Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tigress Can Jam - carroty sweetness

The CanJam food for February is carrots, and it is still too cold to leave the windows open. While I'd be willing to try pickling, and am surely going to have many opportunities this year, I'd rather not fill Acorn Cottage with the scent of boiling vinegar. I'm not much of a pickle-eater, so I wondered if maybe there was some other kind of thing I could make from carrots that didn't need pressure canned...
How about jam?!?
well maybe not this jam...

After a lot of online searching, a visit to the World Carrot Museum, and some time in the preserving section of the cookbook aisles at Powells, I came up with two possibilities, both from the current edition of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

My first attempt was a carrot marmalade. In the book it is listed as "Morning Cheer Marmalade" (p.101). I followed the recipe fairly closely, only adding a bit of nutmeg and saffron to the spices, and rather than adding Scotch whiskey as a final flavoring, I added two teaspoons of orange flower water. My idea was to push the flavoring more in the direction of India and the Near East, since last month gave my larder quite a few jars of more "traditional" marmalade. I also cut the recipe in half, and where there were quantities that were difficult to halve, I "rounded up" in favor of the more acidic ingredients. (half of five oranges - three; half the tart apple - just use the whole apple, okay)

Celestial Carrot Marmalade
1/4 t whole allspice
3" piece stick cinnamon, broken to pieces
a few small chunks of nutmeg, about 1/8 t
3 oranges
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated
2 c finely grated carrots
3/4 c water
1 good pinch of saffron
2 c sugar
1/4 c bottled lemon juice
2 t orange flower water
Put the spices in a muslin bag. I've some that were originally intended for brewing tea, but they are very useful in the preserving kettle, I also put all the seeds from the oranges in one (orange seeds are full of pectin). Then peeled the oranges, trying for mostly the orange part, and slivered the orange peel into tiny shreds. Cut away the white part of the oranges, then cut the segments free from their membrane. I did this over a flexible cutting board and was able to easily pour the excess juice into the pan with the other ingredients (carrots, apple, water, and spices). At this point it was really late at night, so I put it all in the fridge till the next day...

Bring it all to a boil, and cook gently for about 15 minutes, then add in the lemon juice, and the sugar (and the saffron). Start to boil it hard at this point, and I also took out the spices and the bag of seeds, since it would be inconvenient to have them catching on the stirring spoon. The mixture is smelling wonderful now. Boiled hard for over thirty minutes before there was any sign of it becoming anything other than tasty shreds in syrup. (usual test on frozen saucer). Once it seemed ready, turned off the burner, stirred in the orange flower water, and ladled into the prepared jars. Processed for 10 minutes as per the recipe - makes three 8 oz jars + a few spoonfuls (Note: flavor is superb and not noticeably "carroty", texture is very sticky, more like candied fruit than what I think of as marmalade...)
~ : ♥ : ~
Carrot Cake Conserve on left,
Celestial Carrot Marmalade on right

~ : ♥ : ~

The other one, from the same book, is "Carrot Cake Jam" (p. 39). The mere mention of this jam had a very positive response from a great variety of my friends and acquaintances, so... Once again a half recipe, and the only changes I made were to not include cloves (I think cloves are nasty)and to use Pomonas Universal Pectin which allowed me to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe from 3 1/4 c to 2 c.

Carrot Cake Conserve*
3/4 c finely grated carrots
3/4 c chopped cored peeled pears
1 c canned pineapple, including juice
1 1/2 T canned lemon juice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
added pectin, 2 1/2 t + 1 t calcium water
2 c sugar
1/3 c chopped pecans
Mix powdered pectin completely in with the sugar. Put everything (fruits and juices, spices, and calcium water) except pectin/sugar and pecans in a good sized pan and bring to a boil. cook for five minutes, or until pear bits are softened. Stir in pectin/sugar and boil, stirring constantly till clear and thickened about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pecans and ladle int the prepared jars. Processed for 10 minutes - makes four 8 oz jars. (Note: if I make this one again I'll try using less of the added pectin, as this quantity makes a very firm set. This was my first attempt using added pectin, and there is a bit of a learning curve. I'm thinking that this recipe might also be good with a lot less added sugar, perhaps mixed with applesauce instead...)

I brought a jar of this to a potluck last week, to spread on the top of a plain vanilla home-baked sponge cake, served with some unsweetened whipped cream alongside. Rave reviews and a demand that I "make more jam"...

* as far as I can tell, a conserve is a more "texture-y" kind of preserve, with dried fruit, or nuts, added.


  1. I have only "made" freezer jam but you make me want to make marmalade YUM !!!

  2. The added step of water bath canning does take some extra time and equipment, but it means that my freezer space is more available for things I can't preserve safely that way. I didn't learn to can until I was in my forties, but it sure is useful...and tasty! Just be careful to use current up to date information, as some of the older methods are not as "food safe"

  3. I also made the Carrot Cake Jam from the Ball Book, and I think it is FANTASTIC! I did reduce the sugar amount, too (used only 3 cups instead of 6 1/2). I'm not much of a pickle eater, either, so I was kind of disappointed when I read this month's focus was carrots. But then I found recipes for carrot jams, and was happy. I also made a Persian carrot jam - very yummy, too.

  4. Hi - looks great! I made a Veitnamese Carrot Daikon pickle:

    I don't like to use factory made pectin - if you want to try to experiment by making your own pectin, I'd recommend the techniques described in the Ball Complete book...I posted about it here. and here

    and also Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber...

  5. Alison - what is a good starter book for canning ? My kids eat the freezer jam like water so it's not around long but there are other things I would like to try to can - but I do fear poisoning everyone !

  6. Patty - For a good thorough basic book, I'd go with either the "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving" mentioned/linked in my post, or "So Easy To Preserve" which is published by the National Center For Home Food Preservation* (Get current editions, as safety information has changed over time, and some older books recommend things that are no longer considered appropriate) I was nervous when I first started canning, but if you are careful, and cleanly, it is safe,tasty, and frugal.

    ap269 - I'm gong to go read about your Persian carrot jam, sounds delicious!

    Mom's Kitchen - Thanks for the links to how to make your own pectin... I'd like to experiment with this and see how it would work with some of these jams - doesn't using the whole lemon make the taste a bit bitter? I've also seen that some people make a pectin concentrate jelly from green apples which I'd like to try sometime...

  7. Great post! You did such a great job with this month ~ I was so uninspired, this post is a shot in the arm! They look so yummy! I was given carrot cake jam last year ~ it was great on baked brie, and mixed with cream cheese as a dip.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!