Monday 2 December 2013

Sweet Orange Jam

Sweet Orange Jam

I experimented with some Jam today. I was inspired by a recipe I found in an old 'QCWA, Japoonvale Branch - Cookery Book and Household Hints 1953' - I just liked the name of it 'Sweet Orange Jam', it made me want to taste it. The recipe was all 'lbs' and 'pints' and 'drams' and I had very little idea of what they were talking about, so I just had a crack at it using similar ingredients in my Thermomix with estimated quantities. I think the cook book once belonged to my dearest Nan, she was a great cook and used to be the person I rang asking 'Nan, quick! I'm making..... and I need to know how many mls in a pint?!' - she thought it was hilarious,you remember those days before everyone had a smartphone to just google it?! Nan was possibly one of the most amazing and special individuals I've ever met. She taught me all the good things in life - how to make jam, chocolate cake and a good cup of tea. How to sew a button, cross stitch, crochet and tend to a garden, how to pick the juiciest brazilian cherries and play a mean game of canasta.... She was just one of those special ones and we all miss her dearly. <3

So back to my jam - it turned out well and not a shameful sachet of jamsetta in sight! I think it will be delightful on some thick cut toast with home made butter and a nice hot cup of tea. I hope you enjoy it.

PS I'm told one day, when my children get older, I will once again experience the phenomenon that is hot tea... until then, one can dream...

Sweet Orange Jam

650-700gms whole oranges (I used organic valencia oranges)
750gms water
750gms sugar (I used raw sugar)

 1. cut ends off orange, cut in half and slice very thinly. You could use a mandolin if you wanted to, but I prefer to use a very sharp knife. 

2. soak oranges in water overnight 

3. drain oranges in TM basket but reserve liquid

4. weigh out oranges in TM bowl - you should have between 500-600gms (after removing ends) and place into TM bowl

 5. Weigh out 750gms of reserved orange liquid into the TM bowl and cook for: 10 minutes | 100 degrees | Reverse speed soft |

6. Add 750gms sugar, cook for: 5mins | 100 degrees | Reverse| Speed 2

7. Cook for 35-50 mins| Varoma | Reverse | speed 2 | with MC off and varoma on top to prevent spitting. The cooking time is varied, as it will depend on what type of orange and what pectin level it has, as to how quickly it's going to jell. I used valencia oranges and they took approx 40 mins. My advice would be to check every 5-10 mins after 30 mins. If you cook too long, the orange peel with candy and it will be too firm - undercook it and you'll have a sauce not a jam! The best way to test to see if jam is ready, is to put a small plate in the freezer, and once it is cold, drop some hot jam onto the plate with a metal spoon. If you jam 'jells' when put onto the plate, you're good to go. You can see in the picture below, that the jam is starting to set. Thats what you're after. (Thats another Nan trick). 

8. Bottle jam into washed and sterilised jars. I used ball mason jars which are fantastic for preserving, but any recycled jars will be fine. You will have approximately one litre of jam once it's ready. 

For a non Thermomix version, you can follow similar steps in a large pot with a wooden spoon, however you will need to keep a close eye on it with lots of stiring as you won't have a constant temperature. Test it in the same way on a cold plate and bottle as above. 

Decorated jars make lovely little Christmas gifts, I hung some homemade white clay decorations on ours and I think they look quite sweet. Enjoy!

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