The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sugar and Spice...

A trip into Berwick yesterday to buy the basics for my new adventure into pickles and chutneys.

Brown and white pickling vinegar. Four bottles of balsamic vinegar. Light and dark brown sugar. Onions, ginger, chillies, coriander and mustard seeds.

On my way back to the car I spotted Youngman's had a display of Le Parfait preserving jars in their window display. Dumped the shopping and went back - two 1 litre and two half litre jars purchased along with a couple of jam cover sets.

A trip into Duns this morning to get some muslin from Penny. Then into the deli - what a cornucopia of spices. The last two on my list where mace (not ground) and allspice berries - no problem. It then occurred to me that Youngman's may also sell muslin (hadn't thought of it yesterday) so I went in and asked. Yep... So back to Penny's to return hers.

Right. I had everything I needed... Just needed to get the kitchen in order first...

Jars washed, rinsed and into the oven to sterilize.

Ingredients weighed. Onions chopped.

Spices selected and tied into a small muslin parcel.

Gently simmer the onions in half the vinegar for 10 minutes.

Then throw everything else in.

Stir continuously until the sugar has all dissolved.

Turn the heat up to a steady simmer, stirring occasionally.

Start worrying as it takes forever to thicken up...

Turn the oven off as I won't need the jars for a long time yet.

Hmm. What exactly does the consistency of a thick jam mean?

I think it's getting there - the gooseberries have broken down.

Turn the oven back on.

Is this the right consistency?

I have to decide at some point that it is ready and this is it.

Remove muslin parcel and bottle up...

The recipe said it should make nearly 4 lbs if using apples. I think I have got about 3. My other recipe book expects yields to be much lower than the weight of the ingredients so I am not worrying yet. Probably depends on the water content of the fruits used.

Am now supposed to leave it for at least a month to mature...

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