Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 3 August 2004

Jam today ...





'Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today'
(Lewis Carroll - Though the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There)

... this is what I've been doing for the past few hours, proving that you can indeed have 'jam today', at least in this literal sense. Although I no longer eat jams and marmalade myself (courtesy of the Atkins diet I have been following for the past 14 or so months), I still make some of many kinds to give to friends and family, many of whom were upset when I suggested at the time I commenced the diet that I probably would make no more. Now that I've given away almost all that was in my store cupboard (although I discovered six jars of the 'special edition' of my Seville Orange Marmalade from earlier this year today, so that will be a treat for a few people), I thought I shouldn't let the summer soft fruit growing season pass without making at least some.

Today it was the turn of blackcurrant jam production; it is probably the most straighforward of all jams to make as it never fails to set properly - the fruit has so much pectin it is impossible to fail.

In a few days I'll probably turn my attention to raspberries; that is pretty easy, too, although it does require a pectin boost in the form of fresh lemon juice. As for strawberries, I'm going to give turning them into jam a miss in future - the fruit has very little pectin and whilst lemon juice helps it also needs a further boost in the form (usually) of apple pectin to get it to set properly, but as I am not going to consume jams any more, I'm afraid I'm not strongly enough motivated to persevere with it. Very good strawberry (and other) preserves are available from a local north of Scotland firm Baxters of Fochabers, so I'll give people gifts of that brand as required.

I get all my soft fruit from Wester Hardmuir Fruit Farm, just about three or so miles along the road from Nairn. They also produce all manner of vegetables and I am a regular visitor.

As well as enjoying making jams (and 'lemon cheese', mine probably being the best I have ever tasted - not modest, am I?), I do find it fun to put reasonably professional looking labels on preserves I make - the one above is this year's version. The photograph in the background is of the Nairn shore very close to where I live, taken on a brilliant mid-Autumn day last November - you can see the full photograph here.

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