Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 8:20 pm Post subject: Confitures/Jams
I really enjoyed a tomato jam last year, so I was delighted to see the recipe for the cheery tomato jam on C&Z. . . and purchased Ferber's Mes Confitures not long after.
I've tried making several of the recipes, but find them a bit sweet for my taste and have reduced the sugar. I'm curious whether--since sugar serves to preserve the fruit--there is a minimum fruit:sugar ratio that one should not go below to ensure food safety.
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 2498 Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:18 pm Post subject:
Here is a recipe that I really love because its quite unique and has a great depth of flavor. This recipe is pretty much as it appeared in the cookbook. Ive added a few of my own tips at the end.
4 pounds of Concord grapes
1/2 cup of water
1 lemon (juice & grated or julienned rind)
1 orange (juice & grated or julienned rind)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of golden raisins
4 cups of granulated sugar
1 cup of walnuts or pecans which have been broken into pieces
Prepare clean jars by placing them on a heavy cookie sheet in a 350? oven. Prepare lids and rubber seals by boiling and then simmering them in a saucepan of water. Keep hot and sterile during conserve preparation.
Make sure all the grapes are of the freshest quality. Wash, drain and remove stems. Slip skins from pulp and reserve. Heat pulp to boiling in large, tall pot. Rub through a course sieve to remove seeds. Return the pulp to cooking pot.
Remove rind from lemon and orange making sure not to include any of the white pith. Grate or julienne finely. Ream the juice from the orange and lemon. Remove any seeds. Set this aside in a separate bowl.
Add water, rinds, salt and raisins to the grape pulp. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the citrus juices and grape skins. Heat to boiling. Add the sugar and cook until conserve is thick. When the proper consistency is reached the conserve will still appear liquid but a thin layer on the back of a spoon will leave a "track" if you draw a line through it with a spatula.
Add the nuts during the final minute of cooking.
Pour finished conserve into hot jars to 1/4 inch from top. Run a knife around perimeter of jar to release any trapped air bubbles, wipe rim of jar, and put on a sterile seal and lid. Process jars in a hot water bath that is at least 1 inch over the jars for 10 minutes. Remove jars and set aside on a rack or several layers of kitchen towels to cool. Check jars for a vacuum seal when cool. Store sealed jars. Any that did not successfully seal can be placed in the fridge for immediate use.
I dont know how available Concord grapes are in different parts of the world. I also dont know what other varieties may be good substitutes. Concords are NOT table grapes. They are the flavor of American grape jelly, if anyone is familiar with that, but the flavor of this conserve is utterly different and more sophisticated.
Another simple way to sterilize jars is to run them through the dishwasher before you begin. While you work on the conserve, put the machine on a second dry cycle. The machine will thoroughly sterilize them and keep them hot. Rubber seals need to simmer in water.
Always be sure to put hot preserves in hot jars to prevent thermal shock that will break the glass and leave you with a hot, sticky mess!
One of lifes ironies is that fresh fruits and vegetables are available when you least want to heat your kitchen with boiling sugar syrups and water baths. I do mine outside on the burner thats attached to my gas BBQ grill. It works great!
The full flavor needs time to develop in the jar. Give the conserve 4-6 weeks before opening.
Joined: 02 Oct 2004 Posts: 233 Location: Canton, TX USA
Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:12 pm Post subject:
My Mom, who was an "old fashioned" jam/jelly maker always used equal weights of fruit and sugar. She sealed the jars well and never had problems with spoilage. She made huge batches of blackberry, pear, fig, and plum confitures every summer. For low-pectin fruits, she always added a few under-ripe plums, pear, or apple to help with firmness of the finished product.
Hers were too sweet for my taste so I've been successful reducing the sugar by about 1/3, making small batches & storing the sealed jars in the refrigerator. I enjoy blending flavors, adding nuts, herbs, and liqueurs too. This summer's favorite was blueberry-orange marmalde with cointreau.
Hope this helps! I'd like to see more discussion of this topic
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 2498 Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:41 pm Post subject:
Wow! I'm surprised to see that there are three of us who still can! That's just great!
brighidsdaughter, you are so fortunate to have learned from your mom who knew what she was doing. I just tried a recipe from a cookbook and kept going. It was much easier than I anticipated but, not really knowing what I was doing, I started out a little apprehensive and, like Ann, would be reluctant to change the amount of sugar and risk allowing bacterial growth.
