A visit to Málaga a few days ago to sort out some paperwork also led us through the backstreets to the old market, which has been beautifully restored. Sadly, I didn´t have my camera with me to show you the stalls beautifully laid out with fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.
Sadly too, some of the fruit, when we got home, was not as lovely as it had promised to be. I think the best stuff was “up front” and the bags of non regular shoppers were filled with the less than top quality produce from the back.
Hey ho, squashed and not so fruity tasting fruit lends itself to jam making, and making it in small quantities is also fun. It´s quick, you don´t feel obliged to give away most of what you made to friends and family, and you get to have a wide selection of different flavoured jams in the despensa (that´s the larder to you and me)!
After tasting a few apricots and deciding that they weren´t up to that much, I stoned the rest and chopped them roughly and was left with 500g of fruit in weight. I added 300g of sugar and the juice of one lemon and put into a deep pan.
Start the jam off at a low temperature until the sugar has dissolved. The turn the heat up and get it bubbling, but making sure that it doesn´t boil over. Cleaning cold, set jam off your cooker is no fun at all.
Keep it bubbling away for about 10 minutes. Don´t get distracted or walk away! If you have a jam thermometer, do use it, it saves having to reboil the jam later if it doesn´t set. Otherwise you can drop a spoonful of jam onto a saucer which you have previously placed in the freezer. When the jam cools on the saucer you push it slightly – if it wrinkles, it´s at setting point. If not, boil a little longer then repeat.
Sometimes you can just go with instinct, and even if it doesn´t set, runny jam tastes just as good.
Now you need to leave the jam to cool down a little for 5-10 minutes so that when you pour it into still warm, sterilized jars (I run mine through the dishwasher to do this), the fruit will not float to the top.
Seal the jars while they are still hot and this will keep (although I doubt you´ll be able to resist!) for at least a year. Now, where´s that loaf of bread?