Posts tagged ‘Agave syrup’
I made this jam the other night along with a Peach and Grand Marnier Jam. I bought a big canning pot so I decided that I would make two batches at once since they would all fit in the pot for processing. I started out intending to make two batches of the peach jam but I didn’t peel enough peaches and I didn’t have it in me by the time I realized this since I started this little project at 10:30 at night. I had taken my son blueberry picking that morning at Walker’s Organic Blueberries out in New Hamburg and since necessity is the mother of invention, into the pot went the blueberries.
Another issue I ran into as the result of my poor planning, was that I only had one box of pectin. My husband ran out to try and get to the grocery store before it closed at 11 pm, but the rotters closed three minutes early. I did still have calcium water and Pomona’s Pectin in my fridge and cupboard respectively, so I decided to give it another try. I looked at the instructions and decided to not follow them again. It was too late at night to truly care if it worked or not but by some miracle it worked perfectly.
If you are a seasoned veteran with Pomona’s Pectin then you will probably cringe at my cavalier attitude to their instructions. I was very intimidated by the instructions that came with the box and I was tempted to give up on it entirely. All I know is this method worked for me. I even tried it with another recipe with peaches and it worked again. That is the beauty of making your own jam – do whatever the hell you want; just use clean equipment, sterilize your jars and lids and process your jam so you don’t poison anyone.
I chopped up the peeled peaches and added the blueberries to the pot with the sugars, lemon juice and Grand Marnier. I added the calcium water, stirred it all together and started to heat the pot on the stove. I think I was supposed to mix the sugar with the pectin but I was too tired to go upstairs to the computer to look it up (I had thrown out the instruction sheet). I scooped out about a half cup of the juice that was coming out of the fruit and mixed that with the pectin in a small bowl. I stirred it until it was mixed in with the juice and not too lumpy. Again, it was too late to care, so I put the moderately lump mixture into the pot, stirred, and hoped for the best. What I got was a lot of beautifully set jam. I was a happy and tired little jam maker.
I miscalculated how much jam I would get and ended up with 6 cups of jam and I only sterilized five 250 ml (1/2 pint jars). I just used a regular container and put the excess in the fridge. I think because the Pomona’s worked so well thickening the jam I didn’t need to boil it for so long like I have with my other jams so the liquid didn’t boil off as much with this one.
All in all, it was a successful night. The other recipe I made that night was with all peaches and regular pectin. The rest of the ingredients are the same as listed below except for the pectin and 1 tbsp less lemon juice. My husband has been eating this jam with a spoon right out of the container. His excuse is that he can’t eat bread anymore (gluten-sensitive), so he just cuts out the middle-man.
- 4 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches
- 2 cups blueberries, washed
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup agave syrup
- ½ cup Grand Marnier
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 5 tsp Pomona’s calcium water
- 4 tsp Pomona’s Pectin
- Wash and sterilize jars, lids, and tools. Keep the jars warm so they are ready for the hot jam. Boil the lids only 5-10 minutes just before you are ready to use them so that the seal part is soft.
- Peel and chop the peaches.
- Add the peaches and washed blueberries into a large, heavy bottomed pot. I use a stainless steel pot.
- Add the sugar, agave, lemon juice, Grand Marnier and calcium water.
- Heat and stir for a couple of minutes. Take some of the sugary juice out of the pot and mix it with the pectin. Stir until it is combined and then add it to the pot with the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil for 15-20 minutes. It should be thick and glossy. You can also take a spoonful out and test to see if it is set.
- If the jam is set then ladle the jam into the hot, sterilized jars.
- Wipe the rims of the jars if you splattered a bit and place the heated lids on the jars. Put the rings on the jars and tighten – but do not too tight.
- Process in a canning pot with a rack in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Remove from boiling water after 10 minutes and place them on a cooling rack. Leave them alone for 24 hours. After that, press the centre of the lids to check to make sure it sealed. If the jars are sealed, store them in a cool, dry place. If they did not seal then pop them in the fridge and enjoy them sooner rather than later.
- This makes approximately six 250 ml (half pint) jars of jam.
