First off a quick update on the kickstarter progress - I am now 48% back and have 25 days to go! Thanks again for all the support and please continue to tell your friends who might be interested in my project about the campaign. The short URL to get to the kickstarter page is www.bit.ly/jammly.
With the Kickstarter in progress, I'm talking to lots of folks about jam ideas, as you can imagine. All of the conversations have given me some great ideas for jams and I wanted to do some mini experiments! I was so excited to get started, I couldn't even wait for Saturday and got started Friday night right after work.
Hatch Chile & Lime Marmalade
First up was a Hatch Chile & Lime Marmalade. This one came from Tony Morales - friend of mine and backer (Hi Tony!). He wanted to know if I had done any pepper jams and specifically called out hatches, as its that time of year. Hatches are a thick skinned southwestern chile. People tell me they range in heat, but anytime I have had them, they are fairly spicy. To play off the southwestern nature of them, i decided to basically make a sort of margarita jam - limes, peppers, and a bit of cilantro. I went with white sugar, but i was thinking if i do them again to try brown sugar for a exatra little bit of flavor.
Another challenge I was made this week was to come up with something very low sugar and not a traditional jam. My friend Julie Williams is not really a jam fan, but was interested in the idea of a low or no sugar spread. So I came up with a Banana Butter.
A fruit butter is a slow cooked fruit and sugar combo that comes out in a smooth and opaque consistency. To make this one, i rehydrated raisins with maple syrup and a little dark rum. As they were looking nice and plump again, I added chopped bananas, lime juice, and a small amount of brown sugar. I stirred it completely, coating all the bananas, then used my chefs wand to blend down to a smooth texture. I let this cook over low, stirring often until it stuck to the spoon. I'll admit, it looks like baby food, but it is glossier and thicker than that and spreads nicely. I havent dont it yet, but i'm having this with peanut butter soon! Given the tropical taste the lime provides, I also may stir in a little coconut cream today to see how this sits with it all. If I like it, I might remake a whole batch and include the coconut as well and drop the brown sugar altogether.
Saturday morning I decided to go back to my roots a bit and remake some jams I've made int he poast that were big hits. But I still had one final new idea to try out as well! I had small amounts of each fruit that needed using up, so it made sense to knock these out.
Raspberry & Prosseco Jam
The first one was a Raspeberry Prosseco jam. Our CSA (which I'll write more about soon) always has a ton of raspberries and I noticed while cleaning out the fridge that we somehow had a bottle of sparkling wine leftover from some party ages ago. I combined the berries, sugar, lemon and let sit for an hour while i was working on other stuff. Then I added it and the prosseco to the pot with pectin and brought it to a rolling boil. I let it cook for quite awhile. I'll be honest i lost track of time because our friends Liz and Carl (who own the CSA I mentioned) came over and we were chatting, but more important than time was the consistency. I kept stirring the jam until i felt the resistance againt the spopn as i stirred, then i began lift and pouring it off the sppon looking for it to be a thicker stream, teling me enough liquid had cooked off for the gelling to occur.
That jam came together so fast and with our frinds here, I didnt do as good a job of documenting the steps as I'd have liked - next time. I have made this jam several times and am always happy with it - It's especially good with golden raspberries.
Green Fig & Absinthe Jam
Liz and Carl brought me a big container of green figs, which they have a ton of from their orchard. The past two years I've made batches of green fig and absinthe jam with it. Fig and port (or even sherry) is pretty common, but I've not seen many people use absinthe, but I think the combo of figs with the sweet licorice flavor of the liquor is spot on. It's not for everyone, I admit, but those who love it, love it a lot.
Gin & Tonic Jelly
Ok, bear with me. I know I cook with a lot of booze, but this is a booze free jelly I have planned. Gin is ultimately just a neutral spirit (like vodka) that is flavored with botanicals like juniper berries, corriander, etc. To start, I cooked down green grapes with the same botanicals I would flavor gin. Then, I strained this mixture and add sugar, pectin, and make a jelly - being way more patient than I was with my Apple Jelly so that it came out clear. I could have stopped there, but I also have a syrup for making tonic water. I added this as well and let the entire mixture cook down. It was still quite loose as I jarred it, but happily about 6 hours later I had a very nice yellowish jelly that tastes just like a gin and tonic to me - without a drop of booze. I'm not going to lie - i was quite pleased with this one!
I love talking to peope about jam! Find me on social media or contact me here if you have an idea you want to talk about!