Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moroccan Cherry Preserves


CHERRIES ARE BACK... 

YES..they're expensive.  they aren't quite as dark, plump and sweet as they are when they are in perfect season, but they are worth it for jam and preserves.  Fabulous add to your Holiday breakfasts, brunch, dinners or desserts AND a little jar of this is a much better gift than the last minute scarf or pair of socks.

this recipe lends itself to the sweet AND the savory.  yes, it's delicious on a nice hot scone, but fabulous paired with any main dinner course.  i'm going to serve it along side my Christmas ham.
but for this post i just so happened to be grilling some salmon for a recipe i intended to be about the Beluga Lentils.  when the plate came together for the photo, i thought the preserves were absolutely the star of the show.
it dawned on me...i forgot to post about this fabulous cherry concoction.

so here it is...another jam/preserves recipe.  this one is a winner.
i found the Moroccan spice mixture from a great blog called Anja's Food For Thought.  she has all kinds of healthy interesting goodies, so please visit her site.  Anja used the spices for some delicious looking roasted mushrooms.  my brain was in jam mode, so i quickly bought up a pile of sweet cherries and went to work.  the end result has received rave reviews form my taste tester guinea pigs...i say guinea pigs with love intended.  i don't know what i would do without my faithful (sometimes daring) friends.

MOROCCAN SPICE MIX

2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 chili powder
1/2 sweet paprika
1/2 ground cinnamon
1/4 ground ginger
1/8 ground clove



MOROCCAN SPICED CHERRY PRESERVES

2.5 pounds TOTAL pitted cherries
1 lb. whole pitted cherries...approx.  3 cups
1 lb. 8 oz. halved pitted cherries...approx. 4 cups
6 slices granny smith apple...approx. 3/4 of apple
juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime
zest from 1/2 lemon and 1 lime
5 cups sugar...4 would be okay
cheesecloth pouch with seeds and membrane of lemon and lime
1 chipotle pepper in adobo with seeds..fine mince pepper only...no seeds
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped as fine as possible...(might want a little more)
1 Tbsp Moroccan spice...(might need to add more after taste test)..recipe above

if you are canning...get all your mise en place ready.  small plates in freezer, big stock pot on the stove heating for the canning, sterilize your jars and keep them warm.  for more info on the specifics please visit my Tips and Tricks post or check out Pick Your Own.org.

in a large stock pot add all the pitted cherries, halves and wholes.  add sugar and let sit while you are getting the other stuff done.  they will macerate a little.  zest and squeeze your citrus right into the pot.  make a small cheesecloth pouch with the citrus seeds and membrane (seen here).  cut apple slices and remove seeds.  slices should be at least 1 inch thick.  you will be removing them when jam is ready.  add the chipotle, rosemary and Moroccan spice.  keep some of these last 3 on hand if you need to add some after your taste test when jam is almost done.

start pot on low-ish heat to get things going.  when cherries have released a lot of juices you can turn the heat up to medium high.  don't go far from the pot.  it can start to bubble over.  you should stir a bit every now and then to keep an even heat.  when the jam begins to thicken and it reaches 220 degrees, do a plate test.  DO A TASTE TEST, but beware it is molten HOT!  add extra spices if you see fit.  when the jam looks like it is set to your liking, remove from stove and fill sterilized jars.
proceed with canning process...or seal jars and let come to room temp and refrigerate.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pamplemousse...aka Grapefruit Jam


GRAPEFRUIT...PUCKER UP...THEY'RE IN SEASON

they're big, sour, have tough membranes, big seeds and bitter white flesh that is hard to avoid.  most people need to douse them in sugar and pry the meat out with a special knife or spoon just to get one little morsel...even then it's not all that rewarding.

the poor grapefruit gets a bad rap.  
so many think it's just plain diet food...

