In our household, we love fruits. The kids request for bananas, grapes, apples and oranges nightly and we love watermelons, papayas and pears too. We buy a bunch of fruits every week at our grocery runs and I try to stock up when certain seasonal fruits (such as blueberries and strawberries) are on sale. As the saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Often by the end of the week, there will be some overly ripe of fruits lying in the fridge, forgotten.
I’ve started making jams two years ago. Homemade jam is about using up excess fruits that would go bad if we hung onto it longer or about taking advantage of a super sale at the supermarket and coming home with more than we can eat for the week. It’s about keeping it simple and using what we have to reduce food wastage.
Making jam is actually pretty easy. Homemade jams do not contain preservatives – just fresh fruits, sugar and a dash of lemon juice (which acts as a preservative). These are soft jam and taste much yummier than the gelatinous store-bought ones (plus it makes a great gift too especially for Teachers’ Day or Christmas). They are absolutely delicious simply spread on toast or dolloped onto freshly-baked waffles. I particularly like the fact that there are plenty of nice free jam label printable online which I can use to prettify the jars before gifting them away.
If you haven’t made jam before, there are a few things you may want to know: the consistency of the homemade jams will be a touch runny, which makes it an equally good for your morning yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream. To make jams, essentially, use 2 parts fruits to 1 part sugar. It’s really that simple, just a teeny weeny bit of patience needed in the stirring (here’s where our little eager helpers at home would come in handy). Go on, give these easy recipes a try!
Take a peek at the process:
Blueberry Lime Jam
- 500g blueberries
- 250g caster sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Zest of 2 green limes
- In a saucepan, add sugar into berries and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Add in zest two limes into blueberry. Stir in the lime juice and put the saucepan onto medium heat.
- Stir blueberry jam frequently and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for about 40 minutes. Stir continuously.
- Pour blueberry jam into sterilized jars.
- You can test if the jam is ready using this - Using a metal spoon, ladle out a spoonful of blueberry jam. Hold the spoon and watch the way the jam drips off of the spoon. If it’s little individual drops, jam is not set, if it’s big goop, it’s almost there. If it comes off the spoon in a sheet or doesn’t really drop off at all, then jam is set, bring the saucepan away from the heat.
- 500g strawberries - hulled and sliced
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon rose water (available at Phoon Huat)
- Toss strawberries and sugar in a saucepan with the rose water. Let it sit until berries start to release their juices, about 30 minutes.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally at first and then more often as mixture thickens (as sugars concentrate, jam will be more likely to scorch), until most of the liquid evaporates and mixture is thickened, about 40 minutes later.
- To test for thickness, place a small dollop of jam on a chilled spoon and chill 2 minutes. Drag your finger through: It should leave a clear path that doesn’t fill in.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Divide between sterilized jars, cover and chill.
Pineapple Ginger Jam
- 500g pineapple (1 honey pineapple)
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 small knob of young ginger - finely grated
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (available at Phoon Huat)
- Peel the pineapple and grate the pulp out of it.
- Cook the pineapple pulp, ginger, vanilla essence, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Do not cook over full high flame after sugar is dissolved as the jam mixture might be burnt.
- Let it cook for 40 minutes, stir continuously. As it cooks further, the mixture will thicken.
- Switch off heat and let the jam cool completely. It will continue to thicken.
- Transfer the jam to sterilized jars. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- To sterilize the jars, wash them thoroughly and remove the rubber gasket. Place the jars on a baking tray (with lids open) and bake in the oven at 180C for 10mins.
- The sugar should be completely dissolved before the jam reaches the boil, otherwise it will be difficult to set and the finished jam will be sugary.
- Soft-skinned fruits, such as strawberries, which tend to disintegrate when cooked, should be soaked in sugar first, to harden them and help keep the fruit whole in the finished jam.
- Enjoy the homemade jams with Ikea’s frozen heart-shaped waffles! Yummy!
Apple & Pear Crumble
Just this week, I realised a batch of blush pears were turning brown so I decided to use them to bake a apple and pear crumble mix which I bought from Ikea’s frozen food section. Once baked, serve it with a scoop of luscious vanilla ice-cream. Bliss!
- 1 packet of Apple Pear Crumble Mix from Ikea
- A few ripe pears and/or apples - chopped
- Preheat oven to 225C.
- Wash and chop ripe pears into bite-sized pieces.
- Empty the packet of frozen pears and apples onto the base of the IKEA 365+ oven dish. Spread the chopped ripened pears and/or apple pieces on it.
- Top it with the frozen crumble mix.
- Send into oven and bake for 20mins or till golden brown.
- Serve it with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream!
World Food Day 2016
World Food Day is about Zero Hunger—a global goal for the world to achieve together. In affluent Singapore, food is available readily and in abundance round the clock. But not too far away, there are malnourished and starving babies, children and youths right in our neighbouring countries (e.g. India, Cambodia, Laos etc).
According to NEA website, every person in Singapore on average generates about 126kg of food waste a year. Food is wasted when there is improper storage or handling, when edible food is thrown away, when there are leftovers from cooking, or when we cannot finish our food. Over the past 10 years, the amount of food waste Singapore generates has increased by about 50 per cent, and the number is set to increase as the country grows in terms of population and affluence. Singapore has only one landfill left – Semakau Landfill – and it is expected to run out of space if these food wastage habits continue. If every individual and household would be mindful to take small steps daily to minimize food waste, we can help to reduce the environmental and social impacts of food consumption on Mother Earth.
Some IKEA Items Used In This Post
1. IKEA 365+ Plate, white $1.90
2. IKEA 365+ Serving plate, white $5.90
3. IKEA 365+ Wine glass, clear glass $2.90
4. KASTRULL Saucepan with lid, green $19.90
5. GEMAK Colander, off-white $16.90
6. IKEA 365+ Utility knife, stainless steel $19.90
7. IKEA 365+ Oven dish, white $20.90
8. PROPPMÄTT Chopping board, beech $5.90
Not seen in collage: KORKEN jar with airtight lid (0.4oz)
Disclaimer: This is a guest post for Ikea to commemorate World Food Day 2016. All ideas and photos are, as usual, ours. Check out our other Ikea posts below.ould