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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Strawberry and Raspberry Jam

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2016 20:17:54 -0300

I just made some jam.  It seems to have worked out fine, although I
haven't tried any "cold", yet.

Before I started I looked around on the internet - there are LOADS of
jam recipes, and no two are alike.  So I thought I'd add my own recipe
and experience to those alrady out there...

Yesterday I bought 1kg of strawberries and 1kg of raspberries at the
market (good quality, fresh fruit), along with two lemons.

Today I bought a stainless pan, 24cm in diameter and fairly deep (this
turned out to be a perfect size).  It was the cheapest stainless pan I
could find - very thin walled and boasting a "1mm" thick base for heat
dissipation (turned out to be just fine).

Before making the jam I washed some old jars and lids I had saved, and
then placed them to dry in the oven at 150C.

I washed the fruit, tossed out a few ugly examples, and removed the
leafy bits from the strawberries, and put them in the pan.

Then I added 1.4kg of sugar - 600g white, 100g darkish brown (dorada)
and the rest, 700g, light brown (rubia).  The mix was just what
happened to be already open in the kitchen.  This is lower than many
recipes - I was hoping to get a less sweet result.

Finally, I squeezed both lemons and added the juice (this was partly
for taste, but also because I was not using additional pectin).

Stirring everything together, the raspberries broke down and I was
left with a red mush.

I place the pan on a pretty low heat because I was afraid that the
sugar would burn through the thin base.  Every 5m (using a clockwork
timer) I stirred things.  Slowly I raised the heat to a medium flame.

After about 30min the mix started to boil.  I let it boil with the lid
off, still stirring every 5m.

To test for when the jam is thick enough I used a teaspoon that was
kept in iced water.  Lifting a little of the mix out with the spooon
it was quickly cooled and the texture could be felt in the mouth.

For a long, long time the texture remained watery.  After about 1h30m
I switched to stirring every 10min.  At around 1:45 I noticed that the
cosnistency was slightly thicker.  At around 2h I suddenly found that
the jam had stuck to the bottom of the pan!  This must have happened
in the previous 10min (since last stir).  With a metal spoon I managed
to scrape this clean (it was sticky, but not burnt).  Bringing the jam
back to the boil, it now seemed fairly thick, and 20m later I decided
to stop cooking.

Getting the jam into the jars was trickier than expected.  I ended up
using a serving spoon (not a ladle).  It took some time, but was more
accurate - less was spilled / wasted.

In total, the recipe gave just slightly over 2kg of jam.  So the fruit
must have cooked down from 2kg to around 600g.

The consistency is thick, and there are very few lumps.  To get a
lumpier jam I think you would need to either use pectin (presumably it
would thicken earlier) or add some strawberries later in cooking.

I was worried that the jam wasn't going to set - particularly since I
hadn't used pectin (or "jam sugar").  But in the end, it worked out
fine.  Tomorrow, when I have some on toast for breakfast, I'll report
back on the flavour.

Exhausted and happy (although a little dissapointed at the low volume
produced - I eat that much in a month of breakfasts).

Andrew

Taste Test

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 10:20:35 -0300

Hmmm.  So it's NOT a summery jam!  It's more like a concentrated,
gooey bomb - very sweet, with loads of dark, complex flavours,
including caramel.

I guess if I want something lighter I need to use white sugar and cook
for less time.

I think I like it, although it's not really what I expected.  Given
how it's come out, I regret not also adding vanilla, which I
considered.

It's like an aged Cabernet Sauvignon rather than a young Tempranillo
(thinking of the flavours, not the "status" of a particular wine).

Andrew

PS Today I'm making a smaller batch of peach jam.  I think I am going
to stick with the brown sugar and add vanilla.  Then maybe next
weekend go with pure strawberry and aim for somehing lighter and
fresher.

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