Ian's Strawberry jam -

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Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby MariaKK » June 8th, 2014, 6:32 pm

If you can get your paws on some reasonably priced red currants do try this recipe. Excellent.

http://souvigne.pagesperso-orange.fr/re ... isc170.htm


In Warsaw there’s a very brief period where one sometimes sees both red currants and strawberries on stalls all over the city. Last summer, seeing both on a stall near my mother’s flat I was reminded of the recipe and bought the currants, came home cooked and froze them. Alas two days later there was not a strawberry to be had – they had simply vanished.
Now the strawberry season is again full swing and they are down to 1 Euro a kilo and less I finally got round to making the recipe. As it was a trial run I made 2 separate batches. A couple of watch points for those tempted to try it:
I took the currant ice bloc out of the freezer and left it on the side. It defrosted still in its placcy bag as I suddenly had to attend to something else so I then had to scrape off the purée with a rubber licker. A messy mistake, should have removed the wrapping and popped it straight in the pan.
Setting point. Had small saucers ready in the freezer, poured in a bit and popped one in the fridge. First test wasn’t quite ready. Second test looked fine but wouldn’t wrinkle. So I bubbled it a bit longer – still no wrinkle on saucer but it was definitely set so I went ahead and put the jam into hot sterilised jars etc etc. Had a small half jar left so tried that in the morning and it was a bit over-set and the strawberries a bit of a mush.
Second batch: I in fact had 1.200 kilos ( cleaned weight after hulling etc) and decided to use the lot. Set perfectly and this time went on instinct as it still wouldn’t wrinkle.

Yesterday saw frozen red currants in a small shop in the main covered market so about to experiment with those. I’ll report. In fact, tempted to experiment with other low-pectin fruit.

Ian – I’ve given a few jars away. It’s been a huge success so your recipe has now been translated – copyright duly acknowledged – and your jam will be made along both banks of the Vistula. Thank you

ATB
Marja
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby ianinfrance » June 8th, 2014, 8:18 pm

Hi Marja,

Thanks very much for mentioning it. As it happened, we had our village fête today and as usual I had a stall to sell some of my jams and talked to several people about my way of using redcurrent purée to poach pectin poor fruit. Almost without exception they looked extremely dubious, until I simply said - "look I can talk till I'm blue in the face, just try it for yourself and you'll see what I mean when I talk about acid/fruit balance and about setting.". So they did, and were convinced!

I use redcurrants for strawberries and cherries, and whitecurrants for fruit like mirabelles and greengages, both of which also lack pectin and acidity when they are ripe. Currants are the most extraordinary chameleon-like fruits, really taking on the flavour of the fruit they are cooked with.
--
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby Seatallan » June 9th, 2014, 2:21 pm

I must try that Ian- what a clever idea!

I made a batch of strawberry & lavender jam a week or two back but did what I usually do with low pectin fruit and used jam sugar. I can imagine that the currants would add an additional depth to the flavour as well.

I really must plant some currant bushes actually. I have gooseberries but no currants. I have a forsythia that died back a few winters ago I could dig out and there would be plenty of room then for both a redcurrant and whitecurrant bush.
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby ianinfrance » June 9th, 2014, 3:33 pm

Seatallan wrote:did what I usually do with low pectin fruit and used jam sugar. I can imagine that the currants would add an additional depth to the flavour as well.
My problem with "jam sugar" is that I think it's a bit like using a varnish over a painting. I feel it sort of gives an overlay which disguises the true flavour of the fruits you want to highlight. Currants don't seem to do that.
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby Seatallan » June 9th, 2014, 5:51 pm

Yes, I agree with you Ian. I think the currants idea is a splendid one.

All I need to do now is look out for a cheap source of currants being as I don't have any in the garden...
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby ianinfrance » June 9th, 2014, 8:50 pm

Seatallan wrote:All I need to do now is look out for a cheap source of currants being as I don't have any in the garden...
I sympathise. We have friend/colleagues who grow them and I can get them at 4 € a kilo which isn't bad, if my own plants don't give enough. We planted a few several years ago.... only problem - they turned out to be white currants, which wasn't at all what I was expecting, nor was the person who provided me with them. Quite taken aback she was.
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby MariaKK » June 10th, 2014, 1:42 am

ianinfrance wrote:Currants are the most extraordinary chameleon-like fruits, really taking on the flavour of the fruit they are cooked with.


Having made your jam I totally agree, but did have a moment of doubt during the fast bubble stage. When it was almost done I gave it a stir to observe the drips and then drew a forefinger through the remnant on the wooden spoon and had a lick: the currants definitely had the upper hand. The following morning had a taste from the mini half-jar and wow! A real concentrated strawberry flavour. Just thought it might be worth mentioning in case you have to deal with any more doubting Thomases. (Grin)

ianinfrance wrote:I use redcurrants for strawberries and cherries, and whitecurrants for fruit like mirabelles and greengages, both of which also lack pectin and acidity when they are ripe.


Black cherries are definitely on my list. Are the proportions always the same (500 g currants to 1 kilo prepared fruit) or would one use less for fruit like cherries or peaches?

Sorry to pester you with questions and thank you for all your help.

Incidentally, once you’ve put the cooked red currants through a food mill / sieve the debris makes a wonderful kompot – a typical central European summer fruit drink. Scrape it all back into your saucepan, cover generously with water & bubble for a few minutes. Strain, add a little sugar to taste and chill.
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby ianinfrance » June 10th, 2014, 12:23 pm

MariaKK wrote:Black cherries are definitely on my list. Are the proportions always the same (500 g currants to 1 kilo prepared fruit) or would one use less for fruit like cherries or peaches?
I think that black cherries are a must. Glad you agree, The proportion of currants theoretically varies depending in the characteristics of the fruit. If you had a fruit that on a previous year had nearly set, or was only slightly out of balance, then you could use 1 : 3. That said, I would guess that I have done it 1:1 95% of the time without even thinking about it.
MariaKK wrote:Sorry to pester you with questions and thank you for all your help.

