March 29, 2011

Microwave Jam

This is a post I wrote a little while back, I think the hold up was that I was hoping to get some pretty jam pics for you, but alas, I was making this jam at midnight and couldn't make the photos look very exciting (or as exciting as home made jam should be!). Then I forgot to get the photos of the finished product before giving it all away.  I know it's not as pretty without all the photos. 

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!!


Microwave Jam

Ingredients

1 lemon, halved
500g fruit remove stone or stalk and chop fruit
1 1/2 cups (335g) white sugar

Method
  1. Juice the lemon.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Discard lemon rind and spoon the hot jam into sterilised jars. Invert for 2 minutes then turn upright to cool. 
NB. How to sterilise jars and bottles
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.



March 23, 2011

It's been too long!

I know I've been away from the blogging scene for a little while (who am I kidding?  I've probably never really blogged regularly). 

The past year, my life has gone through some pretty serious upheaval.  It's been hard enough to just get through the day, let alone get any creativity flowing.  I won't elaborate, but just wanted to give a brief explanation. 

I'm going to get back into blogging a bit more frequently.  This year has got to be better than last year and I'm going to try to improve my blogging skills this year, along with making a number of other improvements in my life.

So, welcome!  Hopefully you will enjoy your time here, and hopefully you will find a reason to come back again :)  We will return to the recipes in the next post!