Monday, 29 June 2015

Strawberry - Haskap Jam

Oh dear, more jam. And the haskaps are pretty much over, at least around here. Still, I haven't seen any other recipe for haskap and strawberry jam so I'd like to get this out there for future reference.

Since strawberries and haskaps have an overlapping season, this seems a natural combination. I thought it worked very well. The strawberries make the haskaps sweeter and more mellow, although the haskap flavour was quite predominate. The strawberry flavour comes through in the finish though, and the two flavours certainly work well together. As ever, I suspect you could add a bit more sugar although I found this to be plenty.

4 to 5 250-ml jars
1 hour prep time

3 cups haskap berries
3 cups strawberries
3 cups sugar
the juice of 1/2 lemon

Put the necessary jars (and one or two extra; I like to have one 125-ml jar available in case of odd quantities) into a canning pot and cover them with water to come an inch over the tops. Bring them to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the haskaps and the strawberries, and discard any bad ones or bits of debris. Cut the strawberries in halves or quarters if they are large.

Put the berries, sugar, and lemon juice into a large, shallow but heavy-bottomed pot (jam kettle) and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for 20 to 30 minutes, until the jam is ready to set. The jam should run off a spoon slowly lifted and tilted in a wide sheet. It can also be tested on a glass or china plate kept chilled in the freezer.

If your lemon was seedy, the seeds can be tied in a little piece of muslin or cheesecloth, or put in a spice-ball and boiled with the jam. This will help the jam set. Of course, remove them, press out any jam around them, then discard them before you bottle the jam. 

When the jam is almost ready, put the lids and rings into another pot and bring them to a boil. Drain the prepared jars and place them on a heat-proof surface. Fill them with the jam to within half an inch of the top, wipe the rims with a bit of paper towel dipped in the boiling water, then seal them with prepared lids and rings. Return  the jars of jam to the canning pot and boil for 5 minutes. Remove them to the heat-proof surface and let cool. Check the seals, label, and keep in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate once opened.

Last year at this time I made Lamb with Peas & Garlic Scapes.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Haskap Jam

Wow, this was a surprise! We've been growing haskaps for three years now, and for the first time we had a sufficient quantity to make jam. If you read my description of haskap berries, you will know we were not wildly excited by them as a fruit, although they are easy to grow and produce at a convenient time. It's also pretty impressive that it has taken only 3 years to get to this point. Mind you, we do have 5 bushes producing fruit.

But the surprise is how much we really like this jam. It's delicious! Far more delicious than I would have supposed from eating the fruit raw, or having a few tossed in muffins. The flavour is hard to describe; most people describe haskaps as tasting like a cross between blueberries and raspberries, but I don't see it. They don't taste like blueberries at all to me, raspberries maybe a little, but mostly because they are both quite tart. A little plummy, maybe. But whatever it is they taste like, as jam they taste like mysterious essence of fruit.

I looked up haskap jam recipes before I made this, and most of the ones I saw were standard old-school combinations of one part berries to one part sugar, with a little lemon juice. The lemon juice seemed like a good idea but even with haskap berries being as tart as they are, equal amounts of sugar seemed like way too much for me. I cut it in half, and I'm happy with the results. It is still a quite tart jam, but I like it that way. In fact, this is still more sugar than I use in most of my jams. I would not use any less with haskaps though, and if you want your jam sweeter, you can obviously use more.

p.s. Am I back? Maybe. A little bit. The blog will continue to be on the back burner for a while, but I'm hoping to post occasionally. 

Makes 3 250 ml jars
2 hours - 1 1/4 hours prep time

4 cups haskap berries
2 cups sugar
the juice of 1/2 lemon

Put the empty jars in a canning kettle and cover with water. Turn on the burner and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, wash and de-stem the haskap, and pick out any bad ones or debris. Put them in a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Keep at a rolling boil, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture reaches the gell stage; about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and skim off any obdurate foam that may have formed. Ladle into the jars, which may be removed from their boiling water bath once they have been boiled for 10 minutes. Wipe the lips and seal with lids and rims which have been brought to a boil.

Return the sealed jars to the boiling water bath, and boil for 5 minutes. Once the jars have sealed, label them with the month and year of their production, batch number if you are making more than one batch, and name. Keep them in a cool, dark place, but once opened, keep in the fridge.

Last  year at this time I made Radish Gazpacho and Creamy Asparagus Quiche with Ham & Cheddar