Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Jam and Jerusalem artichokes

I've just dug these from the garden, lovely and crisp and fresh, knobbly and tasty. I'm going to do them scalloped in cream to go with cottage pie for tea. Just peel, parboil them and clie into a flat dish; add seasoning, garlic if you like, then cover with cream and bake until tender, with a golden brown top. The other thing they are great for is a soup - makes one of the very best winter soups, rich and cmoky tasting. A great, easy crop to grow, Jerusalem artichokes wil grow up to about 9ft tall in a season, so may overshadow other crops, so must be planted with care. Another thing to watch out for is that they will re-grow from the tiniest chip of artichoke left behind in the ground. Best to give over a patch to them permanently and enjoy them for years to come. the tall stems can be cut down towards the end of summer/autumn, but leave a few inches as markers to show where the tubers lie beneath. Stems can go on the heaps, but my goats love them, so they get them when they are green. In very warm summers, they will flower at the very top of the stems, with a small yellow, sunflower-like bloom - hence the Italian name, girasol, from which the Jerusalem part of the name has evolved.
A very welcome addition to the winter vegetable basket.
As for the jam, well it's that time of the year again! Time to rootle through the jam cupboard and take out all the extras - ones not keen on, ones that have gone sugary, odd half jars, ones I know won't be used, etc. This makes room for when teh spring cleaning comes along, and room on teh shelves for this summer's batch of jammy goodness. The jars are emptied into a brewing bucket, 8 jars to two gallons of hot water, plus about 1 1/2 lbs of sugar. Stir to dissolve, add sliced lemon/ornage and three teabags. Leave to cool to blood heat, then add activated yeast, stir well, cover tightly and leave in a warm place for 4 - 5 days. Strain into a demi-john and leave to ferment out, rack, leave 6 weeks, then bottle. Can be drunk in about 6 months, and hey presto, jam wine :)


Helen said...

Do you have to peel jerusalem artichokes? my dad used to grow these and when my mum prepared them they used to take an age to peel, and then there was not much to show for her effort afterwards. I would like to give them a go, but i'm a bit hesitant. Also, I don't think I have actually seen them for sale. Maybe I need an allotment! Helen x

Eileen said...

Jam wine -you really are amazing -I've never heard of such a thing!!!

MrsL said...

Morning Helen :) Yes, teh artichokes have to be peeled first; bit of a fidget to do, but worth it. They're very knobbly, and take a while. There is one now bred to be less bumpy and lumpy, called Fuseau, so try and get hold of that one if you want to give the growing a go. What I do in teh spring is dig up the rest of them, and select teh smoothest best shaped ones for re-planting. My ones this year are certainly smoother and fatter than previous years, so maybe my amateur effort at plant selection are working!! LOL

Eileen, the jam wine is a case of waste not LOL Sometimes teh covers skip, or break, the jam goes hard and crunchy on the top and isn't that good for eating or even cooking, so this is a good way of using it. It doesn't take much sugar either, as there is the sugar already in the jam. It gives a good fruity jam, and you can often pick out the individual flavours that have gone in. One memorable batch tasted of ginger due to the rhubarb and ginger jam, it was lovely! Marmalade and jellies can be added too, anything really! There were a couple of slightly past it oranges in teh fruit bowl, so they were sliced up and added to the bucket too. When strained, the resulting fruity mush goes on to the compost heap.

The Squirrel Family said...

Hi Mrs L me again !

Do you not add pectolase to your jam wines ?

I thought this prevented cloudiness or is it just a marketing ploy?

Shaz mum of 2

MrsL said...

Hi Shaz! No, I don't use it at all. Soemtimes the jam wine wtakes a while to clear, sometimes it won;t clear completely, other times it will. Still tastes teh same, and I don;t enter it ins hows any more, so crystal clear isn't a problem for me!


The Squirrel Family said...

Thanks for that

I had some so i added it

I have used apricot and apple jam and it smells good as it is now!

Also attempting a fruit tea wine as the earl grey wine from last year tastes good and of peaches ...........its very dry and very strong too

also experimenting with cherries and....ribena??