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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Apple Butter #BloggerCLUE

Low slow cooking transforms apples and a little sugar into apple butter by evaporating most of the juice until it creates a smooth, luscious spread that is concentrated appleness personified. And, despite its name, is completely dairy free.

It’s Blogger C.L.U.E. time again, when I get assigned a blog to hunt through to look for recipes which fill September’s “clue” or theme: fall fruit. I’m not ready for pumpkin yet (Is pumpkin even a fruit?) and frankly I’m not a fan of pears so I was hoping that A Mama, Baby and Shar-Pei in the Kitchen would have some apple recipes. I was not disappointed.

The eponymous mama behind the blog is Alice who is a fellow expat, living first in England – before I knew her so I had some catching up to do – then back in the US for a few years, and now she is making a home in Japan. Sadly, her first child, the Shar-pei, is no longer in the kitchen but over the years one baby became two so I am sure her household is just as crazy.

I had a hard time choosing from Alice’s many apple recipes. Tipsy apple pie with rum or her Ever American apple pie? Both looked delicious. Or baked Apple-y Donut Holes? Alice lived for many years in Washington state so she is really, really fond of apples. I was so tempted by her homemade apple chips and her apple cheddar scones as well, but as you can see, I finally settled on apple butter, which Alice makes in a crockpot.

Her original recipe calls for 30-60 apples so I scaled mine back to a more manageable level, but it is so good that next time I just might go all in! Oh, and I also added some lemon just to add a little more tartness because I used only Red Delicious instead of a mix of apples and I subbed ground ginger for cloves and allspice.

Ingredients
1/4 cup or 60ml fresh lemon juice
11 apples - about 4 1/2 lbs or 2 kg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 cup or 200g sugar

Method
Pour your lemon juice into the crockpot.

Peel, core and slice your apples, putting all the sliced bits in the crockpot as you go.

Give it a stir every now and then to mix the apples through the lemon juice.



Add in your spices and sugar and mix well. Alice’s instructions said to cook on medium for 10 hours, stirring occasionally, then turn to low but my crockpot only has two settings - low and high - so I put it on low. She also said that if the apples are cooking down too fast or burning to turn it to low so I figured low was better than high if you only have two choices.



I started a little late in the morning so I turned my crockpot on about 11 a.m. stirring the apples every hour or two all day long. By 9 p.m. that evening, they had cooked down and softened but they certainly weren’t anywhere near apple butter or even applesauce. So, following Alice’s advice, I left them on low overnight.



It was glorious the next morning to wake up to a whole house still smelling of apples and cinnamon. I used my whisk to break the apples down completely into sauce; they were still quite juicy though. You can use an immersion blender, as Alice did, but I found the whisk worked beautifully since the apples were already so soft.



Leave them on low for another few hours, with one change of method. Every time you take the lid off to stir the crockpot, use a dry cloth to wipe the condensation off of the inside of the lid, rather than letting it run back into the pot, which is what I had been doing.

Could I have turned the crockpot up to high at any point in this process to speed things up? Sure, probably so, but I enjoyed the leisurely stirring and the completely relaxed, no stress method more. Because even if I was just reading a book or watching tv, I was being productive! Most importantly, I had time to take a few photos of a spectator outside my kitchen window. I've been reliably informed that he's a bee-eater but he also seems to eat other bugs and ants, bringing them all up to the windowsill and knocking them on the concrete to remove stingers and extract venom.



At the 24-hour mark, I ladled the hot, thick apple butter into sterilized jars. You should do the same to yours as soon as they reach a consistency you like. Remember that the apple butter will thicken up a little more as it cools.



Aside from peeling, coring and slicing the apples, this apple butter feels almost effortless and the full jars make that time spent well worthwhile. Thanks, Alice!



Enjoy your apple butter spread on buttered toast or stirred through some plain yogurt. It also makes a great filling for tarts!


Are you ready for fall fruit? Check out all the lovely recipes my fellow Blogger C.L.U.E. participants are sharing today.

.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cherry Lemon Jam #SundaySupper

Juicy summer cherries and fresh lemon, cooked down with lemon zest and sugar, are the perfect jammy marriage of sweet and sharp, as delicious on a piece of buttered toast as spooned over cold vanilla ice cream or stirred into a pot of natural yogurt. 

