There are always those days when you just get totally exasperated with the other half! Today was one of those days for me.
It all started when a couple days ago I noticed that Seville oranges had arrived in Safeway. Now, the season for these oranges is fairly short, and they are probably the best oranges to make marmalade with. My dear father-in-law, aka, the world's best marmalade maker, makes his delicious marmalade during this time, and puts it down for the winter. So I asked him his recipe, and made copious notes of his instructions, so I could give this recipe a try. Off I went, and bought the required oranges, plus a normal orange and a lemon that the recipe calls for.
While I was in Safeway, I saw a punnet of strawberries that caught my eye, simply because they looked delicious and ripe and not like the normal stuff we get there (Safeway usually has rubbish strawberries at this time of the year) And the strawberries were also on sale. So I picked up a punnet (in hindsight, I should have picked up two or three), and some BC apples. Back home, I separated the marmalade oranges from the rest of the fruit I had bought, and popped the rest of the fruit into the fruit bowl.
So Kay returns from work, and dinner is not yet done, so off he goes to the kitchen to find a snack. And guess what he finds there? My normal orange that I had saved for the marmalade!!! I notice his indiscretion halfway through the orange, and bawl him out. Upshot is that no marmalade will be made tonight, thanks to greedy husbands!
But you know those times when you've been completely psyched up to do something, and it doesn't happen? You still have all that adrenaline rushing through you, and you need an outlet for it? Well, mine was that I was all made up to make this marmalade, and now I had to find something else to do or I would go crazy and prowl around the house growling at everything in sight! So to save the family the mood, I cast an eye over the fruit bowl, and saw the strawberries and a dozen apples. Well, it was going to have to be strawberry and apple jam then, if I couldn't have the marmalade.
And it was! I did not use a proper recipe for this jam, as I was kind of aware how jam is normally made. And apples are full of pectin, so I didn't need liquid pectin this time. And you need lemon juice as well. Plus the setting point of jam was 105 C. So I kept that equation in mind while making this jam up, and adjusted quantities to taste rather than following a recipe as such. But then again, most recipes for jam are usually fruit, sugar and lemon juice anyway!
The jam worked pretty well, and was a lovely dark red colour, with lighter chunks of apples floating through it. And it did taste really lovely, not super sweet, but with a delicious apple-y tang. So, no thanks to husbands, it was a successful jam making evening after all!
450g ripe strawberries
2 eating apples (I used Gala)
1 1/2 cup sugar + a little more if you like
Juice of one lemon (roughly 1/2 cup)
1 tsp butter
Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries. Wash and peel the apples, and dice them into small pieces.
Roughly mash the strawberries, till quite pulpy. You can also puree them in a blender if you like a smooth jam.
Put the mashed strawberries and apples into a deep, heavy pan, along with the sugar, lemon juice and butter. Taste and add some more sugar if you like your jam quite sweet.
Simmer gently on low heat for 15 minutes. Then, using a masher or fork, mash the mixture so they the apples are all pulpy and soft. Turn up the heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, for another 15 minutes. Then allow the jam to come to a rolling boil for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and not letting the jam burn at the bottom (which is why you need a deep pan, or it will splatter absolutely everywhere!)
If there is foamy stuff on top, skim away using a spoon.
If you have a candy thermometer, the reading should be 105 C or 22o F. If you don't have one, no worries, just drop some jam on a cold plate and draw your finger through it. If it wrinkles, and doesn't get back together, its done.
Take the jam off the heat, and leave for around 5 minutes or so.
Then spoon into sterilised jars (boil the jars and lids for two minutes, take out and leave to dry, the jars should still be quite hot to touch). As this recipe only makes about two 500 ml jars, I didn't bother with the whole canning process. So this jam needs to be kept in the fridge and should keep well for up to three weeks (not in our house it won't, but one can only hope!!) If you want to make more and can the jam, then follow the canning instructions that I linked to in my cherry jam recipe.
The marmalade will come soon, once I have had a chance to pop back to the grocery store again tomorrow (bloody husbands!!) :-)