Monday, 14 October 2013

Black prunes, raisin and almonds jam

It is a weird event in Casola Valsenio in the hills over Imola (where the Formula 1 used to race); because we celebrate small forgotten fruits whose names are jujubes, cooking pears, kakhis, chestnuts, and elderberries.
Casola is a village with a little centre and a lot of stone houses and farms scattered in the hills.
For the fair farmers prepare cheeses, cakes, mushrooms, preserves, jams and sell their late fruits, most of them growing wild in the corner of orchards or by the river and sell them to the public. A true feast to find old flavors, old traditions, and old recipes. For more information please have a look at
How could I not be part of that?

My quantities are not large of course, but I only make jams you will not find in supermarkets, using very fresh, ripe fruits from the orchard.
Here is one of my best, using very ripe sweet black prunes. It keeps well one year, always remember to put a nice label with expiry date, but it will not last that long!

Makes 5 glass jars 250 grs

1800 grs/ 4 lbs dark prunes
1100 grs./ 2.5 lbs. Sugar
200 gr./0.5 lb Raisins
100 gr. 5 oz peeled almonds (cut into pieces)
4 tb spoons rum (if you like)

How to:

1)     Wash the fruits thoroughly and divide into halves to take the pit off.
2)     Put  the fruit and the raisin in a heavy, large pan with half a glass of water, take it to the boil, and cook until the prunes are soft and the black skin dissolves, revealing  a beautiful ruby colour.

3)     Wash the glass jars and new lids in hot soapy water, dry them with a tea towel and put all of them in the oven at 100°C for 15 min.
4)     Now add the sugar and mix well to dissolve it. Bring to the boil again.
5)     After 20min try if it is ready: a drop of jam on a cold surface should make a round spot which becomes stiff and sticky when cold. Add the almonds, stir well and let it boil for about 30 seconds, then put the rum in and mix again. It’s ready! Turn the heat to low.
6)     Pour the jam in the hot jars, close them well with the lids and let it rest upside down to sterilise the lids until the jam is cold.
7)     Put a nice label with content and expiry date (home made preserves last about 1 year if stored in a dark cool place)
8)     Enjoy them in your morning yogurt, on crepes or with bread and butter!

Tip: Always use new lids, while the glass jars, if well washed and dried, can be re-used many times.

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