This Christmas just past, I went with a "food as gifts" theme and made a lot of tasty things to give as presents. I decided that a good present would be jam using unusual combinations of fruit; combinations you can't buy even from gourmet delis that make that kind of thing. I got thinking about all the different types of fruit I could put together and came up with a few different ideas.
Jam making has always intimidated me a little. I had tried it once previously, when the jam company that I used to get Pear Jam through stopped making it. I really wanted my pear jam back! So I decided to make my own. Let's just say the results weren't very good. I had hard chunks of pear in yucky-tasting jam.... I mean, it set ok, but the flavour was pretty much enough to make me want to vomit. I still don't even like thinking about the smell! Ew!
Being that jam making was kind of scary, and that it had to turn out because I was going to give it as a gift, I started to think I was a bit crazy for wanting to attempt it when the results had to be good! It was then that I found a microwave jam recipe and tweaked it a bit to make it just right. The thought of microwave jam was far less daunting than stirring a mass of sugary syrup on the stove, wondering how I'd be able to tell if it was ready.
Turns out that this is pretty easy, you just have to really watch it, as it has a tendency to overflow and overtake your microwave!!
1 lemon, halved
500g fruit remove stone or stalk and chop fruit
1 1/2 cups (335g) white sugar
- Juice the lemon.
- Place fruit, lemon juice and the rind halves in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook, uncovered, on High/100% power, stirring occasionally for 6 minutes.
- Add the sugar and cook on High/100% power for 20 minutes, stiring every 5 minutes, or until the jam reaches setting point. (To do this, cool some jam on a chilled saucer and run your finger through it. If the jam stays separate and doesn't slop back together, it is ready to bottle.)
- Discard lemon rind and spoon the hot jam into sterilised jars. Invert for 2 minutes then turn upright to cool.
- Preheat oven to 110°C. Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place jars and lids in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water.
- Bring water to the boil over high heat. Cover pan. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with a clean tea towel.
- Using metal tongs, remove jars and lids from boiling water and place upside down on tray. Place in oven and heat for 15 minutes. Bottle hot jams in hot jars and cooled jams in cold jars.