A Failed Experiment

If something doesn’t work out, like an experiment, is it truly a failure?

On the Jammin’ front, this week, I thought that I would try something new! Now, you know that pectin from apples is at the heart and the purity of ‘Dadda’s Jam’, so I thought that I would see how much pectin was in ‘pressed apple juice’! Worth investigating I thought! Pectin is one of those things that is really quite difficult to quantify. Well, this was my experiment, simple but rewarding in information. One litre of pressed, cloudy apple juice, store purchased, lemon juice and one kilogram of sugar. I also had 300 grams of apple pulp to add if things didn’t work out!

I have kind of worked out that as much moisture should be removed from fruit pulp as possible, or if this is not possible, the ratio of apple pulp should be higher in order to produce a well set jam! I hope that this makes sense? I also stated earlier that experiments are key to moving forward in the art of preserves. Old fashioned jam making insisted on long cooking times, producing in my mind, over cooked, Jammy tasting results. Twenty minutes is a perfectly safe cooking time to produce fresh tasting results. Also, do remember that lemon juice is key in all jam making. It supplies extra pectin for your Jams even though it is a liquid ingredient.

Okay the experiment! I boiled the litre of juice with the kilo of sugar and 50ml of lemon juice for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming the top every now and then for foam and any impurities. The cloudy colour of the juice becomes a golden amber. The outcome was a lovely tasting apple syrup, disappointing maybe, so my plan b was to add the 300 grams of apple pulp. I cooked for a further fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally and finally I strained the liquid, removing the pulp for use in another aspiration, fruit pastilles. The apple jelly showed some sign of gelling, but I was still in two minds, so I poured it into a stainless steel bowl and refrigerated it overnight. The next day I noted that there was a very soft set. My experiment had been a failure. And failure is fine – it’s the learning curve on the way to finding perfection, isn’t it?

Due to the fact that I am out of jam jars, this experiment is now in a freezer bag and sat in the freezer. Part two of this story to follow soon.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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