Saturday, June 18, 2011

I made jam!

I took my food nerdiness to the next level this week when I made jam out of the giant chokoes I bought on our holiday at the roadside stall. I've wanted to try my hand at preserving for ages now. It's probably a good thing I have a kitchen the size of a postage stamp with zero cupboard space otherwise I'd be preserving up a storm. I didn't realise it was so easy to pasteurise the jars! I was always like, omg how do I make the button go in instead of pop out 23!#$%3 etc. Of course I kept forgetting to look it up. Nadine's mum gave us a set of preserving jars and a preserve recipe book for Christmas this year I think, and on the first page it has 3 easy steps to doing it. Doh. I only needed a stock pot.

As you can see, the two jams above are completely different colours. The reason for that is I totally burnt my first attempt. Can you guess which one? Haha. However I reckon it tastes like fruit mince, as in christmas mince pies, so I'm going to keep it until I make some this year and use it in the mix. I looked it up, I'm under the impression it's okay to eat burnt jam. They even sell it commercially: burnt fig jam by Maggie Beer. If anyone reckons otherwise please let me know before I poison my family!
They look a bit funny with the material. Maybe it's the width of the lids?

Anyway, I found the orginal recipe in 'The 21st Birthday Cookery Book of the Country Women's Association in Tasmania'. An awesome book, there's chapters dedicated to help make you the perfect housewife! Want to have a good day? Get up early and cook him breakfast! All that aside, it is a very handy book. I want a copy. It has recipes for everything, from lamingtons to endless jams, how to make the perfect ---, etcetera. I especially love the advertisements through it.

I edited the recipe a little bit to suit me, as I burnt the first lot and didn't have enough of everything to make a complete second batch, so here you go:

Choko Jam


580g choko
zest and juice of one lemon (I got 1/2 tbsp zest and 100ml juice I think)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
150mL water
580g raw sugar (white will do - any granulated kind. I tried to make it healthier)
100g crystal ginger, finely chopped

This recipe makes 600mL of jam, I had 3 little 200mL jars.


1. Peel your choko(es). I had one large one. Put it in a bowl of salted water while you prepare the rest.

2. Zest and juice the lemon, and put it into a large saucepan with the water and cinnamon.

3. Either cut your choko up into very small cubes or grate it. I cubed - grating it would make it cook faster, my cubes took forever! Put it with the lemon and water and turn to medium heat. Cook until soft. (This is important, it has to be soft because once you add the sugar it won't soften any further!)

4. While it's cooking you can sterilise your jars - I stuck mine in the oven on low until the jam was ready to go. Also, you can heat up the sugar if you like, to make it dissolve faster. Put it in a baking dish and heat it on low in the oven for 10 minutes. At this point, put a large stock pot deep enough for your jars full of water on low heat.

5. Once your mixture is sufficiently softened, pour in the sugar. Stir until it dissolves, then boil. A few minutes before it's ready, stir in the chopped crystal ginger. Mine took about 30 minutes to be ready, but I started testing at 15 minutes because I was paranoid it would burn again. I also stood there stirring it the whole time. Don't know if that was completely necessary. To test, have a plate in the freezer, and put a tsp of the jam mixture on it. Stick it back in a freezer for a few minutes and take it out - if it's got a skin and isn't drippy it's ready.

6. When it's ready, pour it into your jars. I put mine in a measuring jug to make it easier (the burnt batch went all over the palce. I learned.) Screw the lids on tight but not extremely tight and put into the (now probably simmering) pot of water. stick a lid on and bring to a boil. Turn it off and let stand until the water has cooled down. The buttons in the lids should be in, not out and you're done!

I'm sure there is an even easier way to seal the jars. I recall turning it upside down for a few minutes then right way up andleaving it until cool. I dunno. This way worked for me!


I'm pretty excited about it. We just have to finish the jars of storebought jam in the fridge before I open one of these jars! It tasted good hot, haven't gotten as far as room temp yet.

The most annoying part was chopping up the crystal ginger, gah! I wonder what grated fresh ginger would be like?

My next project - beetroot relish? Yum. I had a brainwave of making my own sugar free applesauce. If only I had space. Guess what you'll be getting for Christmas this year people!

Also, random, but I had to throw out my bunya nuts - I'd sort of forgotten about them and though they were in the fridge I didn't really want to eat them after months of having them :( I'll have to buy some more!

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