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Archive for October 15th, 2010

This jam contains a surprise – a secret ingredient: secret because it is there but you cannot taste it (at least we could not) but essential for bulking up the other ingredients so you can make a good quantity.   It is a perfect recipe for using up a glut of courgettes, or for when you find one hiding under a leaf which has reached marrow sized proportions – or are the recipient of post Harvest Festival bounty!  The secret ingredient is, as you have probably guessed, courgette or marrow…

I came across this at Tinyinc where it was called Marrow & Ginger Jam, but I have renamed it: the jam was very gingery and very lemony (but so ‘un-marrowy’)!   I made just a few small tweaks to the original recipe. Firstly, I weighed the marrow and used this as a measure for the other ingredients using 1 lemon and 30g root ginger for each 40-45g unpeeled marrow/courgette and sugar equalling the weight of the marrow/courgette).  Secondly, as with Tinyinc’s recipe, I did not want lumps of vegetable in my jam so I liquidised the marrow down to a puree, which made it silky smooth, apart from the ginger and lemon shreds.   Thirdly, I grated the ginger and added the outer peelings to the bag containing the lemon pips and shells.  I find a bag made from the (clean!) knotted foot of a pair of old tights makes a really good alternative to my muslin bag which would have been far too big for this. Fourthly, I used ordinary sugar without added pectin with no setting problems. I did wonder if it needed some apple to help the set, but risked a batch without finding it set easily.  This is a wonderful jam, with a translucent yellow colouring not dissimilar to lemon curd, which I know will become a family favourite and I can see myself making again and again.  Tinyinc advised that the flavour matures and intensifies if the jam is stored first (which may prove difficult).  As for uses, apart from spreading on bread or toast, (a good alternative to ginger marmalade), tonight I stirred some into yoghurt with some lightly poached figs (apple, pear or plum would be good too) – it would also be delicious as a cake filling.  When you have made this jam, don’t tell people the secret – see if they can guess – surprise them!

Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan.  Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning.  I speak from experience!  I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background.  I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Surprise Lemon & Ginger Jam
(Makes about 3 x 1lb jars)
Weigh the marrow/courgette first and adjust the recipe proportionately: 1 lemon and 30g unpeeled ginger to 40-45g vegetable.  The weight of sugar should be the same as unpeeled marrow/courgette.  The quantities below are those specified in the original recipe.

1.25kg marrow or courgette (peeled, deseeded and in small dice)
1.25kg white sugar
3 lemons
90g fresh root ginger (peeled and grated)

1.   Put two or three saucers in the freezer.  (These will be used to test to see if the jam is cooked enough to set.)  Peel the marrow, remove the seeds and cut into small dice.  Place in a large saucepan.

2.  Remove the lemon zest using a zester, if available, or the large holes of a grater (being careful not to remove any white pith) and set aside.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze into a jug.  Place the empty lemon shells and pips into a small muslin bag (or foot section of a clean pair of tights).

3.  Add a small amount of the lemon juice to the pan, cover with a lid and gently cook the marrow until transparent.  If necessary add some more lemon juice to stop the marrow sticking.  Spoon the marrow and any collected liquids into a blender and liquidise until smooth.  Alternatively the mixture can be mashed for a slightly coarser texture or, providing the dice are very small, left as it is.

4.  Peel the ginger, grate using the large holes of the grater and add to the lemon zest.  Add the ginger peelings and any very fibrous pieces to the small bag with the leftover lemon pieces.

5.  Return the marrow mixture to the same pan, add the remaining lemon juice, the lemon and ginger.  Stir in and dissolve the sugar.  Knot the bag of bits and add it to the pan.

6.  Bring the mixture to the boil and then turn down to a rolling simmer.  Stir regularly, pressing down on the bag of bits occasionally and reduce until the mixture has reached setting point.  Test for a set by putting a half teaspoon of jam on a saucer from the freezer.  If, once it has cooled a little, it wrinkles when pushed with a finger, it should be ready to pot.  If not ready then leave for 5 minutes and try again.  (This took about 25 minutes for two-thirds of the full amount above.)

7.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

8.  Remove the small bag of bits, scraping the jam from the outside and squeezing it with tongs and place it on a saucer.  Any extra juices that collect on the saucer should be stirred back into the jam before you start potting.

9.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.

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