Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Jam

Jam and Jelly. For a long long time I used those two words interchangeably...because no one every corrected me. Not many people seem to know what the difference between jams and jellies are, unless they do and they just don't care that people confuse the two all the time. Well, in my last few classes at culinary school, I had a Chef who was very particular about the difference between jam and jelly, and I had a lot of exposure to the making of jellies and discussions on jams. We also made a lot of different butters [apple butter, butternut squash butter, pear butter...on and on and on] So let's talk about the difference between these three items.

-"something" Butter-
Choose a fruit, vegetable, anything can make a butter out of it. don't think of butter as the creamy delicious dairy spread made from churning milk. The kind of butter we are talking about right now is a sweet, thick compote meets caramel like substance. You would cut up your fruit/vege and put it in a large pot with sugar, water, butter, and other flavorings [spices, herbs, etc] and simply cook that down to remove all of the water, cook the fruit and concentrate the solution. many butters are pureed together, and voila. you have your something butter.

Jellies are made by taking a fruit and extracting the juice from it. nothing else, no pulp, no seeds, no skin. just the fresh, clean juice out the of fruit. once you have the juice, you add sugar, sometimes water, and any flavorings [spices, etc] and cook this solution down until it is a concentrated mixture. some people add pectin to their jellies to help them set. Pectin is a naturally occurring gelling agent found in apples [and other fruits]! you can buy powdered pectin, but most fruits will have enough natural pectin to set on their own. Jellies should be beautiful and CLEAR when finished. they shouldn't be transparent, but they don't have any additives, so they should be very translucent and not overly cloudy.

Jam is everything that a jelly is not. Jam is almost the halfway point between Jelly and Butter. To make jam, you are going to cook down the entire fruit/veg with sugar and water and any flavorings. This is usually  then pureed together and you have jam. Jam is not clear or even translucent. It is very opaque and cloudy. It has pieces of the actual fruit still in the finished product. It is entirely up to you if you want to leave these pieces of fruit whole or mush them up with the rest of the mixture.

So now that we all know the difference between jam, jelly, and butter.....LETS MAKE SOME JAM! :]
I wanted to put my pumpkin puree to good [and different than pie] use. Its almost November, which to me [and most of America] that means THANKSGIVING! And what [besides turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes] says Thanksgiving like cranberries! So here we are, saying goodbye to October and hello to November with a pumpkin cranberry jam!

Pumpkin Cranberry Jam
Pumpkin Puree: 2#
Cranberries: 8 oz
Sugar: 1#
Water: 1#
Cinnamon Stick: 2 each
Clove: 1 each
Vanilla Bean: 1 each
Salt: pinch [small pinch!]
Lemon Juice: 1 Tbsp

Bring all of the ingredients together into a LARGE pot. You are going to use a pot that is much larger than you think you need. This is going to boil and bubble a lot [my pot ended up being too small, it worked, but i made a MESS (sorry Kat and Allie- best roommates ever, I'll clean the kitchen before work!) So i advise using a large pot [think, something that you would cook pasta in]
Boil everything in the pot together, stirring constantly at first. Once you hear the cranberries sing to you.....yes, i said sing [they are going to whistle a little and then their skin will pop] give the pot a nice stir and place a lid on it.
Allow this to boil for about 30 minutes. You will need to stir every so often, so stay near by.
After about 30-45 minutes of boiling, the jam should have reduced slightly and be very thick. Carefully remove the cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla from the mixture and pour into a large container to cool. Make sure you cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn't form a skin!

all ingredients together

After boiling for about 30 minutes, stirring with a whisk in order to mush cranberries and pumpkin together!
Finished jam! It turned into a BEAUTIFUL orangey-red. It isnt too tart, nor is it overly sweet. It still has the texture from the pumpkin, but a nice cinnamon and cranberry flavor!

 And now you've made jam! Make sure to store in an airtight container in the fridge! Spread it on toast, waffles, pancakes....actually, This would even make a GREAT filling for a holiday cake!!! Actually...i might try that myself :]

1 comment:

  1. This looks delish, but do you mean 1 pound of water? That would be about 2 cups. Seems like it would take a lot longer than 45 minutes to cook down!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...