Sunday, 7 September 2014
Plum, sloe and vanilla jam
The Indian summer is here, and it's a perfect time for foraging. Wild berries and fruit are now out in abundance, and who doesn't like free food?! Sloes are quite ripe already, much earlier this year than usual. I know people tend to pick them after the first frosts for making sloe gin. But I am not a fan of gin. I know it is trendy nowadays, but in my mind it is forever associated with the Hogarth's Gin Lane. Sloes' main claim to fame is it use in sloe gin, but surely there are other ways of using this tart fruit with shiny dark blue skin. Walking yesterday into town, my son Eddie and I went through the fields near our house and I have picked a punnet of sloes.
Plum, sloe and vanilla jam (makes 4+ assorted jars)
1400g sugar (I used 1kg of preserving sugar and 400g of granulated sugar)
4 Vanilla extract Spice Drops
a blob of butter.
Cover the sloes with water in a deep pan, bring to boil and cook for 15 minutes on low. Once the sloes are soft and mushy, remove the pan, let it cool a bit and strain through a sieve. Use a wooden spoon to push the sloes around the sieve to get as much juice as possible. I ended up with 350ml sloe juice.
If you like you jam smooth and skin-free, skip this stage altogether, and cook the plums and sloes together before straining them, so that the skins are left in the sieve. I prefer to have a bit of a bite in my plum jam, and love plum skins and pieces.
Place the stoned and quartered plums in the deep pan, pour the sloe liquid over the plums. Bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer the plums for 15 minutes. Add all the sugar, stir on low heat until all sugar has dissolved. I used a mix of preserving and granulated sugar, by all means use whichever you prefer, just preserving or just granulated.
Bring to boil again, boil rapidly for 10 minutes, stirring regularly and skimming the scum (though it is a shame to call the pink sweet foam scum; in fact don't throw it, is is lovely on toast or in croissants). Add 4 Vanilla Extract Spice Drops if using (or a tbsp of vanilla essence).
Turn off the heat, add a blob of butter.
Let it rest for 10 minutes before ladling into sterilised jars).
I used Vanilla Extract Spice Drops in this recipe. Spice Drops are a new range of concentrated extracts of natural spices. They are not alcohol based, but are very concentrated extracts of natural spices. You literally need just a few drops to enhance food and drink. I have recently received a couple of spices for testing and reviewing.
Adding my jam recipe to Four Seasons linky hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg.
The Vegetable Palette on Allotment2Kitchen blog this month is everything Purple, so I am adding this recipe too.