Congratulations to Monique on the birth of a beautiful daughter. There is no news yet about Sunny and Kerry's baby but we expect him very soon. I thought he might be born on the 22 March but the actual due date is this Sunday. I'll let you all know when we get the phone call. It's so exciting waiting for a new baby!
Hanno bought some of his favourite sugar plums quite cheaply the other day and I thought if we could get some more at that price I'd put up a couple of jars for him. Summer fruits are fading fast now but sometimes you can get a nice bargain with them at this time of year. They're are such a treat later when grey skies and cold winds come calling. If we can find more cheap plums now it will only be a small amount and not worth getting the preserving unit out for such an amount. I'll do them in the oven instead.
I have been reading through my book, The Thrifty Kitchen, and in there is a very good guide for oven processing small amounts of fruit - page 153. All I need now are some recycled jars, sugar syrup and a bit of time, oh, and the plums.
The Thrifty Kitchen recipe calls for 2kg|4.4lbs of any stone fruit - peaches, nectarines, apricots or plums to make one litre|quart of fruit. Preheat the oven to 120C|250F, wash your jars thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse in warm water and place them in the oven, opening upwards, for 20 minutes. Then,
- Wash the fruit well, cut in half and remove the stone. Then place the fruit carefully into a clean jar. Pack it in well, and, with the handle of a wooden spoon, push the fruit into the jar with out damaging it. The fruit will reduce in size as it's being processed.
- Place the jars on an oven tray without them touching each other. Put the lids on the jars but don't screw them on.
- Put the tray of jars on the low shelf in the oven on 120C|250F and leave them for 45 minutes.
- Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, make the sugar syrup - 3 cups of water mixed with 2 cups of white sugar and heated until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Remove the tray of jars from the oven and carefully pour the syrup into the jars, filling them to the top with about 5 mm headspace.
- Replace the lids and seal the jars. You can turn the jars over to rest on their lids. I do that sometimes, sometimes I don't.
- Place all the jars on a tea towel to cool and leave overnight.
The next day test that the jars are airtight by unscrewing the jar slightly and holding the jar by the lid. If it doesn't pop open and stays closed, it's airtight and can be stored in your cupboard for a few months. If it's not airtight, store it in the fridge. When you open the fruit to eat it, store it in the fridge if you don't finish the whole jar straight away.
The Thrifty Kitchen is published by Lantern ISBN 13579108642.