NOT SO!


they make for some delicious homemade marmalade.
a little unknow fact is that originally marmalade was made from Quince, but then evolved to oranges.   some say the word marmalade is reserved for Seville oranges and only Seville oranges, but now just about anything with a citrus rind in jam form would be considered marmalade...

oh...and by the way...i called it "Pamplemousse" because i couldn't really label it Grapefruit Lemongrass...the flavor just doesn't scream lemongrass as i had hoped...but it IS in there.  besides...the French word makes it sound more intriguing...right ?


i've been wanting to make some grapefruit jam since my whole JAMMAPALOOZA thing started...i finally got around to it.

since i have the need to color outside the lines, i decided to make Grapefruit Lemongrass Marmalade.  i have cooked with lemongrass quite a few times and know it is usually a strong flavor...i thought it would hold up well to the tart sweet-sourness of the grapefruit.  NOT SO MUCH !  i steeped four pieces (shown in photo) and i even added very thin-thin slivers into the jam as it cooked.  the end result did not show the lemongrass flavor i was looking for.  maybe it was masked by the acid or the sugar?...maybe the lemongrass was a dud ?...i'm not sure, but i'm thinking it added to the overall flavor profile in some sort of way.

in any case...not that i have ever bought any grapefruit jam in my life, but...

i know this is better than any old store bought marmalade.


PAMPLEMOUSSE aka GRAPEFRUIT MARMALADE
(technically...GRAPEFRUIT LEMONGRASS MARMALADE)
makes 6 half pints plus a little extra.

3 ruby red grapefruit, see notes
1 navel orange, thin sliced
1 lemon juice
1 lemon peel, thin sliced
1 clove roasted garlic...optional.  see note
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp fresh ginger finely minced
1/2 vanilla bean scraped
6 cups water

NOTE...optional.  i added four(4) 2 inch pieces of LEMONGRASS, as shown in photo...and some small thin slivers.  the lemongrass flavor did not really come through in the end product, but i hope and imagine it added to the over all flavor layers.
(above is example of lemongrass and pectin pouch after removal from finished product.)

slice the ends off the grapefruits.  run a sharp knife down the sides to remove the peel while leaving the white skin on the grapefruit.  a little white on the peel is ok.  slice the peel pieces to about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.  set aside.  now take that sharp knife and remove the white skin from the fruit...discard.  over a big bowl do your best to segment the grapefruit meat, leaving the seeds and membrane while catching the dripping juices.  squeeze the juice out of the membrane.  save seeds and 1 - 2 membrane clumps for your cheesecloth pectin pouch.  you should end up with about 4 cups of grapefruit meat and juice.

in a large pot, one that you will be cooking the jam in, add sugar, grapefruit meat, juice and peels and the ginger and bring to a boil.  turn off and let this sit over night or for at least 5-6 hours.  this is supposed to help tone down the bitterness.  don't worry, it will still have that slight grapefruit bitter...cuz that's what a grapefruit is...it's bitter.  as mentioned...i added the lemongrass at this point so that it would steep overnight in the mixture.
the next day or when you're ready don't forget to get everything set to go...plates in the freezer for plate test, sterilized jars and lids, start your huge water bath pot and get your work space cleared for take off.
now bring the mixture up to a medium boil.  stir every now and then.  this stage might take a while.  like an hour?  it needs to reduce a bit......don't walk far away, it might boil up on you and that's not a good thing.  add your scraped vanilla bean (and garlic paste if using).  when the jam starts to thicken and reaches 220-222 F degrees try a plate test...if it passes you are ready to proceed with water bath canning.

NOTE about garlic...if you are adding the roasted clove of garlic.   in a small heat resistant cup, take a small amount of the liquid jam out and dissolve the clove into a paste before adding to the jam.  this should be a sight unseen flavor.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

BLUEBERRY LEMON LAVENDER JAM


WHO DOESN'T LIKE BLUEBERRY JAM ?

FRESH BLUEBERRIES... they're still out there.  they're always out there and they are pop in your mouth delicious.  i don't know where you live, but blueberries are a year 'round thing here in So. California so there's really no rush.  sometimes they are better than others and i get excited when they are 2 for 3$ instead of 1 for 4.99$.  the best ones are plump, a bit firm and look like they have a slight white powder dust on them...you know, the ones that have not been man-handled.   grab them up...they're good for ya.

