Friday, August 20

Rainy days and sick days

I'm currently recovering from a nasty bout of milk-based food poisoning. I'm not longer vomiting every three minutes but I'm still a bit nervous of leaving the house. I can't bake, because of all the food touching involved, and the TV is getting SOOOO boring. But I've hit upon an ingenious plan - jam making. I don't have to touch it, and I can eat it on toast when I am better. I've trawled the web for recipes, and have created this one, which takes into account the ingredients that I already have in my cupboard, and what I like the taste of.

MissGembles's Plum Jam

700-750g plums halved and stoned, then quartered
600g granulated or jam sugar
175ml water
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod with seeds scraped out)

Sterilising jars:

To sterilise jam jars and lids, wash, rinse and dry them (remove any traces of old labels if you’re recycling) and put into the oven for 10 minutes at 150 degrees C/gas 2.

Put the plums, and 175ml of water into a pan.

Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the fruit is tender and the skin soft. May take 20 minutes depends on the size and variety of the plums.

Add the sugar and vanilla and stir until dissolved. Bring to boiling point and boil rapidly until setting point is reached, usually 10 – 12 minutes. If you have a sugar thermometer you can check, setting point is 105C or 220F.

Take off the heat. If the fruit is bobbing about at the top of the pan then it may not be cooked enough. If this happens, cook for a few more minutes, about 3 – 4.

*You should always pour the jam directly into the hot, sterilised jars after it has reached setting point, and you need to seal the jars up straight away. Pop them in the fridge when they have cooled. The jam lasts about 2 months.

Purists amongst you might have noticed the omission of gelatine, or pectin. That's because the cooking process I have used above SHOULD bring out the pectin that is already contained in the fruit. I'll let you know how it goes.

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