Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Raspberry jam

After the success of last year's raspberry jam (runny but amazingly delicious) I was very excited to get a couple of batches made this year.  I missed getting enough raspberries a couple of weeks in a row at the market so last week I ordered two kilos in advance.  And the following day ended up with news that I was going to have a visitor the same weekend I was planning on jam-making.  But I thought this particular visitor would end up being the kind who would be okay with me doing something like that and just hanging around the house for a few hours.  Unforuntately it ended up being a very emotional few hours on Saturday afternoon that took me a while to get over and doing anything domestic shot right down to the bottom of my list of things to do.  I did chop up some strawberries and put some of them plus the blackberries I had also bought and some of the raspberries into my newly started Rumtopf.  And then realised that using up a kilo of fruit had been wrong because the bottle of rum I bought was 70ml and not 1 litre.  Which should have been obvious since most bottles of booze are around that but since I don't buy drink all that often, it passed me by.  Come to think of it I also managed to chop up the windfall apples I had brought home from the garden and make pectin stock so I suppose the evening wasn't a complete waste.

Things improved somewhat on Sunday but we were out and about the town and I wasn't home until lateish and was just too worn out to face into it.  I should have just put them straight into the fridge when I bought them but I sort of expected to be eating them any minute, it didn't feel all that hot and so I didn't until Sunday evening.  At which stage some of them had of course already started to mould.  I spent a while yesterday evening sorting out the still good ones and managed to get a kilo's worth.  So out of two kilos I used 1.3kg  - at 1.60 per punnet of 150g that's not the cheapest mistake I've made this year to say the least.  Feel so stupid but I think much of that is caught up in the situation that landed me there as well.

The jam is made at least and I got six 230ml jars out of it.  It seems to have set far better than last year's but it just doesn't have the same make you go weak at the knees effect at all.  I had a little bit left over that I just put in an glass in the fridge and I had some of it this morning.  I hadn't made a note last year of what sugar I used and this year used one-third unrefined raw cane sugar which was quite dark.  Perhaps that had an effect on it. I also thought at one stage it was starting to burn but it didn't - I had been re-reading the book I have which actually says not to stir once the jam reaching a rolling boil so I didn't at first but then got too nervous that it would burn.  Still on a learning curve and feel like it was one step forward last year and is two steps back this.  Have to just keep at it I suppose.

I am more spectacularly broke than normal and have essentially no more money to spend this month at this stage so preserving efforts will be more or less at a halt.  I do have a money box full of coppers which I didn't want to break (I stupidly left the key sellotaped to the inside of the kitchen cupboard in Ireland - I bet if I went back it would still be there but I've never managed to remember to do that while in Dublin as I'm not ever in that part of town) but needs must.  The fruit shop around the corner from me has a special offer of 99c per kilo of tomatoes this month and I might just buy some there.  They're not organic and not local (but are German) but sometimes principles have to give way to practicality.  Just buying tins of tomatoes would still be probably cheaper but I would like to do one or two batches anyway at least for the practice.  Otherwise I will be eating from the cupboard and freezer this month and trying to make my lunch vouchers stretch to cover small bits and pieces in between.

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