This little experiment came about due to the large amount of cardamom pods that we have in the house, the result of a thoughtful gift. After some searching through our recipes for cardamom related ideas, we decided first to have a go at a preserve from the Thane Prince book that we’ve mentioned before. The carrot and cardamom jam intrigued us as it seemed to be an interesting combination of flavours and an unusual type of preserve to test.
The idea of using carrots in a sweet recipe isn’t unusual, for instance as the main ingredient in carrot cake but I’d never tried it in a jam before. However, the introduction to this recipe says, ‘serve this spicy jam with wholemeal toast and Cheddar cheese’ so it sounds rather more in the vein of a complement to savoury foods than a tea time jam (rather like cranberry jelly).
The method is straightforward, though we discovered that getting the cardamom seeds out of the pots is fiendishly fiddly. Fortunately the recipe only calls for one tablespoon of seeds (that still leaves a rather large jar full to use up) so we weren’t quite driven to distraction over the operation. Much easier was peeling and cutting up the carrots, which you boil until tender and then chop finely. I wasn’t sure whether you were supposed to leave the carrots to cool before chopping them, so rather than attempting to chop hot carrots I snipped then up with kitchen scissors which seemed to work.
The next stage is to put into a pan the chopped carrots with the juice and zest of lemon and oranges, sugar and the famous cardamom seeds. So far so good, I was surprised that no liquid apart from the fruit juices was added to the recipe but once the sugar had dissolved, the mixture had a nice consistency. You need to add pectin to this jam to enable it to set. I suppose you could try instead to make a carrot and apple preserve, but I don’t feel confident enough yet to meddle with jam recipes. After adding the pectin, you return the mixture to the boil for two more minutes, then you test for a set. If all’s well you’re well on the way to having an unusual jam to try on your toast.
I am pleased to report that we had setting success, then we left the mixture to stand for ten minutes as instructed. The idea is that once the mixture begins to set a little, you stir it to ensure the carrot and cardamom is evenly distributed before bottling. That didn’t quite work out according to plan and I would have preferred a better distribution, but perhaps I would leave the mixture a little longer another time.
We haven’t yet opened our jars, though we did taste as we went along. According to the book, this jam will keep for a year, but I don’t think it will linger on our shelves for that long.
Keep an eye out for our next preserving project and let us know if you have any favourite preserving recipes or can recommend any books.
Now, I’m off to butter some toast….