May 2010

Strawberry jam

Posted on May 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm in

Everyone’s favourite, strawberry jam is very simple and easy to make. The only reason why there are so many ingredients in the commercial versions is to make the jam shelf stable for, apparently, decades. Home made strawberry jam is so delicious you won’t have to worry about shelf life!

  • 8 cups crushed hulled strawberries that have been rinsed off in a 50/50 white vinegar/water solution (unless they are 100% organic)
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  1. Prepare cans and lids.
  2. Combine strawberries, lemon juice (if using) and sugar in a large non-reactive pan. Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar has all melted. Boil, stirring frequently, until the jam passes the sheet test or whatever test you prefer – when you pick up some of the jam on a spoon, it should all come off in one sheet when you tip the spoon into the pan.
  3. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, remove canner from the heat, remove the lid, and leave the jars for 5 further minutes. Your jam is done!

See, I told you it’d be easy. As an added bonus, your whole house will smell of strawberries for hours after!

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Piccalilli

Posted on May 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm in

Ah, piccalilli. Condiment, relish, essential ingredient to ploughman’s lunches, and really hard to find at a semi reasonable price in the USA. So, as usual, I make it myself!

Before I go any further, I want to say a word about cleaning your produce. If you are anything like me, you want to use organic produce but find them a bit cost prohibitive. You can avoid the worst of the pesticides by thoroughly scrubbing your produce in a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. This will lift off the dirt, wax, and pretty much all the pesticides – they are water proof, not acid proof!

For this recipe I used about 2.3kg / 5lbs of mixed veg, being cauliflower, zucchini/courgette, carrots, mixed bell peppers, and onions. Split the cauliflower into individual florets and slice the rest of the veg evenly – I used a slicer attachment on my KitchenAid, you can also use a food processor or the mark 1.0 human hand. Put the veg into a large bowl, liberally sprinkling each layer with salt. You will need 1 cup of salt for this stage, then cover the veg in 10 cups of water and let it relax overnight in the fridge. Next day rinse the veg thoroughly to remove as much of the salt as possible.

pretty mixed veggies waiting to be relished
Pretty, isn’t it?

Next day, get all your mis en place in place.

You will need:
1.25 cup white sugar
2-ish garlic cloves – I used a heaped teaspoon of prepared garlic
2-ish teaspoon mustard powder
1-ish teaspoon ground ginger (I tend to use more because I love ginger)
4.5 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup AP/plain flour
1 tablespoon turmeric

Add the remaining half cup of vinegar, the flour, and the turmeric together and keep to one side.

Put the sugar, garlic, mustard, ginger, and 4 cups of the vinegar into a saucepan and heat gently till the sugar has all dissolved. At this point you will have a pan full of goo:

panful of goo

Pour the goo over the vegetable mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the veg just softens, then add the reserved mess of vinegar, flour, and turmeric. Bring back to a boil and simmer until the piccalilli is nice and thick.

Once this has all come together, you can process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Yield is about 7 pint jars of lovely piccalilli.

Enjoy!

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