Archive for the Jams and Butters Category

A: Squished squash.

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags , on December 5, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

R’s brave return to the Canningvale wholesale markets found me carting a cardboard box full of goodies back to mine a few weeks back. Sitting among the apples, mushrooms and zucchinis were golden-yellow squash– plump and perfect, just screaming to be pickled!

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Enter the all-accommodating Digby Law’s Pickle and Chutney Cookbook.

Pickled yellow squash (adapted from Pickled Yellow Courgettes)

Ingredients:

8 cups sliced squash

2 cups sliced onions

1 cup diced green capsicum

3 tbsp salt

2 cups cider vinegar

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp mustard seed (I didn’t have celery seed and doubled the mustard seed)

Combine the vegetables and sprinkle with the salt. Let veggies stand for 1 hour.

Drain well without rinsing.

Combine vegetables with remaining ingredients and boil gently for 10 minutes.

Pack vegetables into hot, clean jars and cover with the hot syrup before sealing.

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Ready to eat in 4 weeks!

We’re off to the wholesale markets tomorrow morning and I am determined NOT to come home with:

– Tomatoes (For real this time. Really, really, really real. Really.)

– Squash (Been there, done that.)

– Peppers

– Over-ripe mushrooms (Way too stressful trying to use everything up before it all goes rancid. Having smelt rancid mushrooms one too many time this is one experience I will gladly miss out on!)

Everything else is fair game! (Especially strawberries, mangoes, pineapples, watermelons and fruit of all manner. YUM!)

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A: Merry berries.

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags on October 25, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

And so marks the start of preserving season (in our house at least). On man’s request I decided to address the self-inflicted strawberry glut by making jam. This batch of strawberries are decidedly sweet. This, combined with the fact that I don’t possess a particularly sweet tooth resulted in a reduced-sugar jam that in my view, was just sweet enough.

I use the juice of 1 lemon for every 500g of strawberries, plus a third in weight of sugar. Combine ingredients for 2 hours, during which the strawberries surrender a phenomenal amount of liquid resulting in what looks like a strawberry soup!

Bring mixture to a boil and simmer gently until quite thick. (It took me about 2 hours.) Due to the reduced sugar levels, don’t expect this jam to set as thick as it would with a 1:1 sugar-fruit ratio. It is quite runny, but very, very fruity!

Transfer hot jam to warm, sterilised jars and store in the fridge when cool. I do this as I’m not all that certain how the reduced sugar affects the shelf-life of the jam. Not too sure how long this should keep although I have consumed it months and months after jarring and it was just fine! This is the way jam should be- simple, hearty and all about the fruit (with 3 ingredients you really can’t get much simpler!).

Note: Every 500g of strawberries yield about 300ml of jam.

A: Making lemon season last…

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags , on July 26, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

HOW EXPENSIVE ARE PRESERVED LEMONS IN THE SHOPS?????????

Now, I do like what Maggie Beer has done for the profile of Australian produce, but A$10.45 for 300g of preserved lemons? NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Other producers tend to hover around that price range as well, making it one of the most profitable items on supermarket shelves to date I’m sure!

I say so only because I know so. I have been making my own preserved lemons for a while now and though I get my lemons mostly for free when in season, they’re really not that expensive. I use rock salt for preserving my lemons which again, isn’t the most extravagant of ingredients. So, in my quest to put preserved lemon-sellers out of business, here goes my recipe which by the way keeps indefinitely in the fridge once opened. Really, it does. I have read accounts of cooks leaving it on their counter-tops and topping up their jars with fresh lemons and salt when running low. Google it, you’d be surprised!

Preserved lemons

Ingredients:

Lemons (Meyer lemons make the sweetest, most divine preserved lemons. But whatever you can get your hands on will be just fine.)

Rock salt (roughly 3 tablespoons per lemon plus extra 1/4 cup for the jar)

Enough jars for your lemons (or lemons for your jars, depending on how you operate.)

Bay leaves, cardamom pods, black peppercorns, fresh red chillies, whatever you like!

Olive oil

Method:

1. Place spices into the bottom of a sterilized jar.

2. Soak lemons in water for up to 3 days, changing the water daily. This apparently disperses bitter/acidic gases or something like that. I find that it softens the skin and really does sweeten the lemons.

3. Cut length-ways down the lemon in a criss-cross fashion about 3/4 way through each lemon. If your jars are smaller, cut each lemon length-ways in half then 3/4 way in half again.

4. Fill cracks of lemon with as much salt as it will hold then really pack the lemon into the jar. It’s okay if you squeeze some juice out. (Best to do this over a bowl so you don’t waste any juice or salt!)

5. Keep going until you absolutely cannot fill the jar anymore. Add all the salt and juice from your bowl, plus the juice from an additional lemon and about 1/4 cup of salt.

6. Fill jar with hot water then leave for a few minutes to get rid of all the bubbles. Top up with olive oil and put the lid on.

7. Leave in a dark place for 4 weeks (at least) before using. Refrigerate once opened and take pleasure in knowing that you have just saved yourself at least $10.

A: I see lemons… they don’t know they’re lemons… they’re everywhere!!!

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags on July 2, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Meyer lemons have arrived and I couldn’t be happier!!! Manrat has developed a fierce aversion to all things lemony since I started my mad citrus obsession years ago. MORE FOR ME!!!

So, what’s brewing in that pot, you may ask?

It’s my no-fail, super-tangy, super-lemony, super not-too-sweet-not-too-bland….. LEMON BUTTER!!! No need for double boilers or vigilant stirring. I’ve been doing this one for a while now and this recipe is also one I can recite be heart. Here goes:

Lemon butter

250g butter

500g sugar

zest and juice of 6 Meyer lemons (which yield a lot of juice so if you’re using any other type of lemon you might want to use 8-9 instead, and increase the amount of sugar too as Meyer lemons are a sweeter variety and tend not to need too much sugar)

9 eggs, lightly beaten

Reserve zest in a bowl while you make the butter. Ah, Microplane heaven…

Combine all other ingredients in a heavy based saucepan (very important), put the lid on and put on a low heat. There’s no real need to stir until the butter melts, after that whisk it every 2-3 minutes or so until it thickens to a typically curd-y consistency.

Pass the lemon butter through a sieve into the zest and stir well. (This gets rid of any lumps or curdled egg-bits.)

The sieve saves you from worrying about lumps and cooked egg bits.

Bottle and enjoy! (Keeps for about 3 weeks in the fridge)

If you make it properly, your lemon butter might even do a trick or 2 for you! 😉