9 comments August 31, 2011
I am continuing my experimenting with ice cream and before I tried any more creative recipes I wanted to try a basic chocolate ice cream. Of course I needed a to give it a little twist by using agave syrup. This recipe is quite simple in concept but it does take a bit of time, including the chilling time.
I made the thin custard base of the ice cream one evening and put it in the ice cream maker in the morning. I couldn’t wait any longer to try the ice cream, and who doesn’t want chocolate ice cream on a Sunday morning? I was quite surprised at how much the custard thickened up in the fridge overnight, it was almost the consistency of pudding. There was an awful lot of spoon licking going on in our house that morning.
There is a down side to homemade ice cream. It freezes up into a solid block, which means you have to let it sit out for about 10 minutes before you can scoop it. Next time I may throw some liquor in and that will help keep it from freezing rock-solid.
I looked up some tips for keeping homemade ice cream from freezing rock solid and found David Lebovitz’s post about this subject concise and immensely helpful. One of his tips says that using a lot of sugar will help keep the ice cream softer but to me that is not a compelling enough reason to use lots of sugar. I feel that many desserts have too much sugar in them which diminishes the flavour of the dessert because all you taste is white sugar. I wanted the chocolate to dominate this ice cream, not the sweetness.
That being said, it is necessary to put sufficient sugar in because freezing dulls flavours in ice cream. I made a peach and blueberry ice cream a few weeks ago and did not put nearly enough sugar in so it tasted bland to me. On the opposite side, I made a white chocolate raspberry ice cream and put too much in because I didn’t take into account how tooth-achingly sweet white chocolate can be.
If you are interested in reducing the amount of sugar you eat, I strongly suggest that you cut out all artificial sweeteners. Don’t drink diet pop (soda for any American readers)! If you want a soda, have the full sweet version, you will be doing yourself a favour (disclaimer: if you are a diabetic don’t even consider listening to me – always follow your doctor’s advice. This rant is not for you). All artificial sweeteners do is increase your cravings for carbohydrates and sugar while not ever satisfying that craving. If you are a diet pop (soda) drinker, do you also eat a lot of bread, pasta, candy or chocolate and maybe consider yourself a ‘carb addict’? The diet drinks and low sugar food you eat are likely a big reason for that. I know several people who drink 3 or more cans of diet pop a day and think that is fine because it is diet. It makes me want to scream. If you start to reduce the amount of sugar that you eat, you will find that sweet desserts that you used to eat will be sickeningly sweet and if you do crack open a can of Coke after not drinking a Diet Coke or regular one for a month, you may not be able to finish it because it will be too sweet. Remember, when the manufacturers of processed foods remove fat they just fill that void with sugar and salt which doesn’t actually make it healthier. I actually believe that fat-free food and artificial sweeteners will make you fat. So endeth the sugar rant.
Make this ice cream with all the glorious fat, a real sweetener and anti-oxidant containing dark chocolate once in a while and you will be much healthier than if you ate reduced fat, aspartame or sucralose containing iced dessert-type product twice a week.
- David Lebovitz’s Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer
- Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Bad For You
- 3 cups whipping cream (35% cream)
- 1 cup milk
- 4 egg yolks
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup light agave syrup
- 8 oz 85% dark chocolate (such as Lindt) – I used two 100 gram (4 oz) bars
- Heat the cream and milk gently in a pot on the stove. Stir often so that the bottom doesn’t scorch.
- Add the egg yolks to a large glass measuring cup for easy pouring, or use a bowl. Add the agave, salt and vanilla to the yolks and mix together.
- When the cream is hot (don’t let it boil or even simmer), very slowing pour the hot cream into the yolks, whisking the yolks the whole time. Just dribble the cream in a first to warm up the yolks and then very slowing pour the cream.
- Once it is all mixed together, pour the whole mixture into the pot and heat gently, stirring with wooden spoon until the thin custard coats the back of the spoon.
- To test whether it is done, stir the custard with the spoon and then run your finger through the custard left on the back of the spoon. If it stays separate, it is done. If it runs quickly back together, then heat it a bit longer.
- Meanwhile, chop up the chocolate bars and put them in the bowl or measuring cup you had the cream and egg yolks in.
