Monday, 25 May 2009

I am not obsessed - oh no!

Here are some photos of the jam making. First, the recipe for quince jelly.
There is, of course, a lot of preparation to be done. First find your jars, and their lids. They then have to be sterilised and dried in a warm oven. The jars must be warm when the jam is ladled into them, as the very hot jam liquid will crack the glass otherwise.

This is the empty pan, with the ladle and the funnel, so that the hot jam does not spill everywhere. I stir the jam/jelly/marmalade with a spurtle, made of Huon pine. This is a Tasmanian timber, pale yellow, which turns over time into a deep gold. It is fabulously beautiful, with the most heavenly aroma, which it does not lose over time. I have a number of bowls made of Huon pine, and a blanket chest, and I sniff them regularly, just for sheer pleasure. The spurtle came from a craft show years ago, where there were lots of lovely wooden bowls and things made by  woodturners from our wonderful Australian timbers. 

The spurtle is a wonderful implement, and this Huon pine one can withstand heat and water. I am told it is of Scottish origin. I use the spurtle for stirring the jam, and also for mixing my Christmas cake batter and the fruit. Because it is impervious to water, the timber was extensively used in the past for boats and water things (don't ask for more specific information). The trees are very old. Many were logged when Lake Pedder was dammed years ago, despite heated protests from conservationists, and so it is still possible to get supplies. As far as I know Tasmania is the only place where the Huon pine trees grow.

Close up of the quince jelly. Look at that gorgeous colour. 
My mother did not teach me to make jam, but my maternal grandmother made jam all the time. We used to have loganberries growing along our side fence, and had a constant supply. It made a delicious jam. Loganberries seem to have vanished from the face of the earth now, and raspberries are now the choice of berries in Paradise, I would think. Everyone used to make blackberry jam, too, as they grew so rampantly and were free, although not easy to gather.

This is the cumquat marmalade. It is a bad idea to make two lots of jam in the one week, as the supply of jars and lids was insufficient. One jar there does not have a lid, although it is covered with paraffin wax, and this is the jar I will have to start using first.
It is quite difficult now to find paraffin wax. In the past, when making preserves was more commonly done, it was available at hardware stores. The wax can be re-used, of course, but I ran out some time ago, and had to hunt around to find the wax - at the local stationery and art supplies shop. It cost me about $25 - quite a lot, but it will keep me going for another few years.

This is the test sample to check whether setting point has been reached. These little dishes (which Stomper gave me) are put into the freezer, so that when the sample is put on them, it takes less time to cool and thus to ascertain whether it has set.
(Do other people fume when the words less and fewer are used wrongly? I do.  I seethe " 'Fewer' is not as many as, and 'less' is not as much as." Fewer people can afford housing loans. Less money is being spent because of the GEC.) Etcetera.

Enough. And so to bed.


Anonymous said...

I am sure I commented here yesterday, the pixies must have eaten my post.

Thanks for the inspiration, I have decided to make jam this weekend. A first for me!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing more about the process and your tools. This is fascinating! I would love to try making jam sometime. I've made lemon curd in the past but on a very small scale.

molly said...

Where's the spurtle?? Blackberry jam---yum! Just had lashings of it on my trip the Uk. The son of the lady who masde it had made computer labels for her with a picture, not of the berry but of the phone!
My hat's off to anyone who can make jam. I'm almost dreading the bounty of golden honey figs we will soon have around here. We can only eat and give away so much. The rest should be made into jam, but I have searched high and low for a fig preserves recipe......When I winged it a few years ago the results were less than inspiring!

meggie said...

Ah yes, the gentle art of Jam making. Can you still buy the cellophane tops for the jam, rather than having to resort to wax?
My mother made the most marvellous jams, & most were her own invention!