Friday, 27 September 2013

Jamming away: apple, ginger and vanilla

I'm no pioneer in this respect either - this method of making jam was picked up from a fellow blogger in Finland. And though jam-making (dear me, using words like that with such ease. WI - you've been warned!) is no rocket science, this "forget the apples in the oven for an hour and a half and have a glass of wine in the meanwhile"- method does appeal to me more than the traditional slaving over the stove-style. And crikey. This just might be the most delicious jam ever! The fellow blogger wasn't lying - making it like this does produce a more intense, almost toffee-like flavour. Now I should just think of where to use it! Any ideas?

In all its simplicity the only rule is this: the right amount of jam (or gelling) sugar is half of that of the apples. Then add what ever tickles your fancy: a cinnamon stick, ginger, vanilla pod, cardamom, a star anise or, as some more creative bloggers had suggested: saffron.  I used a couple of cm piece of ginger cut into slices and the skins of three vanilla pods the insides of which had been utilized elsewhere in baking frenzy. If you use an intact one with seeds and all, one should be enough.

When making jam, there are a couple of ground rules:

Make sure the jars you're using are clean. Before filling them, immerse them in boiling water to make sure you get rid of all the little germs and impurities that (much like love according that song) are all around. 

Fill the jars while the jam is still hot. Fill them to the brim so there'll be no air left in which those germs could wreak havoc and start fermenting the jam. Or worse yet, start building mold. 

Close the lids immediately and let them cool in the room temperature before storing them in cold. Once they've cooled and that centre of the lid has popped back down you can pat yourself in the back and congratulate yourself with another glass of wine. That lid, you see, tells that the required vacuum has been created and your jam is safe. 

And now - let's jam away! The final quantity is roughly 1/3  of the original volume.

800 g apples
400 g jam sugar
a 3-5 cm piece of ginger
the skins of 3 vanilla pods OR 1 whole one, split in half and the seeds scraped out

Heat the oven to 150°. Cut the apples in half, remove the core and cut the halves into smaller chunks (depending on the size to 2-3). Dump them into a oven proof dish and pour the sugar (and any other flavouring agents you might be using) on top. Stir, put the dish in the oven and let stew for 1-1,5 hours. You can stir it again for a couple of times while they're stewing. If you want to. In the meanwhile have a glass of wine and be appalled at the insane behaviour of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (this, too, is optional).

Remove the dish from the oven, remove the vanilla pods/ cinnamon sticks/ ginger slices and blizz in a blender to a consistency of your choice. Pour in the jars (see before) and, once cool, store in the fridge.




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