Tint’s Ginger Tang
Thanks to Katey for the title! When I made the jam, they used the original name – boring. I decided to rename it here :)
We had a glut of courgettes… zucchini… whatever you want to call them and some of these grew Huge! I considered soup, cakes, breads and various regular dishes until I remembered that in Brazil, they often use chuchu (pronounced ‘shoe-shoe’, a very, very bland nobbly pear(ish)-shaped squash type of vegetable) as a base for jams. It’s more a filler for jam and, being bland, can lend itself to a myriad of flavours. I researched jams and found a marrow and ginger jam. “Let me try it!” I bravely announced.
This recipe is adapted from the original. With my latest batch of jam, I used the original method and ended up with a very unsatisfactory jam.
1kg marrow, peeled and seeds removed
1kg jam sugar
juice of 1 lemon
3cm piece root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Squeeze a batch of lemony goodness. If you have no jam sugar, as I didn’t have the first time, do the lemons a little ahead of time. Save the bitty bits of lemon and the pips – the pips are important. I put them in a cup. Leave them for a while. I went off, browsed blogland and forgot about them. Oops! Jam was made well into the darker night hours. You’ll notice that the pip stuff has jellified. That’s the pectin working! Pectin is what makes your jam set and can be found naturally in nature’s larder of super-sour. Squeeze the pips through a bit of muslin cloth, dish towel, strainer… whatever works for you. You want that gel out of there. I only had a fine-meshed laundry bag on hand. It worked like a charm.
Place two saucers in the fridge. Yes… just like that! Oh, and before I forget, put your freshly-washed jars and lids onto a tray and into the oven. Set your oven to low. You’re not baking the jars, just sterilising them. Of course, you could always have them boiling in a large pot on the cooker, but that, to me, is messy and one too many boiling things on the go.
Peel and chop your courgettes and ginger. I must mention here that my ginger quantity was very roughly measured and I tended to be generous with it. I love ginger. I was looking for a bit of a spicy bite to the jam.
Toss the whole lot into your jam pot. The first time I made this jam, I used a tiny regular pot. I quickly realised why a jam pot is recommended. That stuff splashes! The larger rim of the jam pot contains the splashing better than an ordinary pot. Having said that, you can happily use an ordinary pot. My first batch worked just fine with that.
The image caption talks about ‘spit and splat’, so this part comes with a warning. Shoulder-length cooking gauntlets and a mask are recommended!
The original recipe said to blend all the ingredients together first. I tried that. I didn’t like the end result, so this is my method. The first time I made this jam, I had no food processor on hand anyway. I used a hand blender.
Cook all the ingredients together on medium for 10 minutes or until your courgette is at least approaching tenderness. Turn the cooker off and blend. You get to choose how much you want to blend, be it super smooth or with bits. Let’s just say, mine had texture ;) Don’t tell anyone, but I actually just got bored with the blending towards the end. I liked the bit of texture. The bits were no bigger than pin heads, but they were there. You don’t taste the bits in the final result anyway. It cooks to a lovely creaminess.
After blending, turn your cooker up to high and cook the jam mixture at a rolling boil for 20 to 30 minutes. It looks a little like a rough sea. Be careful of those splats! Boiling jam hurts!
Now the important bit…. when to stop cooking. After about 20 minutes of cooking, I use a teaspoon to drop a little of the mixture onto a chilled saucer. Leave it for a minute or so and gently push the jam with your finger (you get to lick your finger afterward… this step is important… I mean… you need to check the flavour, right?). When it’s done, it should wrinkle and not be syrupy. If it’s not ready, carry on cooking for another 5 minutes. I test the jam every 5 minutes at this point. It keeps me out of mischief and, as I mentioned, gives me the opportunity to make absolutely sure the flavour is just right.
Take your jars out of wherever they’ve been sterilising. I grab them with a dish towel. I’m sure there must be a more efficient way to fill the jam jars, but this is what worked for me. I’d hold the jar in my one hand and pour the jam into the jar using a ladle with pouring spout. Yes, the jam pot has a spout, but knowing my tendency to accidents, no way was I going to tip that whole pot to pour! As it was, this last time I managed to splash a lot of boiling hot jam down the front of my chef’s jacket (was I glad to be wearing one of those?!) and onto my unprotected neck – instant blister and rather a lot of pain.
Carefully wipe the edge of the jars with paper towel or a very clean dish towel while the jam is still ‘wet’. I keep a bowl of water on hand and moisten the paper towel to wipe. This is just to get any stickiness off the rim of the jar before putting the lid on.
I’ve read sites where they say let the jam cool first. Others tell you to put the lids on right away. I put the lids on immediately. I like the instant gratification of seeing the ‘completed’ product and also believe in lessening the chance of any nasties getting in and spoiling the jam.
Then comes the super cool fun part – labelling! Back in Brazil, I made my own labels for my chutney. Here, they were printed for me and didn’t carry my logo… perhaps one day they will again :)
To everyone’s surprise and my relief the jam proved to be popular at the farmer’s market. When making your jam, you need to decide who you’re making it for. Some people prefer a sweeter jam. Others prefer something with more tang. Some like ginger, some don’t. I figured that, as ginger was my main flavour, I might as well make it Ginger. At the same time, you don’t want to over-spice. In the end, if you like it, it’s bound to be good, right? After all… you need to eat it too!