LEMON...might want to go with organic.  always try to use organic when using the outer layer of anything.  i'm a little lazy about this but i really should pay attention.  try cutting your zest in thin slivers as shown in photo with raspberries.  i find it adds a little extra zing when you get that sliver in a bite.

LAVENDER... dried...i buy mine at Mother's Market...inexpensive bought by the ounce.  again, organic...although, i must admit to using some straight from the garden (not so organic garden i might add) and i'm not dead yet.  lavender adds that delicious floral herb aroma flavor that many people aren't familiar with, but detect there's something special in the mix.  it's not overwhelming, but it makes this jam stand out from any ol' store bought jam. 
 NOTE...i should add that you need to be careful adding floral things like lavender in jams...or any food, for that matter...you can easily over do it and end up with something you liken to the face mask you had on your last spa day...or that pretty little candle you got for your birthday labeled RELAX...

 


BLUEBERRY LEMON LAVENDER JAM

6 cups blueberries
3 1/2 cup sugar
juice from 1 lemon or 1/4 cup
zest from 1 1/2 lemon
peel lemon with a potato peeler, then cut into very thin slivers (photo)
2 Tbsp dried lavender tied in a cheesecloth pouch
1/2 tsp dried lavender for the pot
1/2 vanilla bean scraped
1/2 tsp lavender extract.  (if necessary)
note...you can add 2-3 wedges of granny smith apple to the pot for pectin.  remove before canning

i can't stress...mise en place, mise en place...mise en place
don't forget to put a couple of small plates in the freezer for your plate test...and start you huge pot of water for your water bath.  have all your jars sterilized and kept warm so you are ready.

in a large stainless steel or enamel pot add blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest slivers, lavender pouch, lavender buds.  start on low heat until juice is released from blueberries and sugar is dissolved.  some recipes call for you to crush 1/3-1/2 of the blueberries first, but i think i just cut about 1/3 in half.  i like to see whole blueberries in the finished product.  when sugar is dissolved bring the heat up to a medium boil for about 15-20 minutes or until it starts to thicken and temperature is 220-222 F degrees.  add your vanilla bean scrapings and stir well so as not to get clumps of vanilla.  taste test...(careful, it's molten hot) do you need more lavender?  i did so i added in about 1/2 tsp lavender extract.  skim off any noticeable foam.  do a plate test... if you are satisfied, ladle into you warm jars and proceed with the water bath.  i start the clock for 10 minutes after the water has come back to a boil.
after the water bath, let the jars sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours.

i know this is raspberry, but this is an example of the thin lemon slivers



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rose Petal Plum Jam


"A ROSE IS JUST A ROSE..." until it becomes


ROSE PETAL PLUM JAM

another favorite jam from this season...sweet, tart fresh plums with just a wisp of summer rose.
perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea on a cold fall-ish day.
i know you'll be proud to give some away, as i did, but be sure to stick a few jars in the pantry for one of those gloomy blah winter days when you need a little reminder that everything is right in the world.



the jam is a beautiful crimson color with small chunks of plum and an occasional aromatic rose petal...
a little note about the rose petals...smell them!.  some are more fragrant than others.  if buying the dried rose buds, then you'll need to separate them into petals and make sure you weed out the nice looking petals and not all that comes with the whole bud (there's some scrappy stuff you don't want in there).  don't go wild with the petals.  i used 1/4 cup.  they do not dissolve or get really soft in the jam.  you don't want too many rose petal chunks in your delicate jam.  towards the end when i did my taste test i found that i needed to add a little rose extract to really make the rose evident.
it's one thing to call it rose petal jam, but i wanted it to taste like rose petal jam.
and a note about the plums...i bought mine at my favorite Mexican market.  .99 cents for 3 lbs...really?! they had a reddish interior.  the ones in the photo that went by the same name, "Red Plum", had the lighter interior.  i have used both for jams and find that the beautiful skin is what colors the jam so nicely.  OH, and don't buy ripe squishy plums...they should be firm and a little tart.
also, don't be alarmed if the jam is quite stiff straight out of the fridge, it will soften at room temp.
plums are full of pectin and with the assurance of the sliced green apple you will surely get a good "set".  i tend to lean on the more set side, but some like a syrupy jam...it's up to you how far you cook it down.


