A new vegetable box and an abundance of carrots! Fortunately a plethora of books on preserving and came a across this interesting combination of carrot and cardamom in a jam. It is from a great little book called Jams and Chutneys - Preserving the Harvest by Thane Prince which is full of such interesting combinations: pineapple and red onion relish, melon and vanilla conserve, peach and pistachio preserve are just a few examples.
It caught my eye as the pictures looked so exotic and pretty, bright orange flecked with the cardamom seeds. Don't be afraid of jam making it really is easy and a great way to preserve the harvest or an over abundance of just about anything.
Cardamom: is from the ginger family and their are 2 species: the more common green cardamom and also black or brown cardamom. Cardamom is native to Southern India and Sri Lanka. By the first century AD Rome was importing large amounts for both cooking and as a digestive aid and breath freshener. Cardamom can be used in 2 ways: the seeds can be removed from the pod and ground or the pod is lightly bruised and used whole to infuse its unique flavour before being discarded. Most recipes that call for cardamom will mean the green cardamom. Both types are related but look and taste different.
Green Cardamom: considered to be the worlds third most expensive spice by weight after saffron and vanilla. It has a warm, pungent, slightly eucalyptus type flavour and it works well on both sweet and savoury dishes so a little bit of a superstar. Commonly used in Indian and West Asian curries, rice dishes, desserts and tea. The Scandinavians and Dutch are also fans and use it in baked goods and fruit desserts. In the Middle East it makes an appearance in Ras Al Hanout that deliciously fragrant blend of herbs and spices.
Carrot and Cardamom Jam courtesy of Jams and Chutneys - Preserving the Harvest by Thane Prince
Makes 1.5kg (3 lb)
500g (1 lb) carrots, peeled and cut in to 2cm (3/4 inch) lengths
3 lemons, finely grated zest and juice
1 orange, finely grated zest and juice
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
1 kg (2 1/4 lb) granulated sugar
125 g (4 1/2 oz) liquid pectin, or you could use pectin sugar or a sachet of jam making mix
Put the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 10 -15 minutes until tender. Drain the carrots and chop them finely. Put the carrots, lemon and orange juices and zests and cardamom seeds in a preserving pan. Add the sugar and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat and boil the mixture for 5 minutes. Add the pectin or jam making mix and return to the boil and cook for a further 2 minutes. Test for a set.
Testing for a set: as the jam reaches setting point the mixture will begin to thicken a little around the sides of the pan, will boil more sluggishly and the bubbles will "plop" rather than froth. Test after 3-5 minutes of boiling, then every 2-3 minutes until a set is shown. Always turn off the heat while you test the jam. To test for a set apply the wrinkle test. Keep a supply of plates in the fridge. Take a plate and spoon on a teaspoon of jam. Allow the jam to cool, then push it from the side with your finger. If the surface of the jam wrinkles it is ready.
Once the jam has reached setting point leave to cool for 10 minutes, then stir to distribute the carrot and cardamom seeds. Pot in to hot sterilised jars, seal and label.
It will be delicious with the freshly baked sourdough about to come out of the oven and a little cheese. Such a beautiful looking jar of jam, bright orange flecked with the little black cardamom seeds. Almost a little marmaladey with all the citrus but then you get that lovely fragrant hit of cardamom which pulls it back to the savoury spectrum. It was delicious with my fresh baked seedy sourdough, slathered with butter and a little cheese.