11 July 2010

Berry Jam!

Basically, gooseberry jam...

...with strawberries, and raspberries, and kiwi, and tomatoes. Oh, and balsamic vinegar. This is the third summer in which I've made jam. The first summer, I made this blackcurrant jam that was wayyyy too dry. In other words, it congealed while the fire was still on, so by the time it had cooled, it had turned into a really-gummy-almost-dried-blackcurrant consistency. It was also really sour. Last year, I think I made three batches of jam [two currants, one gooseberry], which all turned out really lovely. This year, all our blackcurrants and red currants appear to have died, due to the climate characteristic of a summer on drugs. So, all we have now are raspberries and gooseberries. Actually, we're losing those too. Anyway, I salvaged about 4 cups of gooseberries, a few raspberries, and decided to make some jam, since my family isn't really in love with fresh gooseberries.

To make the jam:
4 cups of gooseberries [yay pectin!]
1 cup of sugar [which was way too much. Hence, I added all the other fruit too. Then again, I don't really like sickly-sweet jams, so maybe it's okay for other people]
0.5 cups of water
10 or so cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 kiwi without seeds or white centre [my brother wanted to add this]
5 or so cut up strawberries.
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar [complements the strawberries very well, both taste-wise and SMELL-wise]1. Add gooseberries and sugar and balamic vinegar. The vinegar, I suppose, helps preserve the jam, meaning that we don't need to use lemon juice or another acid. In all honesty though, the sugar and gooseberry's acidity should preserve the jam well too. Stir mixture. Realise that there is wayyyyy too much sugar - see image above. All that goop is sugar. [A fine coating of sugar on each berry should be enough. A freakin' snowstorm is... too much for me].
2. Add water and other fruit.
3. Stick it on high on the stove until it starts to boil.
4. Add more fruit if it still looks/taste too sweet.

5. Start mashing the berries. Technically, the tomato is a berry. And, to astound you more, the kiwifruit is ALSO a berry! So, yes, I made berry jam today.
6. Turn down to the stove to low heat, and the mixture should be simmering. Stir every once in a while [this works best in a nonstick pot] for 45 minutes or so.

7. Check every once in a while by dropping a tad of it onto a dry plate and letting it sit there, and see whether it congeals. This is also a great time to taste the jammy syrup, because you want to know whether it's too sour/sweet.
Note the tomatoes - orangey.
8. Turn off heat. Let it sit for a while. Then, pour into jars. I got about...900g? Well, three chili-sauce jars full. Evidently, chili sauce has a different density than berry jam, so the yield is probably 1 kilo of jam.

We didn't have any bread so I spread some on man[2] tou[2] that my mum made a few days ago. You should put all remaining jam in the fridge. It keeps for at least a month. I don't know beyond that because we, as a family of 5 [well, temporarily 6] usually consume it all within that time.
Taste? Starts off soury-sweet, almost like candy. The gooseberry and strawberry flavour is initially very prevalent [NOT the store-bought strawberry jam taste, though!!], and ends in a slight tomato taste [think a tiny touch of tomato sauce]. There is no kiwi taste, even though my brother, who had insisted we stick in a kiwi, insists that there is a tang of kiwi. Texture-wuse, the skin from the berries and tomatoes and such are surprisingly a great addition. I find it amazing that the kiwi and strawberry chunks appear to have melted [even though they're just mushed]. ENJOY Jammmmmmin' EVERYONE!

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