03 August 2010
I had the idea a few months ago of making huge quantities of jam and giving them away in little jars as Christmas presents. I thought I could 'craftersize' the lids (as Tom would put it) with little pieces of cross-stitched linen.
So, on the weekend I got started on my first batch of mandarin jam. I am so glad that Tom decided to join me in the kitchen because it was quite a job.
We used the recipe from the book 'Apples for Jam' (appropriately).
The ingredients are 1.2kg of mandarins and 600g of caster sugar.
First you peel all the mandarins. Then you break the mandarins into segments.. (pretty easy so far.) Then you peel the SKIN off each segment of mandarin.. that's right, the actual clear film of skin off each piece. It was a bit like peeling grapes (not that I have ever done that) and it took ages.
The cookbook actually says that this is a good recipe to make when you have a load of friends coming over and you can all stand around the kitchen peeling mandarins and drinking red wine (obviously her kitchen is quite a bit bigger than ours!)
So while you are all standing around drinking wine and peeling mandarins in your Tuscan villa, you boil half of the mandarin skin, the sugar and 500mls of water in a saucepan and then simmer for 20 minutes..
Then you pour the contents of the saucepan into the blender and puree until all smooth and there is no peel visible..
By this stage the mandarin peel looks good enough to eat on its own..
You then return all the puree to the saucepan and add all the mandarins that you have just spent hours peeling and de-skinning..
Plus any juice that may have accumulated..
Bring it back to the boil and then simmer for another 30 minutes or so (although ours took about 45 minutes). When it is ready it should "slowly glide down a plate when you tilt it but not run off". When the jam has cooled a little you can pour it into sterilised jars..
And then please try not to eat half a jar within 2 days..