ROSE PETAL PLUM JAM

3 lbs, plums, equals about 6 cups diced
2 slices of green apple...will be removed
4 cups sugar
1 lemon zest...use a potato peeler and slice into very thin slivers...you can use a microplane, but i like to see the tiny slivers and notice the flavor when you run into one.
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup edible rose petals, carefully picked through
1 tsp cardamom...i started with 1/2 tsp and added the other 1/2 after some taste testing.
1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
1/2 tsp rose extract... you might not need this depending on the intensity of your rose petals.  i had it on hand just in case and ended up adding it in.

get your water bath ready and start it boiling...it takes a long time to boil a huge canning pot like mine.  put a couple of small plates in the freezer.  get all your jars cleaned and sterilized.  i like to clean the jars and sterilize them in the oven for 20 min. at 220 F degrees...then turn the oven to low until ready to fill jars.  hot jam must go into hot/warm jars. 
put all ingredients except the rose extract,  into your heavy non reactive jam making pot...i use a tall sided stock pot to insure no boil over and no splattering.
start on low until you see the plums releasing their juice.  stir a little to combine.  i like to fold it so as not to mash the fruit more than necessary.  when you see more liquid and the sugar is dissolving, turn the heat up to medium.  get a little boil going...then go to medium-high. stir to insure no hot spots and no burning on the bottom.  the mixture will almost double in size and bubble up, so a large or taller pot is necessary.  stir every now and then.  when the temperature reaches 220 F degrees, do a plate test. if you see any pockets of foam skim it off as well as possible.  this makes for a prettier, glistening jam.  i don't get to finicky about the foam skimming, but i try.   taste test your jam at this point.  please remember to be careful, it is molten hot...even blowing on it will not suffice...let it rest.  rose petals can vary in flavor and aroma intensity...i added the rose extract at this time (you might not need to).  cardamom can vary in intensity as well, but remember, you do not want the cardamom to over power the rose.

remove the apple slices.
when you have passed the plate test, turn off the heat and proceed with canning.
i will not go into the whole canning process because this is getting too long, but you can find good information HERE at Simple Canning.com or Pick Your Own.org



one final note...after the jam has been opened, dipped in to and put in the fridge for a few weeks, i found that it discolored a bit on the sides of the jar...as if it wanted to crystallize.  not to worry, it is not spoiled.  i don't know why it does this.  i have only noticed it on the plum jams and a little on the Orange Tarragon jam after a quite few weeks.  maybe i should eat more jam!, but there are 13 jars in the fridge right now! 



Thursday, September 13, 2012

TIPS and TRICKS from my first season canning



ahhhh...
THE FRUITS OF MY LABOR.
oh how i love my beautiful little jars of jam.
i truly did not make this display for the photograph...i just had nowhere else to put them.
AND THIS IS NOT ALL OF IT!
i have eaten and given quite a bit away.

what used to be a lovely dinning room shared by all has now become my pantry for all these delicious jams.  i know i'll have to move them soon, but for now i'm too proud and happy to shove them into the dark lonely kitchen pantry...


i should preface with the fact that this IS my 1st year canning, so i do not, in any way shape or form, consider myself a wealth of knowledge in the canning dept.  i did, however, turn out some pretty darn good jams...TOOT TOOT.  tootin' my own horn there for a second.  if you have other methods and or more tips...i would love to hear...please pass it on.

