Pear jelly with cinnamon

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I’m not a fan of supermarket jelly, which needs only to be coated with water. home jelly requires much time and effort, but still I prefer its natural taste.

1-2 pears
2 cups pear juice
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pear liqueur
1 lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1/3 cup fluid gelatinizing agent

1. Combine cinnamon and pear liqueur and leave it for a night. Next day pass through a sieve and pour the extract in a small bowl.
2. Pour pear juice in a big saucepan, add extract and sugar.
3. Peel pears and slice. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
4. Constantly stirring, bring pear juice to a boil and add pear slices. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add gelatinizing agent.
5. Pour jelly into rummers or other ware. Put jelly into fridge to cool.

Blackberry jam

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This easy jam recipe is based on a simple principle – “bring to a boil”. Blackberry turns to be very tender and palatable. Cook it yourself and make certain of that.

1 kilo blackberry
1 ½ kilos sugar
2 cups water

1. Bring water to a boil and add blackberry.
2. Bring blackberry to a boil and combine with sugar.
3. When sugar dissolves, bring jam to a boil once again. Cook over gentle heat 20-25 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and allow jam cool. Then pour into jars and seal.

Jalapeno chili jam

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I’ve found another chili jam recipe in my cookbook. Moreover, this one contains tomatoes and apple, and I think I like this recipe even more, because jalapeno chili pepper has an exquisite tender-burning taste. You can use it with any dishes to your taste. Experiment!

Jalapeno chili jam

10 jalapeno peppers, seeded
2 tomatoes
1 green apple, grated
1 big onion, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar

1. Bisect the peppers, put them on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until skin turns black.
2. Remove the peppers from the oven and let them cool.
3. Scald tomatoes and peel skin from them. Remove skin from peppers as well. Chop veggies finely.
4. Combine apple, onion, sugar and vinegar in a pan. Add tomatoes and chili peppers and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
5. Bring the mass to a boil and reduce heat. Allow it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
6. Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Home canning process step by step

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Don’t be afraid to start home jam canning, because it’s not so hard as it seems on the face of it. There are two main methods to kill molds and bacteria in the jars and caps: boiling water method and steam-pressure method. Don’t use the first one to process low-acid foods – they require super-heating in a steam-pressure canner with a weighted gauge. Yes, it will be much better if you have a special canner. After you fill the jars with jam, adjust the lids (two-piece caps) and screw the band without using too much force. Your jars are ready now for canning.

Boiling water method

1. Fill canner half full with water and set the rack above water.
2. Heat the water to 80-90 C and put the jars on the rack. Lower them into the water, cover the canner with the lid.
3. Bring the water to a boil and keep it gently boiling during the canning process. Set timer for the definite number of minutes and process the product until the time is over.

4. Turn of the heat and remove the jars. Let them cool naturally 12 to 24 hours before checking for a seal.

Home canning

Steam-pressure method

1. Add 2 or 3 inches water into canner and heat it to a simmer (about 80 C).
2. Place the rack on the bottom and put the jars on it. Lock canner lid and open the petcock. Increase heat until you see steam flowing and process the jars for 10 minutes.
3. Close the petcock and go on processing for 5 minutes.
4. When the gauge indicates the recommended pounds of pressure, set the timer and maintain the correct pressure, varying the heat if needed.
5. Turn of the heat and let the canner cool. Don’t open the petcock until the gauge shows zero pressure, then open it and wait for couple of minutes.
6. Open the canner and wait again for 10 minutes. Take out the jars and allow them cool down as in the first method.

Now I can tell you how I usually check for a seal to get to know if there is an air inside. I press the lid center: if it doesn’t flex then there is a good vacuum seal formed.

Jam cooking tips

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Let’s go back to jam cooking. Is it of current importance nowadays, when you can simply go to the shop and buy everything what you can permit yourself? I say yes, of course, why not to try? You lose nothing, only gain cookery experience. Especially if you’re a housewife and have enough time to give up to this tempting occupation. Believe me, home-cooked jam is not to be compared with the bought one. It has its own natural taste and contains no preservatives. Speaking honestly, I feel a surge of pride looking at the jars standing abreast in my cellar. And I’m not afraid of a cold wintertime: a sauce with amber-colored fragrant homemade jam makes the days warmer and brighter. These things I didn’t mention last time would help you to make a jam not worse than you buy in a supermarket, and even better.

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1. Prick fruits and berries that have a hard peel with a toothpick – they will absorb syrup better.
2. Blackberry requires blanching for 2-3 minutes in boiling water; otherwise it will be dryish in a jam.
3. Plunge berries into hot syrup for 3-4 hours for extra aroma and shape holding.
4. If you take a little bit unripe peaches, pears, strawberry and raspberry, they won’t be boiled soft.
5. If the jam doesn’t thicken, add some lemon juice or applesauce. It will thicken soon.
6. If you think the jam is overdone and can become sugared, add 1-2 grams citric acid for 1 kilo of jam to avoid it.
7. Use a special enamel ware with low sides.
8. Cook not much than 2 kilos fruits or berries simultaneously. This lightens the cooking process, besides your jam will be much more aromatic.
9. The whole cooking duration mustn’t be more than 40 minutes. An overdone jam has a syrup too thick, brownish-fulvous color.
10. Cook a jam only over gentle heat.
11. During cooking you can see foam appearing above the jam. It happens because of albumen setting and it’s all right. Remove it with a spoon or skimmer.
12. To get to know if the jam is cooked do this: take a cool saucer and drip jam on it. If the drop doesn’t flow, the jam is ready.