Having done it for years now, I know I'm OK and have great results when I stick to an established recipe. This is a great starter one. It's super simple, tastes like pumpkin pie spread on a warm biscuit or scone and doesn't heat up the kitchen or require big pots.
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree -- do NOT use canned pie filling
3 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
In a 2 quart microwave bowl, combine pumpkin, pectin, cinnamon and allspice. Mix well. Microwave on High for 6 minutes or until very hot, mixing every 2 minutes. Add sugar, mix well. Microwave on High for 5 to 10 minutes or until full rolling boil, stirring once during cooking. Continue to boil for 1 minute.
Spoon into 3 hot 8-oz. or (or six 4-oz.) canning jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Wipe rims clean. Screw lids tight. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. OR process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath and store on a shelf for up to a year.
HINT: don't be tempted to use a smaller bowl. The pumpkin will boil up high.
I know it's an old topic,( yes David, another resurrection job..) but I promised Feste, in another forum (new member introducing herself), to give the recipe of my favourite confiture.
This is an old recipe given to me by a good friend of mine, a women 30 years older than me who let me live in her "chambre de bonne" for two years while a student in Paris. She got this receit from an even older friend of hers, a romanian , which closes the circle for me ( I'm romanian born too). So here it comes , the wonderful Constantinesco Citrus fruits marmelade:
1 big grapefruit ( or 1 1/5 if it's small)
2 big lemmons
3 liters of water
4 kg sugar ( yes, 4 kg, and the result is not, I repeat not, very sweet)
Cut the oranges in 2 lenghtwise, Slice not too thin ( 4-5 mm)
cut grapefruit in 4 - slice idem
cut lemons in 4 - slice idem
( don't peel, don't throw the pits, everything goes in)
Put sliced fruits in big pot, add 3 liters of water. Cover and let soak for 24 hours.
after 24 hours, bring to a boil the above.
Take off the stove and add 4 kg sugar. Stir the mixture.
let rest another 24 hours
Bring to boil . let the confiture cook .the color becomes deep amber and it should not become to thick. I takes about 2 hours on slow gas. Beware of caramelization. It should be stirred from time to time.
leave to cool uncovered,
Put in sterilized Jars ( I believe 1-2 minutes in the microwave is OK- but please read Rainey's advices on sterilization in this forum, I think they are great,)
Let the jars open for another 2-3 days.
Before closing the jars, I pour a spoon of coniac on the top , I believe it helps preserving.
I know it' seems complicated, but it isn't. And It does have a special taste.
BD - I find most of the jams too sweet. There is no doubt that more sugar preserves the jams better. But if we talk about home consumption, I just don't make big quantities, and I'm using the fruits in season as much as I can. So I use 1 kg of fruit with 500-600g of sugar, and even then, I add lemon juice, especialy to strawberry and apricot jams.
Joined: 03 Apr 2005 Posts: 32 Location: Berkeley, CA
Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:49 am Post subject:
Rainey, both of those sound delicious! I will make the grape one as soon as the grapes in my store stop coming from Chile. And Simona, thank you so much. My partner, who is Irish, loves marmalade, so we always have some around, although I have never been too fond of the stuff. The citrus combo sounds excellent and maybe can ease me into the whole rind thing.
So Simona, do you can the jams with the lower amounts of sugar? I have always wanted to reduce my sugar amounts as well, but worry about setting. And I wish I understood the chemistry behind the pectin thing; like, if I cut the sugar back by 2/3, can I compensate by adding some pectin? My partner's mom just grates a green apple into her jams, but then again, everything she touches in the kitchen turns to gold.
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 2498 Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:05 am Post subject:
Man! I wish I could help. But, since spoilage is an issue, and seriously toxic elements don't necessarily announce themselves with off smells & tastes, and since sugar is part of inhibiting the growth of bacteria I, personally, don't mess with a recipe that someone who knows what they're doing has balanced out. Adjusting the pectin might get you better setting but that doesn't guarantee an equally abacterial environment.