TIPS and TRICKS 
SO MANY WAYS TO JAM AND CAN, BUT THESE ARE A FEW THINGS I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY.

investigate some good canning sites such as...

learn your fruits that have high and low pectin...HERE

when choosing fruits...
do not choose the ripest fruits.  it is best to have some that are not ripe, but do have maybe 1/2 that are ripe to ensure the sweet flavor of your chosen fruit.  pectin fades as the fruit ripens.  

if using a low pectin fruit try adding a few wedges of granny smith apple in the pot while cooking, then remove before jarring...
or add in a pouch of lemon seeds and membrane as shown in photos below.

learn how to do a PLATE TEST HERE from Food in Jars (great site for recipes and info)
put a couple of small glass plates in the freezer for plate testing.

get all of your mise en place ready before firing up the pot of jam...
sterilize all your jars.
put in a few extra jars. you don't want to scramble if you have more product than you expected.

don't forget to start your big pot of water for the canning process.  when it boils, turn it off and cover it until ready.

important...choose a pot that is bigger than you think you need.  i use a thick bottom stainless steel stock pot with tall sides.  the jam will double or triple in volume at a full boil and some fruits spatter more than others.  you DO NOT want a spill over of molten hot syrupy jam.

boil a small sauce pan of water for the lids.  when it boils, turn it off and put lids in...cover until ready to use.  do not leave the lids in boiling water, remember to turn off the heat.

TASTE TEST...i can't emphasize this enough.  just be careful of the molten HOT JAM.  try to taste test a few minutes before you think it's going to set so you can incorporate more flavor if needed.
add extracts towards the end...and i  think vanilla bean should be added toward the end.

wipe your rims before putting the lids on...and do not screw the lids on as tight as possible...screw them on so there is no play in the lid.  i use the 2 part lids.

do not tighten the jars after they come out of the bath.

do not disturb the jars for 12 to 24 hours...now you can tighten the lids.



to add extra pectin to non-pectin fruits...
example of cutting out the inner membrane core of lemon with seeds to bundle up in a cheese cloth pouch.  be sure to pull off any cheese cloth threads from the ends.  just gently pluck them off as much as you can.


above is an example of the slivers of lemon versus just grating it in with a Microplane.  i find this adds to the flavor in each bite when you run into a sliver of zesty lemon.


use cheesecloth pouch to infuse spices into jams.
you can steep the flavors in as i did when making my Apricot Ginger Vanilla Chai Jam.


star anise is a great add to many fruits.  i used it in my Chinese Five Spice Blueberry Apricot Jam...whoops, haven't posted that one yet...soon.


my favorite jam of the season???
if i had to choose one...maybe two...okay three

ORANGE TARRAGON MARMALADE
RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE
GARAM MASALA NECTARINE

for more jams please go to my LABELS.
i have not posted all of them yet, but i DO have about 5 more jammy flavors coming soon.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garam Masala Nectarine Jam



HELP...farm fresh fruits are on their way out.

i've had so much fun canning this summer, i don't know what i'll do without all this beautiful fruit to chose from.  i know... here in So. Cal. we have all the fruits and veggies we could ever ask for all year 'round, but it's just not the same when you know it's been sitting in a warehouse getting ripe before it hits the store.

nectarines have always been one of my favorite.  when i found out they are full of pectin and perfect for for jams and jellies i knew this would be a good one.
AND you don't need to peel them as you do peaches...the pectin is in the skin.
TIP....don't pick the ripest fruit.  at least 1/2-3/4 of your fruit should be firm...maybe even a few nectarines could be considered "not ripe".  pectin fades when the fruit gets ripe.

Garam Masala is a fabulous warm blend of spices mostly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking.  it usually includes coriander, chili, cumin,  cinnamon, cloves, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom.   as i've mentioned before Garam Masalas can vary in flavors.  you can find it at some specialty stores like Savory Spice Shop or markets such as Mother's Market, Whole Foods or i get mine at a great Middle Eastern market called Wholesome Choice.  the one i use is by Sadaf, called Garam Masala Seasoning.

i absolutely recommend trying this jam...
it's better than plain old peach and it will be a pleasant surprise in the pantry on a cold winters morning...i promise.


