Money For Jam

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We have all heard of the phrase, ‘money for jam’, this post is about jam for very little money.  Making your own jam is probably one of the best ways to save money.  Commercially prepared jams often contain very little in the way of fruit and ‘premium’ brands are ridiculously expensive.

In the blog post from yesterday I shared how I had sliced and soaked the homegrown grapefruit.

After being soaked for about 15 hours I was ready to make the marmalade.

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Like most jam recipes this one is very simple.  The original from Annabel Langbein is here.  I chose not to use the whiskey.

You will need equal quantities of fruit and sugar and an equivalent volume of water.

For example, I used:

1.2kg of grapefruit Scrubbed, quartered and thinly sliced
1.2 litres water
1.2kg sugar

Cut the unpeeled grapefruit into quarters, then slice finely by hand or using the slicing attachment of a food processor. Place in a wide, non-corrosive preserving pan and cover with 2 litres of water. Cover and leave to soak overnight.

The next day, place the pot over a high heat, bring to the boil and boil for 40 minutes. Lower the heat and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then return to the boil and boil for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent the grapefruit from catching on the bottom – you want it to almost catch, but not burn. If you feel it starting to catch, remove it from the heat for a couple of minutes, giving it a gentle stir to stop it burning on the bottom, then continue boiling.

After 55 minutes do a ‘set test’ to check if your marmalade is ready. Chill a saucer in the fridge for a few minutes, then drop a teaspoonful of marmalade onto it. The marmalade is ready when it forms a skin that wrinkles when you hold the plate on an angle. At this point add the whiskey and boil for couple of minutes more to burn off the alcohol.

Pour straight into sterilised jars and seal with sterilised lids. If properly sealed Grapefruit Marmalade will last indefinitely.

To prepare your jars for preserving: For this recipe you will need a selection of jars that will hold just over 4 litres of marmalade. This is a great way of recycling, as the jars and their metal lids can be used over and over again. Wash the jars as usual, then remove the lids and place the lids and jars in the sink. Cover them well with boiling water then drain off the water. Pre-heat the oven to 100°C then pop the jars and lids in for 15 minutes to sterilise. Once removed from the oven, put the lids on the jars immediately so they remain sterile until you are ready to fill them.

The end result of 1.2kg of homegrown fruit, 1.2kg of sugar and about 1.5 hours of my time and we have about 2.5kg of jam added to our stock cupboard.

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Garden Edge and Grapefruit

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While there are plenty of photos of our vegetable garden there is much less evidence of the rest of the garden.  Some of it is quite naturalised and, in parts, overgrown.  We want to keep it as natural as possible but some areas require clearance of invasive weeds which are a real pest as they thrive in our high rainfall,  sub-tropical climate.  Little by little, we are planting native shrubs, in many cases, indigenous to the local area.

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This area alongside our western boundary fence had long been neglected.  As part of the preparation for the soon to be assembled garden shed we cleared the area and have planted 3 new shrubs.  In order to be able to maintain the area we have placed a rock edge about 1.5 metres from the fence.  The rocks were all sourced from our property.  Rocks are an abundant resource here and we use them for a multitude of purposes.

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As I mentioned in this post we have an orchard of about 10 citrus trees and were unfortunate enough to have an infestation of citrus fruit piercing moth a couple of months ago.  Whether it is their lifecycle, the cold weather or simply a natural progression, they appear to have moved on and I think the Valencia oranges may have been spared as well as some of the grapefruit and the netted mandarin.

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Today I picked several grapefruit – enough to make a batch of marmalade.  I sliced and soaked the fruit and will be making the marmalade tomorrow so will post all of the details then.

I started to cut them by hand.

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However, that proved too difficult so I heeded the advice of the recipe and used the thin slicing blade of my food processor which made short work of the job.  It was a simple matter of retrieving the ends of the quarters and slcing the last bits by hand.

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Soaking overnight.

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The Production Line

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Having a productive garden entails more work than just planting, watering and harvesting the crops.

The next step is to make sure that the produce is used wisely.  It is difficult not to have some wastage, especially when there is a glut.

At the moment we have an over-abundance of lemons and grapefruit and are doing the best we can to deal with them.

Lemons

On Saturday evening, The Duke and I juiced and froze about 3 litres of lemon juice and a litre of grapefruit juice.  Most of the lemon juice is in 1 litre quantities so that I can thaw it and make cordial when required.  However, I did put some into ice-cube trays for those moments when I just need a tablespoon or so of juice.  We have 2 lemon trees and it is only a rare time when there are no fresh lemons available but it is best to be safe and have some on hand.

Juice to freezeYou can also see more beans and carrots that we picked on Saturday.

What are you harvesting at the moment?

What We Have

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One of the principles of living simply is to make the most of whatever you happen to have.  Sometimes doing this is jolly hard work, especially when you are holding down a full-time paid job as well.

The harvest from our garden recently has been excellent but that has meant that I have a responsibility to use and store it safely and not let things go to waste.

I have made cauliflower and bacon soup.

Juiced and frozen many litres of grapefruit and lemon juice.

Prepared grapefuit for The Duke for breakfast.

Made more lemon cordial.

2011-10-01 04We have also been eating broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and snow peas as part of our dinner almost every night.

I was given about 30 apples at work the other day so those have now been stewed and frozen.  I will use them in apple pies and crumbles.  Here they are ready to go in the freezer.

2011-10-01 05I am struggling to find enough containers to freeze  everything.  I think I will need to get some more at some stage.

What do you do when you have a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable?