That's what happened to me this morning, outta the blue. Gotta have some berries. Not a smoothie. Not a mixture confusing their pure taste. No dried ones. Not in a cake or pastry.
Just fresh ... plain ... berries.
I had some frozen ones of course, from last year's garden. But somehow that wasn't what I was looking for. It was an elusive taste of FRESH that I needed, without the seeds. And then a vision of warm biscuits (scones, for you stubborn non-North American people) entered my head.
The thought combination was irresistible. Hot biscuits, a jam so fresh you'd think you pulled the berries straight off the raspberry bushes, and finally a dollop of whipped cream to top the whole thing off. So the wheels began to turn in my tortured brain, as I started to mentally put ingredients and method together. Could it work. . .?
Some things simply have to be immediate. You just do them. So what's the quickest, easiest way to cook something? The microwave of course!
Can you use it for a rapid, small batch of jam? I'm here to tell you it can do a fabulous job!
Now, I know I'll have lost my credibility, and loads of you food purists, just in the last sentence here, but I have to tell you, this is a fun way to make jam and takes you all of about 6 minutes!
And, for the food purists, the ones who believe you need the canning pot, the jars, the tops and rings, the lifter, etcetera, this is not an inspirational recipe - it's just the freshest tasting jam I've ever had.
This is how you do it...
Frozen berries - about 2 cups. You could use fresh, I'm sure, but don't squash them.
1/3 Cup sugar - You could use more possibly, if you like it sweeter, but that's what I used.
Fresh lemon or lime juice - about 1 tablespoon. I picked one of my little limes from the tree for this! It's pictured below for you in the slide show. ☺
Thaw the berries, either in the microwave (!) or just naturally, if you're that organised.
Sieve the seeds out of them if you prefer not too many. I thought it worthwhile.
Put the juice, plus lemon juice and sugar into a LARGE glass bowl. I use an 8-cup measuring pitcher. It's a worthwhile investment, 'cause you're gonna use it a lot after this!
Stir everything together and microwave about three minutes on high. You'll see the mixture boils up to considerable height in the container. That's why it has to be a large one.
Stir again, being careful to use hand-protection when you remove it from the oven.
Microwave again for another three minutes.
You want to have a syrupy consistency of the mixture at this point. If you take a metal spoon, dip it in, and look at it, your jam should just set really quickly on it, and it doesn't drip. Not all microwaves are the same. You might have try another minute.
Run your finger over the part left on the spoon. Taste. Tell me if that isn't the best jam ever!
The yield for this is about 1/2 cup. I think it would probably work in the 8-cup glass measuring pitcher if you doubled this recipe.
Some families are heavily reliant on them, others not so much. They seem to be mostly used for reheating foods and drinks.
After all these years there are still many people who view microwave ovens as dangerous appliances. So many myths abound that it is hard to dispel them.
Science seems to indicate they are safe, as long as they are used properly. I tend to be fairly open minded about microwave use, following my own personal theory about moderation being the key in matters like this.
I like microwave use particularly for vegetable cooking. I don't like it for meat. Fortunately we all have choices.
But, when you embark on some more adventurous cooking, such as this jam recipe, you realize the result is incredibly better and different to traditional tried and true jam making methods. It gives you a lot of room to ponder. Should you adopt a whole new approach to storing jars? Would it be better to have your berries stored in the freezer?
Want to know more about microwave oven facts and fallacies? Here's a really good, impartial look at the whole business!
UNWISE MICROWAVE OVEN EXPERIMENTS
To digress now, spring is definitely on the way here. The tomato buds are going to blossom any day. The honey bees are buzzing all around the spring flowers.
Here's a touch of color from my garden at the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.
See you back again on Friday for the Spin, and wishing you a safe and beautiful week...