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April 13, 2005

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David

strawberry and vanilla sounds delightful... a stall at our local market sells something called "raw stirred" strawberry jam. I've no idea how it's actually made but it tastes very very fresh, more like strawberries than the usual stuff. It also goes mouldy within a week if not kept in the fridge. have you any idea of how to make jam without cooking?

kitschenette

david - hmmm, the only jam i know of that doesn't need to be cooked is something similar to the 'raw stirred' jam you mention. i think it must be a fresh jam, where all you do is macerate the fruit and add sugar or lemon juice or something similar. because the fruit isn't cooked in a sugar syrup at high heat and thus preserved, it would soon go off or mouldy, just as fresh fruit would.

the sugar syrup in which the fruit is cooked when making conventional jam acts as a preservative, sealing out air which would cause the fruit to decay. hence, if you get any air bubbles or an improperly sealed jar of jam it also tends to get a bit whiffy, brown or mouldy.

here's a quick jam recipe from nigella (from 'forever summer')which aims to preserve the freshness of raspberries while doing away with all that stove-top faffing about:

- put 250g raspberries into an ovenproof dish and 250g castor sugar into another.
- cook both in an oven pre-heated to 180° for 20- 25 minutes.
- remove from oven and add hot sugar to hot berries - instant jam!
- pour into a 250ml jar and leave to cool and set in the fridge.

mmm, that sounds yummy. will have to try that myself.
if you want even less fuss than that, i reckon just try cutting up some fresh fruit very finely and adding icing sugar to taste (other sugars will leave a grainy texture) and maybe lemon juice, mint leaves etc and eat straight away. just make a small amount as it won't keep for long!

Dean

Thanks for a great blog. I've been reading instead of doing some work I need to finish.

I almost entirely agree with you about cooked avocado with one exception. There is a quality vegeterian restaurant here in Melbourne, Australia (in Carlton) called Shakahari that do an entree that is a tempura batter around a roll of eggplant, avocado and (if I recall correctly) red capsicum in a coriander/sweet sauce. I don't know where in Australia you originally come from but if you're in Melbourne it's definitely worth trying.

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