I have got into the habit of buying oranges very cheaply at the very end of the season – or the very end of the Sunday morning market, and make jam (not marmalade, as this is a bit more tricky and I like the rustic texture of the jam)
Making jam is not difficult, providing you have a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, a wide jam funnel, ample jars, and some labels and a roll of cling film to seal jam jars before putting on the lids, if you are not using pressure sealed jars.
This most important thing is that the jars and clean and sterilized in hot water, and that they are hot when the jam goes into them and they are closed in order to trap the air inside and make a pressurized seal.
Lindy’s Orange, ginger and whiskey jam
(Makes around 6 standard jam jars)
1 kg of the cheapest oranges that you can find – thin skinned ones are the best as you get more fruit for you money
500g of jam sugar (you can use 1kg of regular sugar, but it is worth buying sugar specifically for jam making, as this contains more pectin to help the jam to set, therefore you only need to use half the amount, thus making the fruit to sugar ration much higher and a healthier option)
1 – 2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger (optional and to individual taste)
1 dessertspoon of whisky (optional, but does give the jam a little kick)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Finely slice slithers of peel from around 3 oranges, depending on how much you like.
ALL the peel from all oranges and chop as finely as you can using a knife and not a food processor. (I do this on a plastic chopping board with a lip (can find in IKEA) to conserve any juice)
Place the fruit and the sugar peel and ginger in the saucepan, mix well, cover and leave to steep for 30 minutes.
Sterilise the jars with boiling water – or in the dishwasher if you have one (keep the hot water inside the jars until ready to use them)
Bring the fruit and sugar mixture to the boil, stirring constantly to avoid burning, reduce heat, stir in the whiskey and lemon juice, cover and simmer for around 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To test if the jam will thicken, place a saucer in the freezer while it is cooking, then remove and take a teaspoon of the jam and place it onto the saucer, if it congeals within a minute, then the jam is ready.
Fill the jars, one at a time, leaving an inch air gap at the top, using a jam funnel (I bought mine very cheaply at Wilkinsons! – they have a much wider hole in the centre than a regular funnel to allow the thick, fruity mixture to pass through – before I had invested in one of these, I just used a large oval shaped table spoon, but this can be messy and you must take care not to burn yourself with the hot jam)
After each jar is filled, either close with a rubber sealing ring (you can buy specialpreserve jars in IKEA) or cover the top of a regular shop jam jar with cling film and close the lid immediately as tightly as you can (the button in the centre of the lid should retract after a minute or so, telling you that you have an airtight seal)
I label the jars with the type of jam and the date that it was made. There is no need to store in the fridge unless open, but do not keep in an obviously warm place or in direct sunlight. They will keep for up to a year, but mine are always eaten within a month!!!!
This is something that I never considered doing in the UK, but I make it all year round now – again following the season, so just as I am opening my last pot, another fruit appears at the market and I make another delicious batch.
Perfect on a nice crusty baguette…………..