You can get good insurance on the setting potential, tho. Do you ever do the cold plate test? What that consists of is putting several small plates in the freezer before you start preparing your fruit. When the mixture is thick enough to sheet across the back of your stirring spoon and you can see the trail of your finger when you draw it through the syrup, you've probably got it. The way to check, tho, is to spoon a bit out onto one of those cold plates. If you can turn the plate on its rim and not have dripping, you've got a jam that will set in the jar.
If you still have some drip, continue cooking and try on another cold plate until you're satisfied.
I'm so glad that this thread was found and resurrected. I had no idea that a specific Jam thread existed.
A dear Internet friend of mine in California has a wee cottage-industry in Summer, of making very small, very fine batches of unusual jams and jellies. She does this more for fun than profit, just being a fellow Foodie and wanting to do something other than her office job.
She was looking for different recipes to make and asked for them at the website that I know her from; I finally got my arse in gear and dug out this recipe for her. You don't have to wait until summer to make this; I'm planning on making it this afternoon. The original recipe called for making tomato juice from scratch. I've since found out that that is completely unnecessary. Good quality tomato juice didn't exist in olden days; if you wanted it, you had to make it. However, times have changed and if you visit the juice aisle of any good grocery store, you can buy tomato juice already prepared. I use Campbell's brand, (in the glass bottle) because through trial and error, they seem to have the deepest tomato flavour of any other brand that I've tried. I also squeeze about 4 cherry tomatoes into the juice to be used, the night before, allowing whatever essence in the skins to permeate the juice. I then strain it out in the morning when I make this jelly.
The taste is both sweet and savory with a background taste of tomatoes. I continued to search both on-line and at gourmet shops for any pre-made jars of this jelly, and although I could find Key Lime, Jalapeno, Hot Pepper, Sweet Pepper and a plethora of other exotic jellies, there was never a jar of tomato jelly. I think that for most people, this is a lost recipe and taste that few people remember or have never tried.
Tomato jelly differs greatly from Tomato jam, of which there seems to be 100's of recipes. It is as light as a feather to the taste buds, and the essense of it's beauty only comes through repeated bites of it, on freshly baked bread, of course. Tomato jam is more robust and you can't miss the flavour; this jelly, however, is shy and makes you explore it's hidden treasure of taste.
The history of this recipe haunted me since my early adulthood. When I was living with my grandparents, every meal in the farming months was a real smorgasbord: there would be platters of at least two meats, vegetables from the garden galore, at least two loaves of fresh bread, right from the wood stove...and this tomato jelly. There was never a meal, from breakfast to supper that it was not on the table.
My earliest memories of this jelly are the colour: I would literally sit at the table as a child, staring at its hues, which are unlike anything I've ever seen. Light always seemed to illuminate it, casting the honeyed amber tones across the wooden table surface. And the taste...haunting, ambrosial, evocative of warm summer days and sunshine.
When I had become an adult and began to cook, I wanted to make this for myself. Unfortunately, my Grandma Lyna had long since passed, and even if she hadn't died, she left this Earth with Alzheimer's disease, so asking her for the recipe would have been useless. Furthermore, I know of NO recipe book that my grandma owned; I think that everything was kept in her internal 'recipe file'.
So, I began the search. I haunted book stores, old and new. I looked at literally 100's and 100's of Jam and Jelly books but found absolutely NOTHING that resembled what I had known and cherished as a child. In the late 80's, when salsa and Mexican cooking began to permeate American cuisine, tomato jelly recipes began to surface, but they had added jalapeno peppers and other heavy spices. Yes, I found recipes for tomato jam, conserves, preserves,spicey tomato jelly, and pickled tomatoes, but the search for this recipe was leading to dead ends.
Even when I got my first computer, back in December of 2002, I did on-line searches for this recipe and still ended up with nothing. I even went to message boards at recipe sites, asking posters if they had ever heard or made this jelly, with no results.
Sadly, I thought that this was a recipe lost to time and I mourned it's loss and mine. Then, one year ago, I was in a wonderful Chicago bookstore that sells used books, and I chanced upon a 1917 canning and preserving book from...ENGLAND, and tucked into the pages, was a recipe for.....TOMATO JELLY!!!
I read through the ingredients, they seemed to be exactly what the jelly would 'taste' like, and I bought the book, scampering home to make this.