A pleasure to be able to help. I'm not someone who makes as much jam as Sloe-Gin or Clive (Karadekoolaid) but I do make a fair amount in a year and have done on and off for more than 50 years. Add that to my chemist's background, and you get a very observational and pragmatic approach to jam making, which I enjoy sharing.
MariaKK wrote:Incidentally, once you’ve put the cooked red currants through a food mill / sieve the debris makes a wonderful kompot – a typical central European summer fruit drink. Scrape it all back into your saucepan, cover generously with water & bubble for a few minutes. Strain, add a little sugar to taste and chill.
That's really interesting! I will try to remember to do that. As we're quieter now in the run down of our B&B business, I hope we'll be less tired and more able to remember to try. Can this kompot be stored in any way, do you know? Sterilising or freezing?
--
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Ian
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby MariaKK » June 11th, 2014, 9:27 pm

Ian,

ianinfrance wrote:Can this kompot be stored in any way, do you know? Sterilising or freezing?


Apologies for not getting back to you earlier but I had to do a bit of research.

Although traditionally every Polish household had rows and rows of various types of kompot stashed away in the cellar for the winter I confess I’ve only ever made the instant consumption kind.
Did a google and recipes vary enourmously in terms of fruit to liquid proportions and the sugar used as well as the “pasteurising” techniques and times.

Anyway a phone call to a usually very reliable source for all sorts of Polish preserves and apparently well known for her kompoty, though I haven’t tried them, has put an end to my ignorance!!

Quantities for a 1 liter jar
Cherries, currants, plums (mirabelles make a very good kompot, I’m told)… :
Fill about ¼ of the sterilised jar with washed & dried fruit
Make a light syrup: aprox ½ cup sugar to just under one liter of water. Pour the boiling syrup over the fruit. Screw on lids and pasteurise.
Put the jars into a suitable pan. Pour in hot water to come just below the lids and bring to the boil. Bubble for about 5 minutes. When cold store in a dark place, well away from light. Should last through the winter.

By the way, in Poland most people just use normal “jam jars” and lids as opposed to the special bottling jars.

Gooseberries may need a little more sugar

Pears and apples : add 2-3 cloves & a bit of cinnamon to the fruit and fill the jar to about the halfway mark to get a decent flavour. Pasteurise for about 15 to 20 minutes. Pears shouldn’t be stored for too long (about 3 months max) or they go mushy and the kompot becomes cloudy.
Forgot to ask if she stones cherries & plums. Some does, some doesn’t. Thought I’d wait in case you had any questions.Currants definitely need strigging. Apparently black currants make a particularly good kompot.

Freezing
Don’t see why you couldn’t freeze the currant debris and make a quick kompot when wanted.
Nowadays, as not everyone has a decent cellar and the requisite storage space quite a lot of people use a bag of frozen mixed red fruit (cherries, currants, plums, …) from the supermarket for a quick fix.

Back to jams
Making another batch of strawberry jam between today and tomorrow as most of the first lot’s gone to friends.

Will wait a bit for the black cherries as prices should go down and in any case I need to get a cherry stoner.
Feel tempted to try with about 330g currants to 1 kilo stoned cherries but have some extra currant mush at the ready in case of disaster. Have no previous experience to go on with Polish cherries so it’ll be trial and no doubt a good dose of error!!!

I realise the very short pasteurising times go against all your bottling experience, but might be worth doing a mini trial run and see what happens.

All the best

Marja
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby ianinfrance » June 11th, 2014, 11:06 pm

Sorry to bowl you a fast one, Marja! Thanks very much for the research. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the variations, that's typical of traditional folk cookery. I've copied all that and will see if I can give it a try with some of our fruit.

Re pasteurisation. I'm not at all surprised at the timings. When I'm bottling fruit, my timings are far shorter than for things like soup or mushrooms, and in fact temperatures are lower too. Typically something like 20 minutes at 90C So with a largish batch, in a big pan I can imagine that it could easily take 10 minutes to get from 90 to bubbling, and as pasteurisation times are in inverse relation to temperature, I'd say that 5 minutes at BP is the equivalent of 10 at 90C. The acidity of fruits makes all the difference.
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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby MariaKK » June 20th, 2014, 7:03 am

Ian,

Just a quick update on the jam - Black Cherries (Burlat). Tried 1 kilo whole stoned cherries to mush from 500g red currants , but it seemed too thick before adding sugar. So quickly stoned another lot of cherries and halved about 500 g (stoned weight). 250g red currants (before cooking) seems about right for one kilo stoned cherries. I used 750g sugar per liter of softened fruit - would be tempted to use a bit less next time.

More instant kompot with the debris. Though I think if one wanted to get maximum value out of the red currants one could reboil it (minimum) water and it would still provide a fair bit of pectin.

Off to France later today for a fortnight, then back here again and probably more jams - especially if I can get my paws on some white currants. Plenty of the red and black, but they don't seem to be very keen on the white; only ever seen them in mini punnets.

All the best and merci encore

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Re: Ian's Strawberry jam -

Postby MariaKK » July 31st, 2018, 1:22 pm

Ooops - Sorry I was supposed to be posting on Zosh's Compotes, Jam thread and not here. So have "erased" the text and put it where it ought to be
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