One of my pet peeves is waste. That’s not to say that I don’t throw out my share of things in the refrigerator that somehow manage to work their way to the back, get forgotten, and grow legs on occasion, but it makes me sad when that happens. Especially when it’s something I really love to eat.

Here in Dubai, where temperatures rarely fall below an average low winter temperature of 57°F or 14°C, growing cherries, which require a chill time of 700-800 hours in order to flower and produce fruit, is just not an option. So all of the cherries that appear in our supermarkets are flown in at great expense from countries that enjoy near or freezing temperatures in winter. As you might guess, those costs are passed on to consumers and cherries are crazy expensive to buy here. So one of my favorite summer rituals is buying and eating my not inconsiderable weight in cherries when I am in the States on holiday.

As I packed up to head back to Dubai this summer – and if you follow me on Instagram you know I mean that quite literally – I still had a big bowl of cherries on the kitchen counter. There was just no way I could leave those behind! So I got out the cherry pitter and went to work. Jamming is so much more satisfying than packing suitcases!


Jam making is really easy, with the right tools.
A digital scale and a thermometer are going to simplify the process. One of the secrets to easy fruit jam, that is jam that sets, is to add something acidic, like lemons which have natural pectin, and to cook the fruit with an appropriate amount of sugar until it reaches a temperature of 220°F or 105°C. And since the amount of sugar depends on the weight of your cooked fruit, I’d like to suggest you buy a digital kitchen scale. < Amazon affiliate link to the one I use, but, honestly, any scale which can toggle between metric and imperial measures will do, giving you the freedom to use recipes from all over the world. (You can measure by volume but weighing is a lot less messy.) And if you don’t have one, may I suggest you get a thermometer as well? < Once again, that's an affiliate link to mine - costs about $14 and I use it ALL THE TIME. A thermometer takes the stress and worry of “will it set?” completely out of the jam making equation. Reaching the proper temperature hasn't failed me yet.

Ingredients
A bunch of cherries (mine weighed 2 lbs 5 oz or 1050g unpitted, with stems, 2 lbs 1 1/2 oz or 950g without pits and stems)
2 small lemons (about one per pound or half kilo of other fruit)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Sugar - an amount equivalent to 3/4 the weight of your cooked cherries and lemons and their juice – this batch was 2 lbs 2 1/2 oz or 978g – so I used 3 1/2 cups or 734g sugar

Method
Sterilize your jars and lids and put them at the ready, metal teaspoon in each, canning funnel perched in one, before you begin. Sterilize your ladle as well. The amounts given above made two pint jars and one half pint.



Pit your cherries and put them in a large non-reactive pot. (If you have a scale, go ahead and weigh the empty pot first and make a note of the weight for later.) Grate in the zest of your two lemons.

Cut the peels and pith (the white stuff) off of your lemons with a sharp knife. Remove all the seeds and chop the flesh into small chunks.

Scrape the chopped lemons and any juice on the cutting board, into the cherry pot.





Add the extra two tablespoons of lemon juice into the pot.

Cook the pitted cherries and lemons, covered, over a medium flame for about 15 or 20 minutes, until they have released some juice and the cherries have softened.

Use a potato masher to mash them lightly, leaving some cherries whole.

Measure your cooked fruit, juices and all, by volume or weight and then do a little math. Add 3/4 that amount of sugar, along with the salt.

My calculation looked like this:
Pot weighs 1300g empty.
With cooked cherries and lemon, it weighs 2278g.  2278-1300 = 978g.
Weight of cooked fruit and juice = 978g x .75 = 734g or about 3 1/2 cups sugar to add

Cook the fruit, sugar and salt over a medium to high heat, uncovered, till the mixture starts to thicken. Stir frequently and set your thermometer in the pot. Cook quickly until the temperature reaches setting point for jam: 220°F or 105°C.



Quickly ladle the hot, sweet jam into your prepared jars and screw the lids on as tightly as you can manage.