I bought the tomatoes, I bought the pectin, washed out my canning supplies and settled down to try to recreate a part of my past. Of course, when the jelly is cooking, it's at molten lead temperature levels, so there was no tasting to be had. While the jelly was cooling, I baked some fresh bread, because there is no better accompaniment to this jelly than 'fresh from the oven' bread or biscuits, slathered in butter.
It was now time. The jelly had set and the bread had cooled sufficiently to be cut. With more trepidation than hope, I opened up one of the jars of jelly; the color was identical to that mystical confection that I had memorized as a child; the scent was identical. But, would it taste the same? I slowly took a tablespoon of the jelly from the jar, spread it carefully over some buttered bread, closed my eyes, and bit into it.
And I began to cry.
Here was my grandmother's recipe! All the memories of time spent with her and my grandfather on their farm came flooding back to me: Four o'clock risings to milk the cows; steam rising and curling from the fresh milk in the pails; the wind mill churning out water; and the sounds and smells of a farm table, laden with the bounties before us.
I think that was one of the happiest days of my life.
So, when I share this with you and others, I'm sharing my past and my present in bringing it out of long forgotten times and to the tables of tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do now.
1 3/4 Cups of Campbell's Tomato Juice (or fresh tomato juice)
1/2 Cup of Strained Lemon Juice
1 Cinnamon stick (may be saved to be reused over and over again.)
4 Cups of Sugar
1 Package of Liquid Pectin, 3 ounces. (I use Certo (TM) brand)
Wash and sterilize 4 pint jars. If you plan on not going through 4 jars in a months time, than plan on processing the filled jars through the "Water Bath" treatment. I personally go through a jar a week, so I never bother to do this step, but you may chose to do this, if you are keeping them or giving them away.
Combine all ingredients EXCEPT pectin in a large, non-reactive kettle. Stir over high heat until mixture reaches a full, rolling boil.
Stir in pectin and bring again to a full, rolling boil.
Boil ONE MINUTE EXACTLY, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Stir and skim foam from the top for 3 minutes, EXACTLY.
Pour through a wire strainer into a heat resistant measuring pitcher, like PYREX. MAKE SURE THAT THE PITCHER HAS BEEN FILLED WITH BOILING WATER, IN ADVANCE, SO THE TEMPERATURE OF THE JELLY DOES NOT DROP. Having it in a container with a pour spout really aids in being able to fill the jars without splashing and dripping all the jelly.
Pour into hot jelly jars that have been kept in a pan filled with boiling water, leaving 1/4 inch head room.
If used within a month, you can just seal the lids, place on a wire rack, out of ALL breezes that may cool it too quickly, and you're set. However, if you don't go through this as fast as I do, than you need to preserve them.
Process 5 minutes in boiling water that covers the tops of the jars.
Yields: 4 pints of jelly
In between our posts at the other website, I got a very loving PM from a new member. She took the time to do a search on Yahoo!, which I never use and certainly was NOT familiar with when I got my first computer back in December 2002.
She came up with 648 hits for "tomato jelly"; many of them were NOT my recipe, calling for "basil, hot peppers, lemon zest...yada, yada, yada...". Also, the word "jelly" is synonomous with "jello" and there were a plethora of tomato aspic recipes. But, what was very, very interesting is TWO of the recipes.
The first one, was posted in 2002, from one member of a recipe board to another, where they were also "looking for their Grandmother's Tomato Jelly Recipe." It called for making the tomato juice first, unlike mine, but essentially it was just the same. The person looking for the recipe was Over-the-Moon over having this found for her and claimed that it tasted "just like Grandma used to make."
But what's even MORE interesting, is a recipe....from Portugal , of all places! That recipe says that it's a "treasured family recipe" that the cookbook author receives "countless requests" for. Who knew?! I certainly don't think that my Grandmother, who was Finnish and Chippewa, had one single thing to do with Portugal, but I find it interesting that two different cultures, Scandinavian and Spanish, would share the same tastes.
Note: I had been asked just "what" you should try serving the jelly with. According to that link, they either served it on toasted bagels with plain cream cheese (which they said it "was to die for") or...and THIS is cool...tomato jelly spread on peppered flatbread with a baked goat-cheese crottini. It was a "surprisingly good combination-sweet, tart, peppery, and yeasty".
So I guess Tomato Jelly meets 2005 tastes, which as Martha would say, "Is a Good Thing!"
