Posts Tagged rosemary

Apricots vs raspberries vs strawberries

Each time I think I have a favorite jam, another one comes along and bumps it off the list, and this year I’m struggling to decide between three of my favorite summer fruits, strawberries, raspberries and apricots.

I fell in love with strawberry lavender jam when I made it early in the summer (I liked it so much that I made it twice), and then I fell in love with a raspberry lime jam made with fruit from the front yard.

My latest love affair is with apricots, and I haven’t even started thinking about last year’s favorite peach peppercorn jam yet.

I already blogged about the apricot jam I made one evening a couple of weeks ago, and there have been two more micro batches since, an apricot rosemary jam and an attempt to recreate the apricot redcurrant jam we’ve been making every year since we started this can-and-jam adventure. The apricot rosemary has a wonderful taste, and it certainly set like a charm. But it’s a little bit woodier than I would have liked, even though I thought I chopped the rosemary virtually to dust with my sharpest knife. Maybe I need to separate every single bit of stem even more carefully rather than just stripping the leaves off by hand and hoping I did it right, or maybe I need to find another herb.  And after almost burning my first apricot jam of the year, I think we were too cautious with the apricot redcurrant, which is a little runny and not really very redcurranty at all.

(Oh, and my thanks to the cat for again conceding to pose for the picture. Her name is Billie. The spouse complains that she’s getting rather fat, but I promise it’s not from jam.)

Other ventures in a quickfire Saturday morning can-o-rama were a tried and tested apricot lemon chutney (also a little runny), and a peach chutney from Doris and Jilly Cook that was a recommendation from the awesome Food in Jars Facebook feed (and web site). It’s also a little runny, if truth be told. We got impatient, perhaps.

There are so many bloggers/canners/jammers out there, that I really feel pretty insignificant.

And a question:

The blackberry bushes are almost as prolific as the raspberry ones were earlier this year (and the zucchini have got out of hand again). Do we just eat them fresh, or does anyone have a knock-your-socks off blackberry jam recipe to share?

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Mmmm, strawberries (part 2)

I can’t let a mere strawberry beat me down.

I mean I admit that the last strawberry experiment didn’t end too well, but I also know that strawberries are the stuff jam makers dream about, given the color, the taste, and the way the strawberries melt into a spreadable mix that works so well with bread, with yogurt and even with ice cream.

So it was time to try again, and I admit, with cautious pride, that this was almost a made up recipe, with the proportions from one, the techniques from a second and a flash of rosemary inspiration from a third.

And if the taste from the preserving kettle is anything to go by, this one is knock your socks off amazing. Shame that it only made three very, very precious jars.

Strawberry, rhubarb, rosemary jam

1 quart of strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
4 stalks of rhubarb (preferably stalks that are deep red all the way through) sliced very thin
juice of two lemons
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 sprigs rosemary

  • Mix all the ingredients together and let it all marinade together until the sugar has dissolved and the juices have melted out of the fruit. (That takes 4-6 hours, or overnight) Use a slotted spoon to fish out the fruit and set aside.
  • Bring the liquid to the boil and boil, very fast, until it reaches 221F. (This takes quite a while)
  • Add the fruit, bring back to a rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes. Fish out the rosemary half way through, or when it starts to look limp and threatens to fall apart (This bit goes quickly)
  • Test for set. Allow to cool slightly. Skim off the foam, and ladle into sterilized jars.
  • Water bath for 10 minutes, if you are a water bath sort of person.

Deep, rich red, excellent set, satisfying chunks of fruit.

Does it matter that rhubarb is technically a vegetable and not a fruit?

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The season’s starting

You can tell it’s spring when the outdoor stalls start opening up in the farmers’ market, and you can tell it’s almost summer when the first strawberries show up there as well. But rather than write about strawberries, delicious as they are, today’s topic is rhubarb, which is also deliciously in season, and which I chopped into a rhubarb-rosemary jam today, in a fit of do-something different.

Actually I blame gardener buddy for this one, because she emailed me the link to a far more serious jam and chutney blogger, who wrote enthusiastically about her rhubarb-lavender jam, which was itself an adaptation from a rhubarb-rosemary recipe. I didn’t have lavender readily available, but rosemary was an option, so I adapted the adaptation back to the original.

First off, this may well turn out to be the easiest jam I’ve ever made, thanks perhaps to the pre-boiling where you take honey and the juices the emerge when you macerate rhubarb with sugar for a few hours (or overnight). OK, there was a fair amount of chopping at the beginning, but once the boiling started, the jam was ready well before the jars, which were still in the dishwasher being swilled out madly with really hot water. I mean this sucker set before you could blink twice, turning into a jewel red jam with a lingering rosemary taste. I suspect I either misread the recipe, or didn’t chop the rosemary finely enough, because there are some decidedly woody bits mixed in with the rhubarb, but I have decided these only add character to the finished product.

Grading to come later, after the first taste test.

Only four jars though. Not many to give away.

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