Friday, 22 June 2012

We're jamming!

This time last year I was over run with soft fruit from my garden: strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries all did really well.  SO well in fact that I was struggling with ideas of how to use them all up.  We had lots of jam, Rote Grutze - a sort of summer fruit compote - almost like the inside of a sumer pudding, and plenty in the freezer left over too.

Roll on 12 months, and the garden hasn't been so productive.  The raspberries are nowhere near ripe, the strawberries are going mouldy on the plant and the redcurrants not so prolific as last year so the 'bird toll' seems a lot dearer.  Still, spurred on by a post I read in Recipe Junkie's blog, I felt compelled to do something at least with what I could salvage.  So cue more jamming here yesterday.  I managed to pick about 600g of strawberries and redcurrants and then added 300ml of sour cherry juice I happened to have in the fridge to make the fruit up to a kilo.

Pureed fruit and sugar pre-cooking

I use Diamant Gelierzucker mixes as they're very easy to use and as they contain extra pectin you're guaranteed a well set jam!  Yesterday's was the 2:1 version - so that's 2 lots of fruit to 1 bag of sugar.  I pureed the fruit from the garden and then mixed in the sugar, heated and boiled for the requisite 4 minutes and decanted into jars - as simple as that!  For less than an hours' work from deciding to pick some fruit here's the result:

three and half jars of deep red jam!

I find that jamming here is a lot easier than in the UK.  During the soft fruit season, the gelling sugar mixes are easily available.  Last year there was a 'flavoured' on too - we had Elderflower and vanilla flavoured strawberry jam which was very fragrant!  You also tend to find in the supermarkets all the equipment on offer too - packs of jars (which don't cost the earth!), muslins, thermometers and so forth.  I think there is still much more of a tradition of using the fruits of the season and stocking the larder here than we have in the UK now, although there seems to be a bit of a comeback of these crafts due to the current fiscal climate. For me, well it's a therapeutic, thrifty exercise - I love to make things from scratch and I hate wasting anything from the garden - the pots also make great little gifts with a personal touch - a couple of them will certainly be coming back to the UK with me next week!

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