February 14, 2013

Strawberry Jam with Redcurrant


Everything seems to be going on a little slower pace. And yes, I’ve been infinitely slow with updates. Except here.

The exciting news is, I’ve finally—yes finally—upgraded from a point and shoot camera to a DSLR—oh joy! Yes, after twenty-five amazing months of indulging in food photography and styling with a P&S, I’m now the proud owner of a SLR. 

About time, huh?


 

And ever since, I’ve been hopelessly and happily spending a huge chunk of my spare time clicking an endless collection of photographs, and candidly, everything seems a bit more beautiful and romantic with my new pair of lens. Ah without doubt, I’m in love. Absolutely and completely in love. And why not?  It’s February, the most romantic of months—what better motivation to celebrate the feeling of love?


So, be forewarned. This post is wonderfully extravagant on images. Oh yeah, much more than my regular recipe posts. And with Valentine’s in the air, there’s been too much inspiration to add extra lashings of love with bouquets and quotes and hearts, and all things pale and pink and pretty. Well, a bit of everything that makes you fall in love. In love with love. Ha!.

Okay, you have every permission to leave. Close this window and leave. Leave before you scroll down and get pulled into sweet, simple, sexy.



Staying? Oh good!

I’m not sharing the ubiquitous chocolate recipe this Valentines. I did that last year.

This year it’s something simple and comforting. Think red and berries and breakfast and everyday.

Yes, yes, it’s homemade strawberry jam.

Even the word jam is comforting. For there are times when only a toast slathered with jam and butter would do for breakfast. You know what I mean?



So no more guilty jam jars from the supermarket shelf! 

Make your own jam and woo your beloved over at breakfast, with hmm, a cup of hot chocolate by the side. A fabulous everyday treat, I say.

With the lifting of cold, I’ve been making the most of the fruit gluts in the market. Egyptian strawberry priced at a real bargain rate of QR 4 per box, is the star of the show now, and I’ve been taking advantage and loading my shopping basket with boxes of strawberry, strawberry, and more strawberry.

Now, with the influx of berries in my kitchen, I’ve been indulging in everything from smoothies, frosties, salads, chocolate dipped berries, jams, and more. Thought I must admit, nothing compares to the joy of biting and enjoying fresh, raw berries. Such a tasty and healthy mouthful.

 
 
 

Homemade jam is so delicious and surprisingly simple. Simpler than you’d ever imagine! With just two ingredients, fruit and sugar—that too in equal parts—and a watchful eye, you have a wonderfully simple homemade fruity spread in less than an hour. What's more, the whole house smells with the tantalizing aroma of fruits while cooking.

From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, there are more than a few ways to enjoy jam. It is wonderful spread on toasted bread for breakfast on the go, slathered on to freshly baked croissants for a quick bite, melted and glazed onto cheesecake for an impressive finish, or simply enjoyed spooned into yoghurt for a quick dessert.

I made jam with beautiful red berry fruits. Strawberry and redcurrant.

Strawberry + redcurrant = lots of ruby red deliciousness.


I heart berries. The heart shaped strawberry with its sweet-tart taste, delicious aroma, and slight crunch, is an addiction. Strawberry is low in pectin, the complex carbohydrate that acts as the setting agent in jams and jellies. So I used a bit of red currants. Red currants are these pretty, bright red, sparkling berries, naturally high in pectin and acidity. What’s more—strawberries and redcurrants marry beautifully. Both in flavor and color as well.

While picking berries for jam, make sure to use only the good ones. Do not wash berries before storing, they will go soggy. Discard anything that has soft spots, is overripe, or appear moldy.

For ingredient measurement, the classic proportion is to use one part sugar to one part fruit. I’ve used a bit less sugar and added lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, to cut down the sweetness. Using even lesser sugar than listed here, is not recommended, as the jam may not jelly correctly. Sugar also acts as a preservative.

 
 

The steps are as easy as boiling the fruit with sugar until setting point. You can boil the mashed strawberries and whole redcurrants together if you don’t mind biting into small seeds in your jam. I made two batches of jam, one boiling the berries together, and another batch pureeing the redcurrants separately, and discarding the solids before adding to the boiling strawberry mixture. My personal preference is the soft, smooth jam without the seeds, and that’s how I’ve listed in the instructions here.

Boiling until setting point is the only step to keep an eye on in jam making. As the jam approaches setting point, it will thicken and start to boil more slowly, with thicker, heavier bubbles. Don’t overheat or it will clump together and lose its soft consistency. To test jell point, place a small saucer in the freezer at the beginning of cooking, and follow instructions to test jelling.

 

Remember, to prevent spoiling and increase the shelf life of homemade jams, it is very important to use sterilized jars or pots. To sertlize jars, wash in warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Leave the jars to dry upside down in a preheated oven, at 120o C, for about 15 minutes. Make sure not to touch the inside of the jars or lids.

Finally, to the recipe.



