I've been jamming again! I started last week with an apple and greengage jelly which turned out yummy (and oh so pretty) and today I have made raspberry and peach jam.
The jelly came about because I found some windfall apples in the garden of the house I was looking after last week (the neighbours have an apple tree with a branch that hangs over the fence) and thought hmm, what can I do with these. Jelly of course. Because I only had a few and, lets face it, plain old apple jelly is a bit boring really I needed something else. Greengages seem to be in season now, at least there are loads of them in the shop, and I absolutely love them. I have been eating them by the truck loads the last couple of weeks and had some at home so I thought I'd chuck those in as well and just see if it worked. It did, beautifully so!
From what I understand apples contain a lot of pectin, you can make pectin stock from them to use instead of commercial pectin when making jam, so you'd think it'd be fairly easy to get apple jelly to set. I however only achieved a soft set, after boiling it for what seemed like hours. Maybe I'm not so good with jellies as the same thing happened to my apple and rose hip jelly last year. Now I don't mind a soft set jelly (and I'm not just saying that because that's the only kind I can make) because I just eat jelly on toast. I don't eat meat so I don't do the whole lamb and mint/pork and apple/beef and whatever thing. I'm also militantly opposed to mixing sweet and savoury. I don't want no freaking sultanas in my couscous or pineapple in my cottage cheese. If you're going to eat jelly with some sort of food you would probably want it properly set, but if you're putting it on some crusty white bread or a toasted crumpet jelly that has the consistency of slightly thick runny honey is perfect!
I also had the idea of making sweetmeats again. Last year I made apple and rose hip and it was scrumptious. This year I wanted to try something different and had the idea of using cherries. I wasn't sure if I should do just cherries or mix it with something else like apple (apple seems to me quite a neutral flavour, perfect for mixing with other stronger ones, but what do I know). Before I could decide however, and work out what technique to use, I realised my cherries didn't look too nice. So I just ate them before they could go off.
I'm not with this experiment though, I will make it! British cherries are in season so it'd be a shame not to make something with them.
Today I also found rhubarb in Sainsbury's. Granted it was dutch, but I've been quite upset to have missed rhubarb as I have a flavour combo I want to try. I was so desperate I was considering using tinned rhubarb even though that would be weird and feel like cheating (plus is that something that's done? does it work?). So rhubarb is also on the list.
Peach and raspberry jam will get a post of it's own. This one is starting to get a bit rambly! Also, I have 5 or 6 books to finish...
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