Garam Masala Nectarine Jam
adapted from Food.com by Kathy228

6 cups nectarine, diced WITH peels
3 cups sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon.  i use a potato peeler, then cut the strips into very fine slivers
1 Tbsp (a little over) garam masala
1 tsp almond extract

wash and sterilize your jars.  i put mine in the oven at 210 for 20 minutes then turn the oven as low as it will go until ready to fill jars.  hot jam must go into warm jars.
put 1-2 small plates in the freezer for your plate test.
start your huge water bath stock pot so it will be ready when it's canning time.

put all ingredients in a large heavy stock pot and start on low.  when your sugar has dissolved and liquid has seeped from nectarines you can raise the heat to medium high.  get a good simmer going, actually a mild boil.  stir softly so as to keep an even heat all around and no hot spots on the bottom.   when temperature reaches about 215 F add your garam masala and extract.  stir that in, softly...and do a taste test.  i always have to say be very careful with the taste test...it IS scolding HOT...and add a little more flavor in if needed, but don't over power the nectarine.  at 220 F degrees do a plate test.......skim any obvious foam off at this point.   when  it has reached the wrinkle stage on your plate test remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars.
process in water bath for 10 minutes.

if you are new to canning check out Food Safety Site.com




this jam was exceptionally good slathered over the Cardamom Vanilla Bean Pound Cake i posted about just a few days ago.  i haven't tried it with anything savory yet, but i bet it would be fabulous paired with a crispy skinned duck of some sort.  maybe a dipping sauce for some egg rolls?...hmmm


Monday, August 13, 2012

Raspberry Lemon Thyme Jam


best get on the move if making Raspberry Jam
these gems are going up up UP $$$

raspberries are one of my favorite fruits. i wish i could have them year 'round, but they get so darn expensive and i feel guilty buying them too often during winter,

BUT...now i have jam
beautiful bright red sparkling raspberry jam


this jam is pretty straight up bright raspberry with a zing of lemon and just a hint of something herbalicious.  the lemon thyme isn't all that noticeable, but it does give a note of something extra.  with my limited experience, i have found when using fresh herbs it's best to put in more than you think...i always wish i would have used a little more.  maybe adding some  dried in as well, might up the herb flavor a bit, but when fresh is available in the garden...i must use fresh.
be careful...there is a fine line when adding herbs and spices to jam.  it's too easy to over do it and ruin the fruity flavor so make sure you do your taste test.  i have found the canned jars that have been sitting for a few weeks taste different, maybe better than the ones that were just refrigerated.
i guess it will take a little more than one season of experience.
i haven't opened a jar of this for a few weeks so...
 maybe the thyme has had time to infuse a little more?...we'll see.

now...get jammin'


RASPBERRY LEMON THYME JAM

2 1/2 pounds fresh raspberries
3 3/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp lemon thyme...maybe a little more if using lemon thyme? regular thyme might be more potent
1 vanilla bean, scraped
zest from 1 lemon, peeled with a potato peeler and cut into very thin slivers
juice from 1 lemon

sterilize jars and lids.
place a couple of small plates in the freezer for plate testing.
start your huge pot for the water bath canning process.
wash raspberries gently and let drain as much as possible.  i line a cookie sheet with paper towels and put berries in a single layer to dry a little.
peel lemon with a potato peeler in long strips and then cut them in to very fine slivers.   you can use a microplane, but i like to see and taste a snappy zing of lemon.  place everything in a large, high sided stainless steel heavy bottom pot...might foam up so high sides prevent overflow.
start on low until sugars dissolve and mixture becomes more liquid.  turn to medium boil and stir gently until 220 degrees...might be 15-20-25 minutes.  do not walk away.  stir gently every now and then.  DO A PLATE TEST.  skim off any foam that you can, don't get to obsessed with this.  if your plate test is good...ladle into sterilized jars remove any air pockets and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

as i've said before...i am no canning expert, this is my first year.  i have produced quite a few delicious jams and preserves, but i have not tested their shelf life over a few months.  i hope to have loads to give as X-Mas gifts...we'll see...so far so good.
please refer to websites with all the "how-to's".
here's a great place to start...Canning 101, the basics by Simple Bites


above is an example of the lemon slivers i suggested in the recipe

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet Bing Cherry Chipotle Preserves


oh... how much do i love cherries?!...
i'll buy a pound or 2 with a recipe in mind and end up eating 1/2 the bag before i get it home.
DANG...i'll have to go buy more.

now that they are in season and on sale everywhere i can't help but find new ways to use them.  so far i've made Cherry Balsamic Jam, Cherry Clafouti, Sweet Spicy Pickled Cherries, this Sweet Bing Cherry Chipotle Preserves and i've got 3 pounds of plump Bing in the fridge waiting to be made into Sweet Cherry Balsamic Preserves.  i know i haven't posted about most of them yet, but i will get to it soon as possible...
so you too can get  going on the cherry train.


these little jars of sweet spicy smoky cherry preserves turned out absolutely fabulous...almost a mistake, but a blessing in disguise.  by that i mean...i was looking for more of a spreadable jam, kinda like my raspberry chipotle jam, but this just didn't want to pass the wrinkle test from the frozen plate.  it was thick, but not as thick as usual.  i didn't want it to go too far because i wanted to maintain the integrity of the cherries so i decided to pull the pot off the stove and "let it ride".  at first i was a little mad that it looked too runny after the 24 hour waiting period.  when i opened the first jar i was pleasantly surprised with not only the big chunky cherries, but the syrupy sauce is to die for.  not too thin at all...just thick enough to hold it's own.  the flavor has just the right amount pop from the lemon, heat from the chipotle and all the smoky adobo flavors.

the syrupy sauce glistens and runs all over the bread...i guarantee you will want to drink this stuff or at least lick the bottom of the jar...yum!




BING CHERRY CHIPOTLE PRESERVES

3 1/2 lbs fresh bing cherries...will probably equal 6 cups of pitted slightly chopped (*see notes) cherries
1 lemon zest
and juice from that lemon
NOTE...David calls for 2 lemons, but i think 1 will do because of the pectin in the granny smith apple slices and the acid in the adobo and balsamic.
4 slices of granny smith apple
4 1/4 cup sugar
2 chipotle peppers from can, minced
NOTE...remove seeds and mince peppers.  add seeds back in with peppers if using...the seeds are visible in the preserves and make it MUEY CALIENTE!
2 Tbsp adobo from can of chipotles
1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

per David Liebovitz...buy as many cherries as you feel like pitting ( i say no more than 3 - 4 lbs.).  after washing, stemming and pitting you are going to cook (soften) the cherries with the lemon zest, juice and measure the volume you have...then add 3/4 of that volume in sugar.
*NOTE...after doing this and it being kind of a hassle, i would just measure my prepared cherries (diced, halved and whole) and add the sugar accordingly, ie. 3/4 of that volume.  i found that the sweet red cherries probably did not need a pre-cooking.

i mostly followed David's recipe and did this...

don't forget to put a small plate in the fridge for plate test and start your huge pot of water for your canning if doing so.

use a large pot...the mixture will double in size and foam up.  you do NOT want cherry juice overflowing all over the stove top!
cook cherries, lemon zest and juice (i added the 4 slices of granny smith apples in at this time) stirring once in a while until they are wilted and soft...maybe 20 minutes.
measure volume, cherries and liquid, and use 3/4 of that volume in sugar.  i had 6 cups so i put a little less than 4 1/2 cups of sugar.

stir the sugar into the cherry mixture and cook over moderate to high heat.  per David, the best jam is cooked quickly.  watch and stir fruit often so as not to burn the bottom.

once the liquid begins to slightly thicken add the minced chipotle, adobo and balsamic.  stir and continue cooking.  when mixture reaches 220 F degrees do a plate test.
NOTE...my last cherry jam was a little too thick so i over compensated because i wanted to retain the look of the cherries.  i did not reduce my liquid as much as usual...i reached 220 F degrees a few times, but did not get the wrinkle on the plate test...
HENCE THE REASON FOR CALLING THIS PRESERVES INSTEAD OF JAM.
the end result did not thicken to a spreadable jam consistency, but it IS a nice thick syrupy base with big chunks of delicious spicy, smoky sweet cherries.
if you want a thicker base i think you could add more sugar at the beginning and or just cook it down a little more, but you might lose the look of the cherries.
i will experiment some more and give a report, but i think the next cherry concoction will be Pickled Balsamic Cherries...