Strawberry Jam with Redcurrant

Ingredients
Makes about 2 small jars
Prep+cooking: 30 min

2 cups strawberry, rinsed, hulled and diced
¼  cup redcurrent, rinsed and little brown tips removed
1 ¾ cups caster sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)


 
  

Directions

Cook redcurrants in a small pot, stirring occasionally, until soft and wilted—about 3 minutes. Then pass through a fine mesh metal sieve, or food mill, pressing well to squeeze the juices. Discard solids. Set aside puree.

Meanwhile, mash the diced strawberries using a potato masher, leaving just a few chunks whole.

In a medium non-stick saucepan, mix the mashed strawberries, sugar, redcurrant puree, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, if using, and cook over low heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Then increase heat to high and allow to boil vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches setting point. This would take about 4 to 5 minutes.

To test jell point, put a teaspoon of jam in a chilled saucer (chill saucer in the freezer at the beginning of cooking) and leave cool and set for a few second in the freezer before pushing your finger through the jam—if it wrinkles, it is ready. If not, return to heat and cook a bit more.

Remove from heat and skim off scum, if any. Pour into sterilized jars, label and seal. Invert the jars for a minute, then turn upright, and set aside to cool. The jam will continue to thicken up as it cools.

Make sure to refrigerate open jars. Sealed jars can be kept for about 6 months, preferably in the refrigerator.


And now, time to sign off and leave you alone with your sweetheart. 

Hope you have a memorable Valentines filled with endless love and whispered sweet nothing. And don't forget the fragrant roses and candle light dinner.

Happy Valentine's!

Forever, with love, xx


38 comments:

  1. Looks colorful and perfect for vday

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  2. Oh wow!!! What beautiful jam!!I bet this jam will floor any man :)

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  3. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous Nash! I am so in love :) Happy V-day to you too and congrats on the new DSLR! cannot wait to see the extraordinary beauty you will no doubt create with it.

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  4. LOVELY and strawberry jam is one of my fav. I like to use little rosemary in it. Try it next time, you might like it too :) And CONGRATULATION Babe on the new DSLR !

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  5. Beautiful photos... You are going to be rocking the new camera :)

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  6. Hi Nashi, the jam looks simply delicious and mouthwatering. Excellent preparation.
    Deepa

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  7. i can't blv that your previous pics were not DSLR!!! i'm sure you can come up with even more magic with it... lovely snaps and lipsmacking jam...
    http://sweettoothraf.blogspot.com

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  8. Strawberry jam is one of my favorite. Stunning photos.

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  9. Even if you shoo me away from here..how can one leave midway? Did you know your photos tell stories to me? I am getting into this bad habit of sitting up in the middle of the night, scrolling through your photos on pinterest and getting terribly hungry....and instead of cooking, I gobble up all sorts of junk food...sigh!

    Congrats for the camera....but trust me, it's not the camera but your creativity and eye for everything beautiful that makes your photos out of this world :)

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  10. Lovely Pictures.. Looked more than 3 times at each of the picture.. Expecting more photos from your New DSLR...

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  11. Congrats on your new SLR.. I cant believe how you mnaged such amazing pictures with a point and shoot! Now I cant wait for more of your SLR shots.. and that jam looks perect!

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  12. Congrats o ur new dslr,beautiful clicks..Beautiful jam.

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  13. Congrats...OMG! what a stunning pic! Drooling here...

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  14. Beautiful blog on a beautiful Valentines Day. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. Homemade jam is so lovely and so easy!

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  16. Jam and pics look perfect as ever!!Congrats on the SLR!

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  17. Hi nash,

    Love your blog. Congrats on the SLR. Which one did you get? The pics look awesome

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    Replies
    1. Thanks much bhuji! I bought the canon 650D :)

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  18. Be grateful for superb recipes. I merely got and yes it tasted great: -)
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  19. Such a beautiful post and this jam looks amazing!

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  20. i had to go back and check all the other posts to figure out what you meant by not having a slr and frankly am astounded that those pictures are from a p&s. amazing amazing... i say this because when i first found your blog, i subscribed mainly because the pictures were so gorgeous!

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  21. Pretty photos!!! Makes me want to dive into the jar of deliciousness :D

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  22. Congrats Nash! You will do full justice to the new DSLR! Amazing clicks and I'm sure you'll have more amazing stuffs to come.

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  23. I love redcurrant, so pretty. Congrats on your new DSLR!!

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  24. Awesome clicks...Congrats on your new DSLR...Jam looks too pretty and sure yummy...

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  25. Nashira you were shooting with P&S all this while... WOW!... Your pics were always amazing!!!!
    A big congrats on your new DSLR... I am sure you will just love it!
    Beautiful jam.. I love strawberries and red currants.. so this recipe is definitely a keeper.

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  26. Hi, new to your site. loved your pics. following you now.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wowwwwwwww... your blog is pretty awesome.. First time here.. Happy to follow your space :)

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  33. My mom used to make this, the recipe looks the same too! I am printing it and will keep it for the strawberry season.

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi