syrup' that the tinned fruit is in.  If you've accidentally picked up fruit in juice instead of syrup, don't worry, just throw that in instead and add an extra 150g sugar.

Stir it all up with a wooden spoon, George's Marvellous Medicine style.  I'm almost completely certain eating the jam at the end will not turn you into a giant chicken.

You won't need to add any water as the syrup  (or juice) from the tin is plenty, but this is the time to add that lemon juice.

Turn your hob on to a medium heat, and stir a little to help the sugar dissolve.

You don't need to stir continuously, but it is a good idea to gently crush the bigger pieces of fruit with your spoon, and try to chop those peach slices up a bit.  As the sugar dissolves and the mixture warms, you'll start to see some small bubbles on the  surface.

As it gets hotter, more bubbles...

And more bubbles...
And more bubbles!
Add your marg at this point.  I have no idea how, but it does get rid of the foam.  Now you see why I said use the biggest saucepan you had!  Turn the heat down a bit, but so there is plenty of bubbling.  Set your timer for ten minutes.

After your timer has beeped, give your marvellous mixture a bit of a stir, take it off the heat, and decide whether you want your jam chunky or smooth.  If you're going for chunky, skip down to the photo of the spoon.  For smooth, read on!
1) beg / borrow / steal a stick blender.  You know, a handheld thingy that you used to use for baby food.  2) plug in, place whizzy end in mixture. 3) KEEP VERTICAL AND KEEP BLENDY BIT AS CLOSE TO BOTTOM OF SAUCEPAN AS POSSIBLE TO MINIMISE RISK OF YOU BEING SPLASHED BY HOT JAMMY MIXTURE. 4) whizz blend whizz blend whizz blend.

Because physalis has loads of tiny seeds if you want this completely smooth you'll need to blitz it for ages (or maybe sieve them out somehow?).  Personally I don't bother, they really are very teeny indeed.

Next, you need to check whether the jam will set (solidify) when it has cooled.  There's a whole thing about saucers in the freezer, but jam jar etiquette : lesson four covers it too (and is much less faffy!)

Using your already prepared sterilized scoop and funnel, put that jam in those jars!

Tighten the lids, lick your spoon, and admire your jars of gorgeous speckly tropical jam.

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