I'm not talking about my driving even though I am the type of driver who generally uses the slow lane, I'm talking about how I am feeling generally. I am a blood donor and on my most recent visit, I was unable to donate due to low iron levels which would go someway to explaining my lack of energy of late. The low iron levels also meant a trip to the doctor, my first since Hope was born 11 years ago (I really am quite healthy) and no surprise, more blood tests done. Now it is just a waiting game and I am due back to discuss the results next Wednesday though I have been assured that it isn't too urgent. Which isn't reassuring at all. In the mean time, I am doing what I do, slower and with a lot less enthusiasm.
Today I made Rosella Jam. Making jam is very much a slow food process especially if you grow the fruit first. On this occasion, I did not grow the fruit. I got to chatting with someone from Grafton about their rosella flowers (my plants didn't enjoy the conditons here this summer) and next thing, I am in possession of a rather large bag of rosella. I don't need any for tea right now and these were luscious and just perfect for jam making. The eight finger limes I walked away with too were even more of a highlight.
Most of the jams I make are simple fruit jams that don't require too much more than the fruit and some sugar. Rosella jam does take a bit longer than say blackberry jam but it does have a slight tartness to it that is pleasant and is definitely worth the effort. It is also a jam that you won't find everywhere perhaps only at market stalls or in more gourmet stores. I'm fairly sure it isn't available on your regular supermarket shelf.
To make the jam, the first step is to wash the fruit in cold water.
Then separate the calyx and the seed pod.
The red fleshy part of the fruit is the calyx and can be peeled away from the green seed pods. The seed pods go into a saucepan and are covered with water and simmered for about 10-15 minutes until translucent and soft. This releases some pectin to help set the actual jam.
The strained liquid from the seed pods is pored into a saucepan with the calyces and simmered until they are very soft. Measure the pulp and add sugar on a 1:1 ratio. That is 1 cup of sugar for every cup of pulp.
Stir the sugar pulp mixture over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil. Allow to boil until the mixture reaches setting point.
To test for setting point, chill a saucer in the freezer and then when the jam has been boiling for about 10 minutes, place a teaspoon of the jam on the saucer. After it cools, push your finger through the jam and if it makes a clean line throught the jam, it is most likely set. (Although what is happening is very much a result of science and chemical reactions, home jam making is definitely no science and there isn't any guarantee that what happens in one kitchen will work in another).
Once the jam has reached setting point, bottle it into hot sterilised jars and seal.
Make some scones, whip some cream and enjoy.
Creamed honey is next on my slow food to do list.