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:

Cloudberry Jam

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.

Blaeberry/Bilberry Jam

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
(Ploomimoos vaniljega)
Adapted from Hoidised

1 kg plums (stoned weight)
500 g jam sugar (i.e. with added pectin)
1 lemon
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.


Saffron said...

Yesterday my mum made peach and apricot jam!
Lately I found so many great tips about Scotland in your blog that will be very useful in my second holiday there!!
Thank you and have a nice week!

K and S said...

these jams look delicious! and I love those cute cut-outs you have them on :)

Katie Zeller said...

Your jams are gorgeous!
You're making me feel very lazy...guess I'll go pick some pears - pear-ginger jam!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm lucky to have friends who make jams, because I am not a jam maker. But I can imagine the pleasure you will have of tasting these summer treats during the cold winter.

Gracianne said...

Summer fruits, well preserved for the winter. Thanks to you I know what bilberries are. But I have never heard of cloudberries, where is my dictionnary?

Anonymous said...

Aw! That is one of the cutest jam presentations I've seen! :)

Kalyn Denny said...

Wow, very impressive, and I love the little stars!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Great to know about bil/blueberries. And the baby stars are gorgeous ...

Deborah said...

One of these days I want to start making my own jam. Yours all look so wonderful!

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are so lovely, Pille.

Dagmar said...

They look lovely and very tasty! I've only made on sort of jam this season: rhubarb with orange, cinnamon and ginger which was very nice. After reading your post I feel inspired to make more sorts, especially with plum.

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Wow Pille, you've been so busy. How wonderful to know you've got so much put away for a long, cold winter. They look beautiful!

Wendy said...

Goodness, these are sooooo cute! I used to make jam tarts with my aunt when I was a child but they were never as gorgeous as these.

By the way, thank you so much for the kind invitation to show me some cafes in Tallin. Didn't have time this trip. Hopefully next time though! It's a beautiful city. :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Pelli, that is just a fabulous use for the left over mirror cake! And the jams look totally awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hi nami-nami. i'm inday hami of, a food and travel blog on this lovely province in the philippines. i was immediately attracted to your banner title. you see, nami-nami in our language means very nice. your photos are also great; i cannot say the same thing about mine because they're just basically point and shoot.

Rasa Malaysia said...

The 3 little stars with jam are too cute, I wanted to eat all the stars. :)

christine said...

Ohhh redcurrant, cloudberries, bilberries, these are all now 'exotic' to me. They look and sound wonderful and would love to have them at my breakfast table. I love your cute stars, pille. :)

Pille said...

Saffron - enjoy Scotland! I'll be visiting again in early September - hope it won't be raining too much:)

K&S - I thought that star cut-outs would be a nice way of eating - and presenting those three jams..

Katie - yummy! You know how I feel about ginger. Rhubarb-ginger jam was amazing, and yesterday I simply had to throw a handful of candied ginger into my apple pie:)

Lydia - Sunday pancakes wouldn't taste the same with shop-bought jam, believe me!

Gracianne - cloudberries are wonderful. They've got plenty of names in French, including mûre des marais, plaquebière, ronce des tourbières, ronce petit-mûrier, mûre arctique!

Joey, Kalyn, Patricia Scarpin, figs olives wine - thank you!

Alanna - and then there are bog bilberries - I'll blog about them in a few days.

Deborah - and they're easy to make!

Dagmar - we're waiting for local plums to ripen (I used imported ones for the vanilla & plum jam), and then we'll be surely making a lot more plum jam.

Wendy - lets do it next time then indeed!

Tanna - there were all those odd bits and pieces of sponge left, so it made sense to use them for something pretty:)

Inday Hami - our photos are mostly point and shoot as well, though I'd like to think that the photography have improved since the beginning :) I love the very nice meaning of 'nami-nami' in your language!

Rasa Malayisia - you'd be most welcome:)

Christine - isn't it funny how we all have different things we consider 'exotic'. I cannot see anything exotic in humble redcurrants, for example:) But then I'm sure I'd be very, very, very lost & confused at Manila market!

Ambi said...

Hi, Three new starts in the kitchen, yes it is correct. i saw the blog but i want to know where this "BILBERRY JAM" available in hyderabad. if anybody know please let me know. thanks.