32 Grenville Street M4Y 1A3
Pumpkins sell for $3.00 at the local supermarket.
This $3.00 pumpkin weighs 12 pounds. It needs to shed some flesh, and Iím about to help it do just that.
No, really, 12 pounds. None of that trick stuff about weighing myself holding the pumpkin and again without and performing an improper subtraction.
I use my biggest cleaver-like-knife to halve the beast; a plastic fork helps wedge the cut open making the job a little easier.
I cut monsters directly on the counter, not on a chopping-board. The chopping board can easily slip and things (including the knife) fly in all directions.
While I mention the knife, always use the sharpest knife you have; sharpen it.
With a sharp knife you use less pressure and stand LESS chance of cutting yourself.
Here is the pumpkin halved. I use a vegetable knife to cut the strings, then I scoop out the seeds.
The seeds go outside to dry. I plan on raising pumpkins next year.
I am using one quarter of the pumpkin now, the remaining three quarters sit in the bottom of the refrigerator.
My first effort at Pumpkin jam, and I start with a small manageable quantity.
I cut the quarter into smaller segments.
And into smaller-yet segments. We will be peeling the skin off the raw pumpkin, a tough job.
Narrow segments are easier to peel.
I generally eat pumpkin and squash peel, but Iím not sure what the peel would do to the jam, so I am removing the thin layer of skin.
From the pumpkin.
Next I dice the segments into chunks about 1/3 an inch thick.
Speed up the task by doubling-up on the segments and using the cleaver.
I re-weighed the chunks.
750 grams of flesh go into the pan.
I weigh out 750 grams of white sugar.
Why 750 grams? Web-based recipes quote varying proportions from 1:1 to 4;3 (less sugar).
I figure that the amount of sugar required must depend a great on the sugar content of the pumpkin, so I am starting with a 1:1 ratio on this quarter. Letís see how we go.
My tray is a croissant package lid; it weighs an even 50 grams.
Here the sugar has been poured over the diced chunks.
I will leave it to marinate overnight.
Into the vermicomposter .
The Next Morning
The sugar has dissolved into the flesh (sounds like another failed dieting plan).
The odd image above is a photograph taken into the shiny stainless steel pan.
The pumpkin chunks are visible in a sea of liquid sugar. The reflection around the inside of the pan gives a weird view.
At 7:00 a.m. I start the pot on a low heat (2/10 on my stove top).
Here is a poorly-focused shot of the chunks-in-syrup waiting to be pureed at very low speed in the blender.
Even with a poor focus the chunks are visible. The liquor is clear.
I made about two liters of puree, and poured it into a solid-base saucepan for a slow rise-to-boil.
After four hours much water had boiled off; note the lower level in the pan compared to the previous image.
Into six small jars it goes, sterilize for an hour, and then out to cool on the balcony.
In the foreground you can see a snake of bubbles as the jar cools, pressure drops, and so does the boiling point. More water vapor escapes, condense, the pressure drops ... and so we get a vacuum seal.
A close-up view of a bubble-snake.
I tried to get a shot of a large bubble; failed.
But what a lovely color for jam!
Here are my six jars, cooling off to room temperature outside (today about 17c)
Toronto, Friday, August 14, 2015 1:02 PM
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