Alright, it’s time to get jammy. You can use whatever fruit you like here, but since it’s the tip of winter, I’m using quince, though a marmalade made of citrus would be nice. In spring/summer berries and stonefruit can also sub in.
Personally, I’m not a fan of jam and much prefer the savoury foods life has to offer, so quince is a great compromise as it makes a nice addition to cheese boards or cooked into a lamb braise for a subtle sweet note.
Making jam can be quite a hassle with all that stirring and bubbling of hot sugar, so with a cheeky grin I’ve called on the old faithful slow cooker to take care of the hard work here.
The amount of fruit and sugar you choose to add are flexible, just remember, sugar is a preservative so the less you add the shorter the shelf-life of your jam. A fresh fruit jam with very little sugar will only keep a week or two in the fridge, while something with cups and cups of it (like this one) will keep for months. Quince also needs more sugar than most fruit as it’s naturally quite sour.
Making the jam
You’ll need fruit, lemon juice for pectin, sugar and any spices you desire. I used 4 medium-sized quinces, 1 lemon, 2 cups of sugar and 8 cardamom pods.
Peel, core and slice the quince into bite-size pieces. Because they won’t break down as much (it’s quince, and also you’re not stirring it for hours), make sure they’re in pleasantly-sized bits.
Add everything to the slow cooker, cover with 2 cups of water and set on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 if you want to make this during the day/speed things up. If the fruit isn’t covered you can add a little more water but you may have to reduce the mix on the stove before canning.
For fruits with a shorter cook time like berries and stonefruit, shave two hours off each window e.g. low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-4.
Just to note, my slow cooker runs on the cooler side and so I ended up leaving it on high for 10 hours. I would certainly adjust this to suit your optimum slow cooking temperature.
The bright, pale fruit will turn a deep mauve colour and the pieces will be tender but hold together. I took to the pot with a potato masher to break up the bits before spooning into sterilised jars, but you can leave them as-is if you like a chunkier jam/prefer to use the fruit for topping porridge or desserts.
Enjoy on toast, with a cheese plate, on your porridge, baked into sweets or spooned over ice cream.
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