Turn the jars upside down and leave to cool. The scalding cooked fruit further sterilizes the jars and as the jam cools, a suction forms and the lids are firmly sealed. The little circles on the lids should pop in and keep the jam safe for consumption for many months. If any of the seals don’t create a sufficient vacuum and the circles don’t pop in, store those jars in the refrigerator.



Enjoy!



This week I am delighted to be hosting Sunday Supper with my friend and fellow blogger, Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks. It’s our goal to encourage everyone to Save Summer Harvest with a number of methods, and in keeping with the mission of Sunday Supper, to enjoy the bounty of summer around your family table for months to come.

Canning
Dehydrating
Fermentation
Freezing
Infusing
Pickling
Preserving in oil or butter
And for even more help and support


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.



.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jammy Gooseberry Oatmeal Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange


Sticky gooseberry jam makes these oatmeal cookies even chewier. And everyone knows that a chewy oatmeal cookie is the best oatmeal cookie. 

This month’s Creative Cookie Exchange challenge was to use produce that we each have in abundance, wherever we are living right now. The UAE still grows a few things this time of year like okra and eggplant but I just didn’t see using either of those in a cookie. I decided to be adventurous and try a fruit that I had never cooked or baked with before, gooseberries, which are abundant in the United Kingdom this time of year, and are brought in to the UAE in prodigious quantities, at least in my local supermarket. A little research revealed that most gooseberries are too sour to eat uncooked without added sugar, so jam seemed like the logical answer. I’ll share the jam recipe at some point, but meanwhile, feel free to use whatever jam you’ve got handy for these great cookies. Something marmalade-ly with little chunks of fruit would get you closest to the taste of these made with my tartly sweet gooseberry jam.

Gooseberries!


I’d also like to point out that, despite their stickiness, clean up was a breeze thanks to my new silicone mats, a gift of the folks at Kitchen Executive Chef who are trying to spread the word about their great new product. Unfortunately, the mats are out of stock at Amazon right now but, according to a post on their Facebook page, they will be back in stock in just a few weeks.

Ingredients
For the cookie dough:
1/2 cup (firmly packed) or 100g brown sugar
1/3 cup or 70g granulated sugar
1/2 cup or 115g butter, softened
1/4 cup or 80g gooseberry or your favorite jam
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup or 125g flour
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 cup or 100g uncooked quick rolled oats

For topping: 1/2 cup or 160g gooseberry or your favorite jam

Method
Cream your butter with the two sugars then add in the jam and mix well.

Now add in the egg and milk and mix again.





Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat until smooth.



Add in the oats and beat until well mixed.  Chill the dough for half an hour in the refrigerator.



When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C degrees and grease a cookie sheet or line it with a silicone mat.

Drop one tablespoon scoopful at least two or even three inches apart on your prepared cookie sheet. These cookies are going to spread out.



Dip your thumb in some water and press an indentation in the top of the scoop.



Spoon in a half a teaspoon or so of the jam.



Bake 8-10 minutes, or until light brown.  For chewy cookies, do not over bake!





These are fabulous with a cold glass of milk. Enjoy!



Check out all the fabulous recipes my Creative Cookie Exchange friends have made with summer's bounty!



The Creative Cookie Exchange theme this month is Creative Uses for Summer's Bounty! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura via email (thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com) and she will get you added to our Facebook group where we coordinate events.

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!










Sunday, August 10, 2014

Apricot Habanero Jam #SundaySupper

This spicy apricot jam is fabulous with some cheddar or cream cheese on crackers or toast, but our favorite way to enjoy it is as a glaze and/or topping on pork chops. 

This week Sunday Supper is Saving Summer with lots of great recipes that take advantage of nature’s bounty during the growing season and extend its use into fall and winter. Farmers’ markets and roadside stands are redolent with summer produce, if you are fortunate enough to live or visit some place that’s not hotter than the hinges of the gates of hell right now. As much as I love Dubai, there is no other way to describe our summer heat index. Just recently, though, I was able to visit the island of Jersey in the English Channel and I was practically skipping with joy to buy eggs and Jersey Royal potatoes at roadside stands. It’s all on the honor system. You just take what you need and drop the money in the box!
Photo credit: Glenys Claverie

Here in Dubai, the farmers’ markets close for the summer but fresh produce is flown in from everywhere around the world. These apricots were from Lebanon, if I remember correctly. I try to buy those items that have traveled the least distances.

