Jelly Lessons #1

Jelly Lessons #1Every country has a national preserved fruit or veggie that they are known for, from coconut to strawberries, cucumber to peppers, sweet to savory, for dessert toppings, sandwich fixins’ or meat glazes. The ingredients used and how they are prepared to determine the type of preserves;  jams, jellies, conserves, curds and marmalades are all examples of different styles of preserves. In English, the word, in plural form, “preserves” is used to describe all types of jams and jellies.Jelly Queens’Chutney – Sassy Apple Fig – A chutney is a pungent relish of Indian origin made of fruit, spices, and herbs. Although originally intended to be eaten soon after production, modern chutneys are often made to be sold, so require preservatives – often sugar and vinegar – to ensure they have a suitable shelf life. Ours is laced with our favorite spice blend  – Garam Masala.

Jelly Queens Confit – Bacon Bourbon – While confit, the past participle of the French verb confire, “to preserve”, is most often applied to the preservation of meats, it is also used for fruits or vegetables seasoned and cooked with honey or sugar till jam-like. Savory confits, such as ones made with garlic or fennel, may call for a savory oil, such as virgin olive oil, as the preserving agent.Jelly Queens’ Conserve  – Banana Nut – A conserve, or whole fruit jam, is a jam made of fruit stewed in sugar. Because of the quick cooking time some fruits are not particularly suitable for making into conserves because they require cooking for longer periods to avoid issues such as tough skins. Because of the cooking period, not as much pectin will be released from the fruit, and as such, conserves will be slightly softer set than some jams. Conserves usually also include dried fruit, like raisins or nuts.

Jelly Queens’ Fruit Butter – Pumpkin, Apple – Fruit butters are made from larger fruits, such as pumpkins, apples, pear or peaches. Cook until softened and run through a sieve to give a smooth consistency. After sieving, add sugar and spices and slow cook the pulp for 4 days, allowing all the water to evaporate.  The finished product should mound up when dropped from a spoon, but should not cut like jelly, it should be very thick, rich and can be used in other recipes like applesauce would be to replace the fats.

Jelly Queens’ Fruit curd – Lemon Lavender, Cranberry, Strawberry, Coconut, Blood Orange – Fruit curd is a dessert topping and spread usually made with lemon, lime, orange, or raspberry. The basic ingredients are beaten egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice and zest which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, intensely flavored spread.Jelly Queens’ Jams – maybe we should be the jam queens! Four Berries, Strawberry black Pepper, Tomato Basil, Peach Pepper, Lavender Peach, Raspberry Chipotle, Raspberry Framboise, Raspberry Rose, and to many to name!! – Jam typically contains both the juice and flesh of a fruit or vegetable, although some cookbooks define it as a cooked and jelled puree. The term “jam” refers to a product made of whole fruit cut into pieces or crushed, then heated with water and sugar to activate its pectin before being put into containers. Good jam has a soft even consistency without distinct pieces of fruit, a bright color, a good fruit flavor and a semi-jellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid.Jelly Queens’ Jellies – Lavender, Cabernet, Champagne, Six Pepper – To me jelly is the hardest to make, it is pure chemistry. I have seen everyone struggle with jelly – even some of the best chefs I know don’t seem to be able to get it to set correctly. It is either too soft and is just syrup or too hard and chippy. In the U.S. and Canada, jelly refers to a clear or translucent fruit spread made from sweetened juice lemon juice and pectin. Outside North America jelly usually refers to a gelatin-based dessert, what we call JELLO.  Pectin is essential to the formation of jelly because it acts as a gelling agent. Jelly can be made from sweet, savory or hot ingredients. Good jelly is clear and sparkling and has a fresh flavor of the fruit from which it is made. It is tender enough to quiver when moved but holds angles when cut. Jelly Queens’ Marmalades – Blood Orange Lavender, Pink Lemonade, Triple Citrus, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Calamondin Vanilla,  Onion Fig – Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of the fruit boiled with sugar and water. It is typically produced from lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, sweet oranges, bergamots and other citrus fruits, but also include fruit where eating the skin is delicious, like figs! The benchmark citrus fruit for marmalade production in Britain is the Spanish Seville orange, prized for its high pectin content, which gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the preserve. In America, marmalade is sweet. Marmalade is generally distinguished from jam by its fruit peel.