Monday, August 06, 2007
Three new stars in the kitchen: a golden cloudberry jam, a shiny bilberry jam, and a fragrant plum & vanilla jam
Up here in Estonia, I'm busy preparing for the long, dark and cold Nordic winter by trying to preserve some of this gorgeous, light & sunny summer. I've made a litre of wild strawberry fridge jam (and a small jar of wild raspberry jam), three different types of cherry preserves, and K has made some apricot jam . Oh, and I made this gorgeously red redcurrant jelly. We did make few jars of ginger & rhubarb jam, using Moominmamma's recipe, but we have already eaten those.
Here's what we stored away about a fortnight ago:
A honey-coloured cloudberry jam. This is not actually made by me, but sent us by K's mum, who is busy in Lalli picking those golden berries these days. And we're helping her to eat them :)
Anyway, here's a recipe for preserving all those cloudberries you've been picking this summer:
1 kg cloudberries
400-500 grams sugar
Clean the cloudberries (i.e. remove any loose leaves), then layer in a saucepan with sugar. Leave to stand in a cold place for four hours or overnight.
Bring slowly into a boil, then simmer for about 25 minutes, by which time cloudberries are softened and immersed in syrup. Now skim off any froth from the surface of the jam, and ladle the jam into hot sterilised jars. Close immediately and store in a cold and dark place.
Here's something I've learned only recently. I've always known that 'mustikas' translates as 'blueberry' (even if the Estonian name actually means 'black berry'), and that's what's written in most English-Estonian dictionaries. However, Johanna and I (and our respective other halves) figured out in London in April that the dark blue berry of Europe is actually a bilberry (Scots 'blaeberry', French 'myrtilles', Latin 'Vaccinium myrtillus') --- and it's the larger blue berry (with WHITE or greenish inside) that you find in the US and Asia that is blueberry (Vaccinium Cyanococcus). They taste alike, although I find the bilberry flavour more intense, and the easiest way to tell one from another is to bite into a berry and look at it closely. The bilberry, you see, is beautifully dark purple throughout..
Anyway - here's how I make my bilberry jam (the recipe would work equally well for blueberries:)
The recipe yields about 700 ml.
1 kg of bilberries, rinsed & drained
400 grams of sugar
50 ml of water
Place bilberries and water into a saucepan, and bring slowly to the boil, stirring regularly.
Add sugar, simmer on low heat, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes. Skim off any froth that appears on the surface!
Ladle the jam into hot sterilised jars, close immediately and keep in a dark & cold storage.
Plum & Vanilla Jam
Adapted from Hoidised
1 kg plums (stoned weight)
500 g jam sugar (i.e. with added pectin)
1 vanilla pod
100 ml water
Cut the vanilla pod into half lengthwise and scratch the seeds loose with a small knife. Put both the pod and the precious seeds aside.
Place halved plums into a saucepan, add water and vanilla pod&seeds:
Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the vanilla pod.
Add sugar and a generous squeeze of lemon juice, continue simmering & stirring for another 20 minutes. Skim off any froth that appeares on the surface. (If you want a smooth jam, then you could press it through a sieve or colander after this).
Pour the hot jam into preheated sterilised jars, close the jars immediately.
PS - the stars are cut-outs of leftover sponge from the Strawberry Mirror Cake episode.