jammin’ and harvest time

2 Oct

So my friend Luke works for the DPI or DEEDI or whatever the government has decided to call it this week, as a plant pathologist. Lots of trips to farms, inspecting fruit, vegetables and anything else done in the agribusiness field. I’m sure there’s more involved, but I didn’t quite take down a complete job description while I was there.

Since I’ve known him there have always been stories about him making jams and conserves. And I’ve always been a little jam-curious. FINALLY managed to get to make some jam with him today when the offer was put on the table last night (he bailed last time due to a hangover – thanks Luke :P)

Rocking around at 7am to mine, it was off to the West End Markets to find the right fruit. After umming and ahhhing over strawberries, other berries, pineapple (he was pretty keen on me making pineapple jam), I decided to go with kiwi fruit. Though, I was tempted to go strawberry, because there is one woman at the markets, I’m pretty sure she’s Italian, and she’s always shouting out “FRESH FARM STRAWBERRIES! WE PICK YESTERDAY YOU BUY TODAY!”…. I mimic her to no end, and it usually shits my friends to tears. Whatever, it’s hilarious.

We ended up buying three bags of kiwi fruit. A bag of green apples (I think we used three of them) and some lemons.

Now as I mentioned, he showed up to mine at 7am. Which meant I had to get up early. On a Saturday. I’m not a morning person at all, so most of this is typed from a semi-awake (and semi-attentive) haze for the most part.

Meet the kiwi swag, I wasn’t really sure if it would be enough. I was assured that once it was fleshed out with some apples, it’d be fine.

After a quick trip to Coles to buy sugar and pectin (jam setting agent) it was off to his place to begin!

Luke recently moved into a place at Holland Park, renovated it and turned the front yard into a veggie patch. It’s really nice, except for the bird that’s currently making a habit of dive bombing anyone that hangs around the front yard. Thank god all this jam making is planned to take place inside!

So I began to cut up and scoop the flesh out of the kiwi fruit, and Luke set about washing jars out and peeling and grating apples (and putting 2 plates in the freezer – you use these to test that the jam has set later)

Aren’t they pretty!

Apparently the easier way to scoop out a kiwi fruit is lengthways. I prefer the old fashioned way!

And here is our gracious host grating apples. (He kept checking his fingers, thinking he was grating them into the apples)

Then it all goes into a big stockpot and onto the stove top! You can add water if you want, but I wanted a thicker jam. Make sure you add some lemon juice to it and mix it all in. This stops the apple from oxidizing. You don’t want brown bits in your jam!

It looks like a strange combination of kiwi fruit and potato right now.

Now you put it all on high heat and boil it (stir constantly) until it liquifies enough. The apple even goes transparent!

You stick the jars in the oven at 120degrees Celsius and keep them in there until you’re ready to jar the jam.

When you’re happy with the consistency and how much it’s boiled down, pour the mix into a large measuring cup. You have to add sugar to it at a 1:1 consistency. 1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of pulp mix. This is also when you want to put your lids on boil.

We totalled 6 cups of each in all, put it all back into the stockpot, back on the heat and stirred it constantly (you don’t want anything to caramelise on the bottom) Luke ended up adding two tablespoons of the pectin in when we nearly finished. Stir. Stir Stir.

This is when you get your plates out of the freezer, and begin to put a little dollop on the plate. Tilt the plate around so it spreads evenly, blow on it until it forms a skin, and then run your finger through it. If it wrinkles, your jam is ready to be jarred. It doesn’t take long once the pectin is added, but apparently everything differs depending on what fruit you’re using. As Luke reminded me often, it’s not an exact science (And you really can’t do anything else while you’re making jam… things can happen very quickly)

So off the heat it went, while we took the jars out of the oven, and then dumped it all to our good friend, Mr Pyrex Cup.

And then you pour it into your jars. And very carefully (with an oven mit, or a tea towel, as we used) you tighten the lids.

And here is the end result! And it’s damn delicious. Though it needs to be given time to set properly. But I’ve already eaten half of a small jar. Seemed fine to me!

So feeling very proud of ourselves (read: me proud of myself), we went down to his garden and picked some veggies. Carrots, peas, a massive bowl of cherry tomatos, we unearthed potatoes (teeny tiny baby potatoes too, so cute, and should be so delicious!) and hacked away some normal cabbage, chinese cabbage and broccoli.

Ahhhh…. heirloom carrots. Aren’t they pretty! I tried a white one. And you know what? Tastes just like carrot!

And then we roasted our achievements and had lunch!

Now it’s nap time for sure! It’s been an altogether relaxing and productive Saturday!

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9 Responses to “jammin’ and harvest time”

  1. Princess Kristy October 2, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    Love love LOVE!
    I’m totally going to try this….just need to save up some jars. I’m not one to use stuff from jars, so it might take a while…

    • decoratingbrisbane October 2, 2010 at 7:10 am #

      Just start buying sundried tomatos and other antipasto platter stuff. You’ll have a jar collection in no time. I keep the spaghetti sauce jars I use. Things look nicer in a cupboard when they’re in jars, and not in tied up plastic bags.

      • PrincessKristy October 2, 2010 at 10:35 am #

        Please be assured, there are NO plastic bags in my cupboards!!! I make my pasta sauce from tinned tomatoes, so I s’pose it’ll be up to my pesto and mustard consumption to earn me jars…

      • decoratingbrisbane October 2, 2010 at 10:38 am #

        I wish I could live all fresh-food-diet like you guys do. I’m dying to do a “Looking for Alibrandi” style wog day where I make my own pasta sauces. Requires jars…but it just looks like such fun. Big social occasion where everyone makes pasta sauce!

        …You could always get some jars from a second hand store….do they exist in Dubai?

  2. Giovanna October 2, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    This is great step by step info…. definately will try this!! Good job!! p.s I made rocky road today…. sans peanuts 🙂

    • decoratingbrisbane October 2, 2010 at 8:59 am #

      I’ve got a jar of jam here for you if you want it. Also have more veggies than I can eat.

  3. Bee October 2, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Ooo kiwifruit jam. What a great idea. For some reason I’ve never thought of using kiwifruit in a jam before.

    • decoratingbrisbane October 2, 2010 at 10:33 am #

      You really should try it. It’s a great summer option. Fantastic on some warm, crusty bread. I was a bit iffy about it at first, because when you think jam, you think strawberry, but it does taste great!

  4. Matthew P Gridley October 3, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    I am so going to have to try some of this kiwi konserve, it sounds delicious. You have given me all these new food-tech ideas, I can’t wait to reach holidays to unleash! And now I know how jam is made!

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