Viewing entries tagged with 'jam'

African cherries, a new taste on the farm

Posted by Liz on 27 April 2011 | 0 Comments

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A new discovery... the African cherry (Eugenia). I had seen a strange (to me) red berry growing plentifully in a tree on the farm but never gave it much thought until Hannes disclosed in a matter-of-fact, everybody-knows-this sort of way that it was edible. All of a sudden it sounded much more interesting. Apparently African cherries could be used to make delicious jams. I decided to have a go.  I make a mean chutney so perhaps those skills would extend to jam-making... But first the cherries had to be collected and most of them were growing quite far from the ground. I set off with a basket and picked those I could reach but still they didn’t look very many. A ladder seemed a precarious option so after some thought I reversed my bakkie (pickup) to the tree and climbed on the back to pick the next tier of fruit. So the cherries were harvested but what to combine them with? Apple seemed a good choice and some spices. A final squeeze to a wine box yielded a good measure of red wine. Combined with some sugar, bubbled gently on the stove and wow the smell was amazing and result was better than I ever hoped! The colour was an amazing deep purple-red and the taste was really fruity and delicious.

African cherries (Eugenia)
Cherries and apples in the pan all ready to go

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Cherry tomato jam with cinnamon, a farm favourite

Posted by Liz on 25 April 2010 | 2 Comments

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When I first heard mention of tomato jam I must say my reaction was ‘euuuuuuhhhhh???’ If this is you too then stick with it, it’s worth it... We have quite a good size veggie garden on the farm and although we’ve experimented growing various vegetables and herbs, and a raspberry cane this year, we’ve never actually planted any tomatoes. None the less, undeterred, little tomato seedlings spring from the soil each year. We’ve found them all over, in the fields, in the garden, even in the chicken pen. Some-one who has lived here obviously enjoyed cherry tomatoes. Each year as summer passes literally hundreds of tomatoes ripen every week and we have to pick them daily just to keep up. So here lay the challenge, what to do with this bumper harvest? Hannes’ grandmother provided inspiration for our first culinary voyage with cherry tomatoes which has since become a bit of a classic amongst farm guests - cherry tomato jam with cinnamon. It must run in the family because I must say nobody quite makes it like Hannes. You will need 400g ripe cherry tomatoes 250g granulated white sugar One or two sticks of cinnamon, or a few teaspoons of ground cinnamon To sterilise your jar pour boiling water over the glass and the lid. Leave them upside down to dry on a clean kitchen towel. 400g tomatoes will make enough jam to fill one medium size jar. Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in half and put them into a large pan with the sugar. If you’re using cinnamon sticks, add those too. Mix the whole lot well and leave it to marinate for an hour. Then put the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 10 minutes and then drain off the tomatoes. Put the syrup back on the heat. If you’re using ground cinnamon instead of sticks add 2 teaspoons now. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened (about 10 minutes or so). Put the tomatoes back into the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture into a glass jar, putting a piece of cinnamon stick in each jar. Make sure you don’t leave any air bubbles in the jam. Close the lid tightly and store in a cool, dark place. You can store the jam for several months, it just gets better. Or if you can’t wait you can eat it right away, it’s just as good! One great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need to skin the tomatoes, just cut them in half and chuck them in the pan. This saves a lot of time and fiddling about which if you’re anything like me is a great bonus. You can increase the amount of cinnamon or use sticks as well as ground cinnamon if you like. Try it once and then adjust the amounts according to how you like it. The jam is a rich red colour with the seeds making beautiful golden specks, and tastes delicious, somehow sweet and tangy at the same time. It’s divine on toasted cheese or with ham but we have had guests who enjoyed it so much they spread it on everything from barbeques to breakfasts... thanks Chris and Joe, you provided inspiration for this posting. Despite this jam becoming a firm favourite we have tried quite a few other ways of cooking with cherry tomatoes. Some favourites are spicy tomato chutney, cherry tomato tart and just simply baked them on a little puff pastry with a dab of pesto to make a delicious appetiser. I also tried drying them in the sun on a baking tray on the back shelf in the car with some success. Especially nice sprinkled with some herbs and they keep well in an airtight container, in the freezer or in a little olive oil. Enjoy!

Freshly picked cherry tomatoes simmering in the pot at Angels Rest Farm
Hand-picked cherry tomatoes grown at Angels Rest Farm

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Plettenberg bay - Garden Route - South Africa