Britain meets India on toast…
As the raspberry season draws to and end, I thought I’d post my recipe for Raspberry and Cardamom Jam, in case you were looking for ways to use up the last of your harvest.
I hand-picked these raspberries from my local PYO at White House Farm in Norfolk. It’s a very idyllic place just a couple of miles around the corner and where myself and my family used to visit many moons ago. They’ve recently given the farm shop a make-over and now have a stunning on-site coffee shop serving home-baked cakes and also a farmer’s market once a month. Well worth a visit.
I actually made this batch of jam on Indian Independence Day (15th August), which was also coincidentally shortly after watching Gandhi for the first time. So it was perhaps a subconscious decision to flavour my raspberry jam with this fragrant Indian spice. I love the sweet-scented aniseed flavours of the cardamom pod, which is used in so much of Indian cooking. It’s not something we’d probably consider adding to jam here in the UK, but it works so well in Indian desserts, I thought it was worth experimenting with.
The result when cooked with raspberries, was a beautifully perfumed jam – the cardamom really brings out the tang of the raspberries.
It should keep unopened for a year, although the lovely bright colour will darken a little.
Raspberry and Cardamon Jam
Makes 3 – 4 jam jars
- 1kg raspberries
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1kg bag jam sugar (the one with pectin added)
- 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom seeds (around 15 pods)
NB: I used 1.7kg of raspberries, the juice of two small lemons, 1.7kg sugar and 2 conservative teaspoons of ground cardamom seeds). This made 6 medium jars of jam.
- Sterlise your jars using the below tip. Place a couple of side plates in the freezer to chill (you’ll need these later, when testing whether your jam has set).
- Place half the raspberries into a pan (it doesn’t have to be a preserving pan if you don’t have one, just a stainless steel medium-large pan will do). Then, add the lemon juice.
- Using a potato masher, crush the berries to a pulp over a gentle to medium heat, then cook for 6 mins.
- Sieve the cooked berries into a bowl and push as much of the pulp as you can through the sieve with a wooden spoon.
- Place the juice and pulp back in the pan and mix in the sugar. Heat slowly and then add the rest of the whole raspberries. Make sure all of the sugar has dissolved properly before it reaches the boil, otherwise the jam won’t set. (Tip: dip a spoon into the jam and if you still see any sugar granules coating the spoon, the sugar still hasn’t dissolved)
- Bring to the boil rapidly for 5 mins.
- Remove from heat and test a teaspoon of jam on one of the chilled side plates. Push your finger through the jam and it should have set and have a crinkle skin on the surface of the jam. If not, boil for another 3 – 5 minutes and test again.
- Pour into the jars and seal.
- Then pour into clean, dry, hot jars, filling them as near to the top as possible. Straightaway, place a waxed disc over the surface, then seal with a lid. Wipe the jars with a warm, damp cloth
I’ll be finishing off the jam in the next couple of weeks by creating my own labels and covers made from scraps of Liberty fabric. I promise to post the final outcome soon.
I’m no expert when it comes to jam making, but here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way from Delia and my nearest and dearest:
Scum: Don’t worry about any scum that rises to the surface. Instead, wait until you have a set, then remove the jam from the heat and stir in a small lump of butter, which will disperse the scum.
Experimenting with sugar alternatives: A few weeks prior, I had made a batch of raspberry jam, substituting refined sugar for a plant-based unrefined sweetener, agave (which looks very similar to maple syrup – it’s made from a cactus plant). Although a little runnier than usual jam, the result was pretty good and you couldn’t detect the taste of agave. However, two weeks later, my jars had encountered a mold problem. I hadn’t sterilized my jars properly nor had I filled the jar to the top. I threw the jam mixture away but I later discovered that I should have scooped off the mold and re-boiled the jam. After re-sterilising the jars.
Sterilising your jars: Wash the jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse, then place on a baking tray in a 170°C to dry completely. Keep them warm until you fill them. But be careful, because sometimes if the jars are too hot, when you pour the hot jam mixture into the jar, it will bubble up like a mini volcano.
Mold: if mold develops on the surface of jam in a jar, remove it with a spoon, along with about half an inch (1 cm) of the jam underneath – rest assured, the rest of the jam will not be affected – and place a waxed disc dipped in brandy on top.