Make sure you scroll on down to the bottom and check out all the lovely recipes and “how-to” instructions we have for you this week. And many thanks to my co-host, Tara, from Noshing with the Nolands. She’ll be leading the Saving Summer Twitter chat this evening so be sure to join in!

Ingredients
2 lbs or 910g fresh apricots
1 small habanero
3 1/2 cups or 700g sugar, divided
Half pack pectin - Just less than 1 oz or about 25g (I use the Sure-Jell brand and the box says 1.75oz or 49g.)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
 1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice, most pulp

3-4 clean, sterilized jam jars
Wide-mouth funnel for filling jars

N.B. Make sure your jars and lids are thoroughly sterilized because this quick canning method does not require a hot water bath or pressure cooking. If you have any doubts whatsoever, store the jam in the refrigerator once cooled.

Method
Halve your apricots and remove the pits. Pull the stem off of your habanero and discard it.



In a large pot, heat your apricots with the habanero, 3 cups or 600g of the sugar, the sea salt and the lemon and orange juices.

Cook over a low to medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming any white foam that forms around the top. The apricots and habanero should start falling apart and turning to pulp.



Get your jars ready for filling by lining them up on some paper towels (to catch the inevitable drips onto your countertop) and inserting a metal teaspoon into each one. A wide-mouth funnel will make this so much easier! Put the funnel into the first jar, at the ready.

Meanwhile, mix your pectin with the remaining half cup or 100g of sugar.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool for just a few minutes. Use your hand blender to puree the mixture to your desired consistency.



Return the pot to the heat and add in the sugar/pectin mixture. Mix well and bring the pot to a full rolling bowl for at least a minute.



Ladle the boiling hot jam into the clean jars, moving the funnel along as you go. Do be careful not to splash jam on yourself.

I completely missed taking a picture at this stage so here's one from when I made tomato chutney for Sunday Supper. Pretend this is apricot habanero jam. :) Same process.



Remove the teaspoons and screw the lids on the jars very tightly, using a towel to hold the jars and turn the lids, starting with jar one. When you get to jar three or four, start over at number one, trying to tighten them all just a little more.

Turn the jars upside down so that the hot jam further sterilizes the insides of your clean lids.



Leave the jars upside down until the jam has completely cooled, which could take several hours. Turn the jars upright and check that the center button on the lids have popped in, if your lids have those. Any jars whose buttons have not popped in should be stored in the refrigerator as this means the seal is not good and bacteria could get in. If this jam lasts that long. :) I could eat it with a spoon.


Enjoy!



Garden growing overtime? Fruit and veg box overflowing? Can't resist the local produce at the farmers' market? Then this is the Sunday Supper for you!

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts


Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.


Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Saving Summer Preview #SundaySupper

The Sunday Supper Movement is dedicated to bringing back mealtime around the family table with great new recipes every single Sunday and quick and easy weekday suppers, Monday through Friday. This Sunday, we are celebrating the bounty of summer by sharing recipes and methods for ways to make the most of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit and even extending their use into the next season. 

It has been my privilege to be a part of the Sunday Supper Movement for more than a year and a half. In fact, this week is my 50th post with the group! I am delighted to be co-hosting for the very first time with my friend, Tara, from Noshing with the Nolands.

Enjoying the bounty of each growing season used to be a given before the days of refrigerated trucks and airfreight. My grandfather grew many of the vegetables his family ate while my grandmother preserved what she could by blanching and canning or pickling the harvest shortly after each crop was picked. This was a way of life for them, despite owning and running their own full time business. It’s just what you did back then to feed your family as economically and as healthfully as you could.

Now we have many options for saving summer produce, including our handy home freezers and Sunday Supper is making the most of them all this week! I would be most appreciative if you would stop by again on Sunday to see all the wonderful recipes and instructions we’ll have for you.

But, meanwhile, here’s a sneak peak at the Sunday Supper Saving Summer link list:

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts


Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.


Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.