I can also tell you about 3 ways of jam preservation. The first is hot canning. The jam is poured hot into the jars and sterilized by a boiling water method. The second way is pasteurization or steam-pressure processing, which is considered to be more effective. And the third method is cold canning but it’s less popular and I don’t use it because it requires much sugar.

Last but not list, remember that jams are usually made from one sort of berries or fruits, than a combination of several berries. Glue a little note with the date and name of the containing fruit on each jar. Store the jars in the cellar or fridge. Good luck with jam making!

Chili jam (recipe 1)

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As compared with other fruit preserves this jam isn’t a sweet dish. I use it as a seasoning  to add heat to meat or spaghetti. This chili jam requires no canning.

¼ chili, finely diced
6 spring onions, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tsp sesame seeds
1 lemon, squeezed
pinch of chili flakes
handful of coriander leaves, chopped

1. Place vegetables, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili flakes and garlic  into a mini food processor and blend together.
2. Put into a pan over a gentle  heat. Add coriander, sesame seeds and lemon juice.
3. Stir for a 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Grapefruit confiture with brandy

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This jam has at once 3 advantages – it’s rich in vitamins, contains a few calories and it’s easy to cook.

1 ½ kilos grapefruit, sliced
4 cups water
6 cups sugar
1/3 cup brandy

1. Place the grapefruits together with peel and pits into a food processor and blend.
2. Heat water in a big pan and cook the grapefruit mass for 30 minutes. Put it in a big bowl, cover and allow it cool down for a night.
3. Put grapefruits in a pan again, add sugar and cook over gentle heat until sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil and simmer 20 minutes until confiture is thick enough.
4. Add brandy and let it cool down for 5 minutes.
5. Pour confiture into sterilized jars and seal while it’s hot.

English Christmas jam Ballymaloe

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This astounding jam is traditionally used for baking; tartlets are usually made with it. Store it no more than a year.English Christmas jam Ballimaloe

2 apples
2 lemons
1 pound beef grease, sliced
4 ounces candied lemon peel
8 ounces dry currant
1 pound raisins
8 ounces sultana
2 pound unrefined sugar
5 tbsp Irish whisky

1. Heat the oven to 180 C. Take out apples’ core and bake whole about 40 minutes. When the peel bursts, remove it and mash the pulp with a fork.

2. Grate lemon peel; squeeze the juice out of them. Combine with apples, add other ingredients and mix well.

3. Put jam into jars and can it. Wait at least 2 weeks before you open the jars.

Guava jam

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Guava jamDid you know that a single guava fruit contains more vitamin C than a usual citrus fruit? Cook this exotic jam for your kids and be sure they’d get much more vitamins than having eaten typical sweets.

10 to 12 ripe guavas, sliced, seeds removed
3 cups sugar
1 tsp red coloring item
water – as needed

1. Heat water in a pan and cook the guavas until tender.
2. Filter out the liquid part. Add sugar and cook over medium heat. Stir regularly. Cook until thick enough to spread on bread.
3. Add red color and mix. Let the jam cool down.
4. Pack and can, or store in an airtight container.

How to make a real jam

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As I decided to call my web page Real Jam, i.e. something very delicious, I wasn’t so sure what kind of recipes I was going to publish – I had an unstructured plenty of them. But suddenly another aspect of this name was revealed to me and I asked myself: why not to write an article about jams, which I love so much?

You can see in any dictionary that jam is fruits (rarely vegetables), heated with water or sugar, or syrup. A good jam contains unsodden fruits and pieces of the fruit’s flesh; the syrup is easily separated from them. This high-calorific product can be stored for a long time, but it lacks ascorbic acid and some other vitamins, that get destroyed during a long cooking.

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People of Western Europe had no idea of any fruit preserves before easterly expansion and crusades, because they weren’t acquainted with sugar. Only in 16th century, when a bulk of cheap American sugar was delivered to Europe, fruit confectionery cooking has started. So, jam appeared in the English-speaking countries, confiture – in France, and in Germany the same product was called marmalade.

If I feel like cooking a jam I go to the shop and choose berries and fruits of best quality. Unripe fruits are not savory and tasty enough, your jam won’t be aromatic in case you use them; on the other hand overripe fruits are boiled soft. The berries for a fruit preserve must be equal in size and ripeness degree.

By jam making it will be better if you avoid fruit corrugation and deformation. This can be achieved when sugar syrup saturates them evenly, and cellular fluid becomes syrup with the same speed. If the fruits are saturated unevenly, they will emerge. The same thing happens when the jam is cooked over a strong heat: the juice inside of the fruits’ flesh begins to boil and makes it difficult for the syrup to get in.

There are some cookery tricks to avoid deformation or boiled soft berries, but I’m going to speak about it next time.

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