Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Apple chili jam and vanilla pear jam

So after last week's adventures with citrus jam, it was decided that I would have a go at doing some simple apple and pear jam as well.
I first made apple jam about two or three years ago. I remember it being really annoying: cut up and strain the apples, cook them, measure the weight, let them drip in a muslin bag overnight blah blah blah. Whatever. The result was pretty good but in my opinion, not worth the effort.
Back to now, CSR has got these new sugars out that allow you to preserve pretty much whatever you like, no matter how low the pectin content is. Not that I am now a slave to packet cooking, or to taking cooking instructions from corporations, but rather I am exploiting their helpfulness to further my own selfish desires for jam. Take THAT, CSR.
Furthermore, apple and pear jams aren't one of those things you can just pick up at the supermarket. They are relatively rare, as jams go, around here. So well worth the effort to do it yourself, especially as it only takes half an hour (or less) from the bag-of-apples stage to the row-of-gleaming-jars stage.
Me being me, I added chili and vanilla to my jams. Also apple schnapps. Totally optional, though.
Pear and vanilla jam (makes about 3 or 4 medium jars)
1 kg peeled and cored pears, sprinkled with lime or lemon juice to stop discoloration
1 kg CSR Jam Sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons vanilla extract (not essence)
knob of unsalted butter

Process the pears in a processor or blender till a paste. (A few lumps are OK). Put fruit and sugar in big heavy pot over low heat: stir to dissolve without boiling. Add butter knob, bring to the boil. Boil hard for 4 to 5 minutes ONLY. Stir through essence and bottle into clean jars.

Apple and chili jam (makes as above)
1 kg peeled and cored green apples, sprinkled as above
1 kg CSR Jam Sugar
knob of unsalted butter
1 (or one-half) of a long fresh red chili, or other chili types to taste
2 tablespoons apple schnapps (optional)

Process and proceed as above, adding the schnapps with the sugar. After boiling hard for 4 to 5 minutes, stir through the seeded and chopped red chili. (If you add it earlier, the flavour may dominate. Another nice look is to just poke one red birdseye chili into each jar before letting it set. The flavour will be strongest near the chili! You could also throw in a few chilis before boiling, and then remove them before bottling... for a more mellow flavour.)

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