Lastly, I have made this with 'from scratch' tomato juice and the only difference is the colour of the jelly. The scratch recipe made a paler, very clear jelly, the colour of garnet-infused amber, and the Campbell's juice made a darker, slightly less clear jelly. What I really like about having found out that the Campbell's works out so well, is the vast amount of time required to make homemade tomato juice. If the original recipe is 100% and the bottled juice is 99.98%, that's a close enough comparison, even for a raging perfectionist like myself! The original 1917 recipe only called for the "1 3/4 cup of tomato juice" and I'm sure that back then, it meant from scratch. I found the cookbook in Winter, and being horribly impatient, there was just NO way was I waiting for Summer to make this! That's how I discovered the Campbell's juice.
Have fun with this recipe, C & Z'ers! My Grandma would approve of YOU!
Joined: 03 Apr 2005 Posts: 32 Location: Berkeley, CA
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:38 pm Post subject:
DQ, that tomato jelly sounds really excellent. And although you said Campbell's works very well, we get such great tomatoes here in the summer that I think I will wait for them. Maybe a brandywine variety, mmm...
I am planning on reviving my sourdough starter when I finish school (in 2 weeks!) and I like making vegetable variations, like farro and porcini fougasse, or potato-rosemary boule (I use "Breads from the LaBrea Bakery" by Nancy Silverton), and I bet tomato jelly would be so good on them! Man, I can't wait to finish school. It really takes time away from me being able to cook.
I love these family recipes that have so much emotion wrapped up in them, and it's even better when the food itself is good (not just nostalgic). I mean, I love my mom's pineapple-cottage cheese-lime jello-with-walnuts, but I wouldn't serve it to anyone, you know what I mean?
Joined: 29 Jan 2005 Posts: 342 Location: Chicago and other places
Posted: Sun May 01, 2005 1:48 am Post subject:
You're so welcome for the recipe and the nostalgia, Feste. And yes, I do know what you mean about those family recipes that are nice when you have them but you'd NEVER make them yourself or serve them to friends.
Rainey: I don't know....do you suffer from diabetes, hence the sugar concern? Just wondering.
Feste: If you have honest to goodness tomatoes, by all means, make it with the real deal. But, in the Upper Midwest, we have such a short growing season that if we have a hankerin' for Farm Fresh, sometimes we have to just make do with juice.
Of course, there's no telling if anyone will really like this recipe. I'm planning on trying to make Clotilde's Raspberry and Violet jam when the violets come into bloom in another couple of weeks, and I may hate it, but...I LOVE trying unusual foods and I think it will be a winner.
The jelly is sweet, as ALL jellies are; but the soft after-taste of tomatoes takes away some of the sweetness. But, to me, it's just such a wonderful, uncomparable taste that just doesn't exist in any other form, that I ache for it, at times.
Let me know what you think; I can't be insulted if it's not a taste you enjoy. Like anything: the World's Best Liverwurst, Fig jam, or Specialty Olives....if you DON'T like the taste, it won't matter HOW fantastic a recipe it is. But I'd love to know if you enjoy it on that amazing sourdough that is just weeks away from coming out of your oven!
Joined: 03 Apr 2005 Posts: 32 Location: Berkeley, CA
Posted: Sun May 01, 2005 6:49 am Post subject:
That makes me think I might have to start a new thread on those weird nostalgic dishes that people obviously love... hmm...
And please, DQ, let us know how that Raspberry and Violet jam turns out! I love unusual combinations as well, although I have had some flowers in something (lavender I think) that made me feel like I was eating soap. My local Indian chaat place has some sweets flavored with rose water that taste, well, unusual. I suspect the flower component in these dishes simply was not balanced properly with the other ingredients. Raspberries are quie tart and assertive, so I would think that the violets could add depth without committing floral overkill.
feste: i agree about the lavender in the jam; i stay away from flowery foods because i once had chrysanthemum tea at a restaurant and also felt like i was drinking some sort of shampoo!
i absolutely LOVE jam, and having some with French "biscottes" is one of my favorite snacks. there's nothing better than a piece of French baguette with "beurre et confiture" (butter and jam)!
my most recent favorite flavor is fig, and i'm wondering if anyone has a recipe for fig jam? i'm concerned that it is a difficult fruit to work with, but it's coming into season now and i would love to make some jam so i can keep it for the winter (and my hibernation!)
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