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Winter jam

"More jam, less marmalade!" Dionne

I'm in the middle of marmalade making season as you know, and I still have at least two more batches to go. So I ran out of jars, and asked my daughter-in-law and also my book group friends if they had any jars. My daughter-in-law did indeed have some jars - well they've been eating my jam so David went to collect them and whilst there she spoke those words above, because she, like many, including myself is not keen on marmalade. Indeed none of the family is, but they love my jam and collect a jar every time they come around. The jam stocks are running out and it's a long time before Christmas when the jam-making season starts in this house, so I started casting around looking for ideas of what I could make in the way of jam in winter. Particularly this year when everything is so expensive.

But what can you make jam with in winter? A year or so ago I did experiment with lemon jam, which was quite nice but I can't say I was overwhelmed with its deliciousness. It was just a bit too - well lemony really. Maybe orange jam would be better? Well I've just had a look and whilst there are a few, very few recipes out there, I am taking the fact that there are so few as a sign that it's not really worth it.

No it seems the best thing to do with citrus - of which there is currently an abundance, other than marmalade - is to make curds - a different method altogether that involves butter and eggs, and which, alas, doesn't keep as long. However it is delicious, so unless you do like marmalade, a curd is the way to go and the recipe for Easy lemon curd in this month's Coles Magazine would seem to be the answer. It's a technique and you can apply it to any kind of citrus. Not quite as satisfying to use as a breakfast spread though somehow.

In my shopping expedition this morning I almost bought a big bag of pears because they were almost the only thing in the supermarket fresh fruit and vegetable section that could be said to be cheap, so my next search was for pear jam. Not jelly - I know you can make jelly but that's a pain as you have to strain it through muslin overnight. But I have to say that pears threw up a whole lot more recipes. And the first thing I saw, which I just have to mention because of yesterday's post on piccalilli was Pear piccalilli - you just add some pears to your piccalilli mix. Interesting but not what we are after.

Most of the recipes seemed to add some kind of spice to the mix, and one even added coffee! (Pear and coffee jam from Kylee Newton) I could not wrap my mind around that and have no idea whether it would be worth trying. It doesn't sound right does it? The most conventional was from The Spruce Eats - Countryside pear jam and Taste had a recipe for Blueberry, pear and star anise jam from Michelle Southan - which to my mind seemed to be more a blueberry jam with some pears for body. And blueberries are not very cheap at the moment, even if they are supposed to be in season - well I'm not sure they are although they cropped up quite often.

Several people did suggest making jam from frozen berries though, which seems a bit expensive, but I guess a few frozen blackberries added to an apple jam might be a way to go. Coles had a rather nice looking recipe for Apple jam which you could use as a base recipe. Apples fall into the reasonably priced category I think rather than cheap, but they are definitely in season.

On my shop this morning I also bought a small pineapple, because they were cheap too and yes, you can make Pineapple jam and The Australian Women's Weekly will show you how. I could give that a go - it would only be a small batch but I could make it in the microwave. But let's be honest I have so many more oranges to make into marmalade that I'm not going to be wanting to make pineapple jam any time soon. I think I'll just peel it and chop it and eat it.

I'm really not sure what else is in season and in glut kind of quantities - kiwi fruit? The Americans and the British seem to go for cranberries - but they have fresh ones over there. We only have dried ones. Mind you, perhaps the prettiest picture I found - the one on the left - is of Dried apricot jam from a website called Larder Love. Now I do love apricot jam - it's perhaps my favourite so I could have a go at this one some time. In the future. Not now. A small batch for starters just to see how it works out. Can you make jam with prunes?

Overall though I think winter is a bit of a bleak time for making jam. It's marmalade or nothing. And even if you don't like marmalade it has to be said that marmalade as a cooking ingredient can be wonderful. I made a marmalade bread and butter pudding last year and it was divine.

So alas Dionne, I think we'll all just have to hope that the jam (mostly wild plum) lasts until Christmas or that the price of strawberries comes crashing down.


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