Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apple, Red Currant & Vanilla - The Gourmet Jam experiment!



Jam has been on my to-do list for quite some time now…but never got around actually making it. I don’t know if the reason was my being lazy, fear of failure or simple plain boredom of the lack of fun/challenge in making a simple old ‘Jam’. But I guess there really is something like fate that conspires to makes you do things… And mine came in the form of my neighbour’s generous gift - a lot of lovely Golden Apples fresh from his cousin’s orchard in Himachal. Apparently these are the best apples produced in India but are mostly exported…people like us don’t even get to taste them L… Sad isn’t it.. But I don’t care as of now coz I have this precious lot..J I instantly thought of preserving them and the best way of doing that would be making a Jam!! And guess what a brilliant combination popped in my head. What if I combined these apples with my recently acquired red currants (they are very difficult to get here…I managed to get my hands on some frozen ones though!) and some Vanilla Bean to make my own ‘Bespoke Gourmet Jam’!!! Sounds delicious right? Trust me when I say this, the ‘Jam’ far exceeds your expectations when finished!!!! The lovely sweet flavour of apples is complemented by the tangy sweetness of the red currants and the red currants also lend this beautiful light ruby colour to the Jam with the rich flavour and beautiful black specks of Vanilla peeking through it. J

I pretty much didn’t follow any recipe or proportions as such for the Jam. I had about 8 Apples, added about a cup and a half of Red Currants and one Vanilla Bean for the basic ingredients. Btw apples as well as red currants both are abundant in terms of natural pectin so you will not need to use any artificial pectin which was an additional bonus coz I dislike using any such artificial enhancers.  

 I always prefer my jams chunky to get the feel of the fruit, but you can go ahead and pure it if you like your jam smooth in texture. I used chopped Apples & whole red currants which I later smashed with a wooden spoon once they were stewed.

Ingredients

10 Golden Apples core removed and chopped (Can be substituted with Granny Smith)
1 cup Red Currants (Fresh or frozen)
400gms Castor Sugar
Scraped black insides of a Vanilla Bean
Juice of one Lemon (this enhances the release of natural pectin in the fruit)

Method:


·         Put the chopped apples and the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add in the Red Currants  in about 5 mins
·         Bring the mixture to a simmering boil over low heat, stirring very often and you can also crush the fruits with a wooden spoon to get a chunky texture. Add the scrapped vanilla beans & the juice of lemon. Let the Jam continue to cook for about 20 more mins (you will see the texture becoming like that of a jam)
·         Make sure to skim and discard any foam that rises to the top.
·         Allow the mixture to cool and store it covered in sterilized Jars or can it.

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