27 February 2012

Carrot and apple jam

I made this jam a while ago after foraging a load of apples from a tree growing in a farmer's field in Norfolk. The tree was alone and stood the the edge of the field as if it had grown there by chance, or been seeded by a careless walker's discarded snack. The apples were rotting beneath it. This is the first jam I've ever made.

I've thought carrots would go quite well with the apple in a jam due to their high sugar content - they do after all crop up in Indian sweets and carrot cake. Not being the jamming expert I needed a recipe to follow and found this one online. Its small amount of ingredients and straightforward sounding processes were appealing – I immediately decided to ramp up the ginger to get good harmonies going with the carrot. It does include a silly suggestion of adding a few drops of food colouring to  get a really orange colour which needless to say is not the SDON way at all. So you're going to need -

  • 500g apples
  • 300g carrots
  • a medium - large piece of stem ginger chopped
  • 625g sugar
  • pinches of cinnamon and chilli
  • juice of two lemons

Grate your vegetables - remember the magimix is your friend. Far too arduous to attempt by hand.

Combine all the ingredients and cook down until, well, jammy. Being a novice I went too far here and by the time the jam had later cooled it had gone a bit too solid. It still tastes delicious mind, but it's in semi-solid chunks and not great for spreading. The taste though, is wonderful - extremely sweet, with the toffee-ish texture giving way to caramel, then the warmth of the ginger and finally the sweet shreds of carrot. I think it is slightly too sweet actually, so have lowered the amount of sugar above accordingly.

As well as your standard toast and butter combo this jam went very well with a bit of gruyere - just a smidgeon of jam was enough to set of the nutty cheese very nicely. It's not really so far from the chilli jams that we use in savoury food so I wouldn't be too slavish in only using it for sweet dishes. The other thing it would be sensational in I think is some sort of jammed up treacle tart or sponge pudding....

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