You know I love a challenge. A bunch of radical feminists I’m involved with are planning various bits of a fair at the boys school, prior to taking over the world. Baby steps. We’re going to do a cake stall, to which I plan to contribute at least a large amount of biscotti, but also Devonshire teas. “How much cream would you need for twenty dozen scones?” asked our fearless leader. “You know the IGA has cream in two litre jugs? That ought to do it” was the reply. “What about jam?”
What indeed. Once you’ve got a Thermomix it seems that anything is possible. I’ve made marmalade. Strawberry jam shouldn’t be too hard. Frank has strawberries for ten dollars a kilo at the moment, nice ones too, so the time is right to experiment.
Despite all my experience with the Thermomix everyday cookbook, I decide to start with their recipe. Not with a great deal of hope. I have 750 grams of strawberries because some kind of got eaten. I adjust the amounts in the recipe accordingly and put in the zest of one and half lemons, one and a half peeled and quartered lemons, 375 grams of jam setting sugar because I’m nervous and the strawberries. Cook for 35 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1. And if you do that, you’ll get strawberry sauce.
I cooked and cooked it, probably another thirty minutes at 100 degrees. Then I thought bugger it, and turned the heat up to Varoma temperature. Twenty minutes on that temperature finally gave me something that looked like it might set, given some encouragement in the fridge. But because of all the lemon it had a noticeable tart lemon flavour. And because it was Thermomixed for such a long time it was very smooth.
It is recognisably jam, though if I heat it up and sieve it it would be jelly. Not bad for a first attempt, but I wouldn’t be ladling it onto scones for the local plebeians. I think it will ultimately end up in jam slice, that needs a tart jam.
Today it’s round two. It did stop raining for about twenty minutes, which enabled me to duck out for some chicken to schnitzel for tonight’s complicated evening, some fresh pasta for tomorrow nights complicated evening and another kilo of strawberries. Also a much needed coffee from Rino, you should try it. My research of last night, done while the strawberry sauce was cooking, suggested the jam might be helped along by some green apple.
I put half a green apple, minus core, into the jug and zapped it. Then added half a peeled lemon, the zest of half a lemon, five hundred grams of strawberries (saving some for afternoon tea), one hundred and twenty grams of jam setter sugar because that’s all I had left, and a hundred and thirty grams of caster sugar.
Cooked it at one hundred degrees for thirty five minutes, this time on reverse speed one to see if I could salvage some bits of strawberry. Not with much hope, they’re too soft not to be utterly mangled even by the blades in reverse. Once again, strawberry sauce, but not as tart as yesterday’s. Breathing deeply, put it on for a further fifteen minutes. Lost patience and put it up to Varoma temperature for fifteen minutes. That did it.
You ladle a bit out onto a saucer and see if it’s starting to firm up. If it spreads out in all directions, you keep going. Not a lot of strawberry bits survived, but more than in part A. I do seem to have quite a few lemon pips in there too, I should fish them out before plating up. I bit into one during initial tasting and they’re quite unpleasant.
So I’ll stick with iteration the second, especially if I can figure out how to separate out the lemon pips. I think they need to be in the cooking bit for the setting to occur. Maybe a really large holed sieve. I’m going to fossick around for a bit for a tiny jar so I can send our fearless leader a sample. I can’t be part of an organisation that serves Aldi jam.