Friday, July 27, 2012

Pineapple Coconut Vanilla Bean Jam



pineapple coconut citrus and vanilla bean...


one bite and you'll be transported to a sunny lanai on the north shore.


when we go to Hawaii we stay at this fabulous resort with one of those memorable breakfast spreads...  pastries, omelets, bacon, waffles, pancakes, jams, jellies, marmalade, bacon, oats, granola, bacon, bagels, smoked salmon, fruit, BACON, sausage. i think i over do it a bit...i mean REALLY over do it.
room service?...faget about it!  delicious.

and...shhhhhh...i always pocket the cute little jars of pineapple jam...just the pineapple.



i missed my Hawaiian vacation this year so i thought maybe i could bottle it up in a tiny little jar.  i'll make my own pineapple jam.
the result ?...pretty darn FABULOUS !
if i close my eyes i can hear the waves crashing and feel the sun shining.
i keep telling myself...soon...i'll get there soon,

but for now...
i have Hawaii in my little jar of jam.




PINEAPPLE COCONUT VANILLA BEAN JAM

1 medium pineapple...about 5 cups after peeling, coring, cleaning and slicing
cut into 1/4's and cut off core.  cut 1/4's into 3 wedges.  slice wedges very thin.
1 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut from white meat (no brown skin) of a brown coconut (see note)...use a cheese grater
3 1/2 cup white sugar
1 vanilla bean.  cut open and scraped
zest from 2 limes, 1 lemon and 1 small bright orange orange...peel citrus with a potato peeler and cut strips of zest into very fine slivers
juice from 1/2 lime, 1/2 lemon
1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger.  again i used the cheese grater...not a microplane
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract...i only had cheap McCormick's coconut flavoring....  i thought i had the real extract in the pantry.

NOTE...since making this jam i have learned a trick to help low pectin fruits set better...throw in a few (3) wedges of granny smith apple while cooking and remove before putting in jars.
NOTE about coconut meat...refer to answer #1 on this site to remove coconut meat from shell if doing yourself

get all your stuff out and ready...
sterilize jars.  i wash them and dry them in a 210 F oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and keep them in there until ready to fill.  HOT JAM MUST GO IN WARM JARS.  also bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil, then turn off.  put lids in the hot water until ready to use.
put 2-3 small plates in the freezer for plate test.

put all ingredients except extract and vanilla bean scrapings in a large pot.  i use a tall stock pot to keep splatter from happening.
cook on low heat until sugar dissolves and pineapple releases juices.  turn the heat up so it is a mild to medium boil.  carefully stir to keep an even heating and no burning on the bottom.  around 210- 215 F degrees add your extract and vanilla scrapings.  stir to inappropriate.  do a TASTE test.  BE VERY CAREFUL OF MOLTEN JAM when tasting.  at 220 F do a plate test.
NOTE...pineapple jam is hard to get a good set...so i've heard.  i did not have any problem.  i just kept it going (turning it down to low while waiting for the test in the freezer) until i had a good wrinkle on the plate test.  i might have done at least 5 tests before i was satisfied.  don't worry, it will turn out delicious as a sauce/jam if it doesn't set all the way.
skim off any surface foam if possible.
when plate test is satisfactory, turn off heat and ladle into warm jars.
process in water bath for 10 minutes (sea level)

NOTE...i am not a professional canner, by any means.  please refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation...or google your questions.  there is a wealth of information out there, but don't get too technical about it..

don't forget to HAVE FUN !!!



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