Sunday, January 30, 2011

Raspberry Jam & Apple Butter

On Monday, I had my first class in Jams, Jellies, Chutneys and Tarts. I'm really excited about this class because I don't have any experience in making jam, jelly, marmalade, etc, and I think it's a pretty fascinating process. And I'll soon have a lot of use for the Ball jars my parents have had for years, when they used to jar tomatoes for sauces and stews.

During class, we made a few different types of raspberry jam, some with seeds and some without. For this we used individually quick frozen raspberries; IQF products are great because the fruit is frozen at a point of ripeness, so flavor is actually really really good. We first heated the raspberries to soften them, and next pushed the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds. We returned the raspberries to the pot and added in sugar, liquid pectin, and a small nip of butter. Pectin is the natural gelling agent found in fruits; some fruits have more pectin than others. Pectin is a vital component in this process. The small nib of butter was used in attempts to reduce the amount of foam that rises to the surface during the cooking process.

AS the jam had a chance to set up, we started to make apple butter. Luckily, we had leftover apples from a previous event so we didn't have to spend a lot of time peeling and dicing the apples. We combined the apples with liquid (usually cider but we substituted natural juices this time) in a pot and cooked them until a mushy consistency. We then ran the apples through a food mill to puree. We placed the puree in the pot with sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest and salt, and we stirred the mixture for almost 1.5 hrs until it reached the right consistency.

Both were extremely yummy. Unfortunately no pictures this week, but hopefully in the future.

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