- When the custard has thickened, remove it from the heat and pour half of it through a fine mesh sieve over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the custard. Now pour the rest of the custard through the sieve over the chocolately custard and stir to combine.
- You can use the same bowl to chill it or strain it once more through the sieve into another bowl. Either way, place a piece of plastic wrap right onto the custard and put it in the fridge over night to chill.
- When chilled completely, pour custard into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer instructions. Mine took about a half hour.
- When it is done, spoon the ice cream into an air tight container and keep in your freezer. Enjoy!
1 comment August 24, 2011
I’ve been making jam for a month or so now and I realized I haven’t included one of my favourite ingredients in my previous jam recipes- wine! I thought about putting red wine in a strawberry jam but decided to ramp up the flavour by going with Port. I also can’t seem to stop myself from putting in vanilla bean in jam so far, so a quarter of a vanilla bean was thrown in as well.
I was adventurous again with the amount of sugar and berries. The first batch didn’t really set so I reduced the amount of crushed berries and increased the amount of sugar slightly for the next batch. I wasn’t disappointed with the first batch though; I just labeled it Strawberry Port Dessert Sauce & Jam.
I considered using honey again in this jam but I abandoned that thought rather quickly when I thought about how the flavour of the honey would be fighting the Port and strawberries. The mild caramel flavour of agave and small amount of vanilla compliments the jam by giving support to the stars of the show – strawberries and Port.
Strawberry jam seems to foam quite a bit. I don’t see this a problem though since the foam is delicious since most of the bubbles subside and you are left with the best strawberry syrup. I beg of you, don’t put butter in the jam like I have seen suggested to help stop the foam. People don’t expect there to be dairy in jam and if someone has a food sensitivity or is vegan then this is an unwelcome surprise. Besides, you are making homemade jam, how hard is it to skim off a little foam? I hope most of you read this paragraph and like me, say to yourselves, “Why the hell would anyone put butter in jam?! That is weird and a little gross.”
Enough background to the recipe. I have to type quickly because my little boy is sleeping very fitfully because his molars are coming in. Poor little guy is suffering quite a bit this time. He was drooling so much on me when I was cuddling him to get to sleep that I had to change my shirt and bra because he soaked me. Thank God for baby Advil and baby Tempra.
I will be posting the recipe for the scones shown in the photo in this post later as well (if the teething gets better).
Note after posting: It was brought to my attention by Sean at Punk Domestics that Certo is known only as a liquid pectin in some areas. As a result it may be confusing to some readers when I call for pectin crystals but also refer to Certo as my chosen brand. In Ontario, where I live, Certo is available as both liquid and crystals.
- 3 cups crushed strawberries
- ¾ cup Port Wine
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup agave syrup
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ of a vanilla bean
- 1 pkg pectin crystals (such as Certo)
- Wash the jars and lids and sterilize the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes in a large pot with a rack on the bottom. Keep the jars hot until you pour in the jam. To be totally honest, I boil mine for longer and leave them in the hot water while the jam finishes.
- Hull, wash and crush the fresh strawberries with a potato masher and measure 3 cups of the crushed berries into a large heavy bottomed stainless steel pot.
- Cut off one quarter of a vanilla bean, slit it down the centre and scrape the seeds into the pot. Add the vanilla pod to the pot as well.
- Measure the sugar, agave, Port and lemon juice and add them all to the pot. Add the Certo as well.
- Turn on the heat to medium and stir occasionally. If you see a clump of vanilla seeds, press them against the side of the pot to break up the clump and stir it in to the rest of the mixture so that it combines easily.
- Skim off the foam that comes up as the jam boils. Don’t throw this away!! It is delicious on plain yogurt. You could put it on ice cream too.
- From the time that I turned on the heat for the jam until I felt it was ready for the jar it took about 32 to 35 minutes. 20 of those minutes was active boiling.
- When the jam is ready, ladle into hot sterilized jars. Place two part lids on them (new lids with rings) and tighten – but not too tight!
- Process the jars in a pot of boiling water with rack on the bottom for 10 minutes.
- Remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Check to see that they all sealed properly. If you have jars that did not seal, refrigerate those and use within a few weeks.
3 comments July 5, 2011