Tuesday, June 22, 2010

kiwifruit jam

A friend of mine has a huge triffid-like kiwifruit vine strangling everything within reach, on an empty section he owns. He very kindly gave me and my gleaning ways, the full go ahead to help myself to them whenever the time was right. So, for the last six weeks I have been eagerly checking up on the ripening process, squeeze testing them and hoping to sense some softness. The birds finally let me know when they were ready and that wasn't until after we had a few frosts and the vine had dropped most of its leaves. I guess they are like some grape varieties and they need the frost to concentrate the sugars inside. It certainly looks a lot like a grape vine...on steroids!
They are best picked when they are still a tad firm, as they will ripen quickly in the fruit bowl at home ...nothing worse then having over ripe kiwifruit, which aren't too good for anything once they start to taste fizzy and alcoholic. If you have a lot that are ready all at once, they are quite nice frozen for sorbets and smoothies and slushy ice blocks for the kids.
I was a bit dubious about the idea of cooking with kiwifruit - it seems sacrilegious, but I quite like the idea of trying a kiwifruit cake and muffins for school lunches etc. I also read about fresh kiwifruit as an accompaniment to a curry which sounds delicious. I was however, completely sold on the idea of trying out kiwifruit jam and I'm so glad I did.
The recipe is basically the same one from this book, but I omitted the oranges that were recommended in favour for four lemons which I had on hand.
It goes a little something like this...
2 oranges
2 lemons (or 4 lemons as I did)
1.4 kg kiwifruit
6 cups sugar
Peel skins off citrus with a peeler and place peel in a piece of muslin tied with string.
Squeeze the juice form citrus into a preserving pan and add to this the peeled and chopped kiwifruit and the muslin bag. Cook gently on low until kiwifruit is tender. Add the sugar and stir continuously until dissolved. Boil until setting point is reached. Pour into warm jars and seal with jam covers.
I am a jammer. I love making jams. Previously pear and ginger was my favourite ...or grandmas raspberry jam. But now it's kiwifruit jam. Seriously divine. The lemons weren't dominating. The kiwis can hold their own. My taste buds were dancing and I can't wait for breakfast.