Monday, September 19, 2011

~Don't ask for lemon butter~

Well since our new rental property has NO available growing space (ok so there might be a smidge but it's kid chaos in the garden), I've decided to take up preserving ("canning" in the US and "bottling" in the UK) to hopefully take some of that itch away.

So far it's not really working.. I'm enjoying bottling ALOT but there is no substitute for getting my hands dirty in cool loamy soil and planting out the first seedlings of Spring. Smelling the warm fragrant air, knowing that in a few months time I'll be overrun with zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, beans, shallots, herbs, lettuce, silverbeet, beetroot, potatoes etc etc etc!!! We never got overrun with starwberries but we'd at least get about 250g per day for a month. That was nice. Plus a few experimentals..

Here in the new nest.. it's... well... in the bush (trees/wilderness). So even if I did grow anything it would be quickly devoured by possums or bandicoots. They'd either eat them or sit on them. Grrrr!

Our garden is NOT a place of tranquility as there's a 10ft retaining wall of climbable boulders at the rear going up onto the private road. I have boys. Climbers. Clever climbers. Oh help me!

Anyway, so I'm getting stuck into the food production side for a year at least.

6 ft leeks that were at the market for $1.50 each! LOVE leek soup so I chopped and froze them. Too bad I sold that tucker box freezer..

Lately I've been Strawberry Jaming. Because I have small kiddies, I like to do the recipes that have stages so I can stagger out the work and not ruin anything because of kids underfoot.

Here we have batch 1 and 2. Aka Strawberry Jam with bits and .. er... Strawberry Jam.
Batch 1 was 1.5kilos of strawberries (sliced and sat over night with sugar in fridge). Cooked with a packet of vacola jamsetta, juice of one lemon (there for the taste not the pectin) plus a knob of butter at the end to disperse any scum. YUM! Thanks Delia.

Batch 2 was 1.5kilos (smooshed and sat over night in sugar in fridge) with juice of 1 lemon and no pectin. Without that Jamsetta it took longer to reach setting stage. In comparison I thought this was too cooked. It lost that lovely fresh zing and was darker in colour.
Knob of butter at the end.

My cupboard!
 From left to right we have: Hickson mandarin marmalade (didn't set but tastes sooo gooood!), Murcot mandarin marmalade (set. nice.), Piccalilli by the book, Piccalilli without electric scales (curried piccalilli actually tastes really yum too!), Batch 1 Strawberry Jam (the best one).

Below we have the bums so you can see the deliciousness. On the far right is a small sample jar from Batch 3 Strawberry Jelly Jam;
(ran out of time, sat in fridge for two nights so s.berries got almost dehydrated with the sugar sucking the juice out of them so they didn't cook down to mush. Then I had 2kilos of fruit and added 2 packets of Jamsetta so it's rather... jelly like. It's not conventional but oh my Gosh! the flavour is so there!)

So to tally up I have(Large jars are size 20 Vacola, approx 540g):

3 large jars Apple sauce (ok it was supposed to be apple pie filling but processed it wrong and had to re-cook it. YUM!)
5 med jars Piccalilli - by the book
6 large jars Curry Piccalilli
6 large jars Strawberry jam (1 each of Batch 1+2 and 4 of Batch 3 the Jelly Jam - yuuuuUUUm)
5 small Marmalade jars (1 Murcot, 4 Hickson)
2 large jars wild plum jam
3 large jars pickled onions

Not to forget the fridge:
3 large jars of Strawberry jam, one of each batch
1 large Murcot Mand. Marmalade
1 small Murcot Mand. Marmalade
1 Piccalilli by the book

So! My strawberry jam tips:
  • Use Jamsetta as you keep that lovely fresh flavour and appearance of the fruit as you're not having to boil it for very long (maybe 16mins or less).
  • Do batches of 1.5kg at a time
  • Add juice of one lemon for flavour, it really compliments the strawberry. Then a knob of butter at the end, also for flavour
  • If you do the slicing the fruit and leaving over night in sugar method then don't leave it any longer and smoosh that fruit once it's in the pan.
Happy Jamming!

P.s. We stripped the lemons off our tree before moving.. how silly of me to think I'd have time to make lemonade and lemon butter. We gave lots away and the rest spoilt because of my optimism in having time in a new home. So don't ask for lemon butter.. there is NONE!

1 comment:

MarzieCX said...

Hey thanks for the tips! The jars look lovely.