January is supposed to start with promises to self on issues of great importance, right? Zin should be getting Zen.
On a farm when everything decides to ripen at once the year starts with the loud demands of rapidly ripening fruit. This is overlaid with the inherited (or absorbed) psychological subtext that ‘waste is sin’. Days start from half sleep mental notes of picking orders, processing possibilities and storage to sale solutions.
So some plan to drink less (really not helpful to our business) eat less (really bad idea) exercise more (make bread to avoid tuck-shop arms). If you really want to be helpful, I need you to eat more jam, relish and pie.
When someone skinny, fit and pious arches a brow when you reach for another slice/piece/glass – tell them you’re just doing your bit to help a farmer.
I don’t know (or choose not to know) anyone who doesn’t like the gift of a jar of homemade jam – it’s like a hug in a jar. If you grow or receive the gift of excess fruit these are my top tips for quick results.
2 kg fruit
2 kg sugar
1 or 2 lemons
Boil rapidly for ten minutes or until a little cooled in a saucer sets.
Remove lemon, pour into hot sterilised jar and lid immediately.
That, is it. These tips may help:
If you are using low pectin fruit like strawberries add some jam setter (pectin) or high pectin fruit like apple grated through.
Add a smattering of less ripe fruit to aid setting.
NEVER try to cook more than 2kg at a time.
Add a knob of butter to rid a foamy top
Use the largest pot you can with a heavy bottom (I mean the pot) Smaller pot, smaller batch.
Fruit with stones that are not free may be easier cook and then remove the stone, most will float to the surface. Don’t worry about the odd stone.
If you are too busy for jam, relish or pie right now and the fruit looks like it might crawl off the bench if you leave it one more day, roast fruit with a little butter and sugar and pop in the fridge or freezer. This should only take a few minutes and it will now keep to make some pies or top ice-cream or as a base for a more exotic chilli jam/relish.