Seductively delicious desserts made from berries and fruits with added sugar are familiar to every sweet tooth. Most often they are boiled from traditional apples, raspberries or currants, but there are also exotic options in the stores, such as mango, pineapple or rose petals. Some housewives surprise guests with pine cone jam or cucumber jam.
Surprisingly, marmalade, jam or jam are not always used as independent desserts. For example, variants of cranberries and lingonberries perfectly play the role of sauces to meat dishes. Jam - a delicious sweet filling for a variety of baking. Berry and fruit gravy will emphasize the taste of cottage cheese casserole and cheesecakes.
The geography of these popular sweets is also extensive. In English-speaking countries, jam is preferred, especially its classic orange version. The French love a variety of confitures. Among the Slavic peoples traditionally distributed jam. Its popularity is so high that in Romania, the Czech Republic, Croatia even arrange festivals where you can find the most incredible varieties: garlic, eggplant, carrot.
However, not everyone can distinguish between jam and jam from marmalade or jam.
What dessert is called jam?
It is believed that the jam was invented by the Hellenes, who digested the mythological “golden apples” (quince) in honey. Later, this recipe underwent some changes, and in the honey syrup they began to prepare traditional apples, plums and pears, as well as more exotic lemons or rose petals. The eastern version of this sweetness, closer to the modern one, appeared much earlier. In Persia, sugar was added to fruit instead of honey; however, they used jam as a sauce, flavoring it with lots of different spices.
Today, the classic version of jam is obtained by boiling berries or pieces of fruit with sugar. At the same time, the sweet syrup should remain transparent and sufficiently liquid, and the fruits should not lose their shape.
In the manufacture of jam traditionally follow several immutable rules:
- Select exclusively ripe and intact fruits containing a high concentration of natural acids and sugars.
- For better preservation, the sugar content in the syrup should be at least 70%.
- In order to preserve the shape of berries or fruits, jam is not allowed to boil for a long time, boiling down the syrup in several stages, stirring only by shaking the dishes.
- It is preferable to use low and wide stainless steel or aluminum utensils for making jam. In such tanks, the evaporation of excess moisture goes faster and the syrup does not burn.
- In the finished jam, the fruits become transparent and evenly distributed throughout the volume, and the syrup becomes viscous after cooling.
- A well-cooked dessert will not sugar, and will be stored for a long time without losing taste, even at room temperature.
How the “correct” jam is prepared
One of the legends says that jam owes its appearance to the practical Scottish girl Janet, who once boiled a hot orange dessert, adding sugar to them. Since then, jam with too thick syrup and boiled soft berries or fruit has been called jam. The technology of making sweets has a few secrets.
- Even slightly wrinkled and damaged fruits are suitable for it. The main thing is that they contain as much as possible pectin substances that provide the desired viscosity. To do this, sometimes even slightly ripe fruit is sometimes added to the prepared product.
- Best suited for making plum jam, apples or quince, which are blanched beforehand and then cooked until ready in sugar syrup.
- You should always start cooking at a high temperature in order to quickly get rid of excess water. The following cooking steps take place on the slowest fire to prevent burning.
- For the same purpose, you should always use wide tanks made of stainless steel or aluminum.
- The readiness of the jam is determined when it reaches the necessary consistency: the cooled mass should not flow from the spoon, but fall into pieces.
Confiture - a relative of jam
If on the shores of foggy Albion they prefer a uniformly thick sweet mass, then on the other side of the English Channel, in France, they fell in love with a more tender, jelly variant, which preserved the shape of the fruit intact. The first confitures were made from quince, apricots and apples. For better gelling, the French began to add gelatin, and for intense coloring - berry juice.
To properly prepare the confiture, you should know a few basic nuances of the process:
- For cooking, you can take fresh or frozen fruits and berries, peeled and pre-blanched.
- By boiling the fruit in sugar syrup, a thickener is added to the mass. Usually in this role agar-agar or gelatin.
- To improve the flavor, confitures are often flavored with vanilla or citric acid.
- In order to avoid sticking of the sweet mass, it is necessary to mix it regularly. This should not be done with a spoon, but with the help of the rotation of the dishes, otherwise the pieces of fruit or berries will lose their shape.
- Confiture from tender and small fruits is prepared in one brew, and from denser and larger ones they are boiled repeatedly, allowing to cool completely in the intervals.
- The confiture is fully prepared if the pieces of fruit are evenly distributed throughout the mass.
Jam - a delicacy originally from Poland
The name “jam” has a Polish origin, since it was there that more than a century ago they knew how to boil the pulp of a Hungarian plum for a long time without adding sugar, and then bake it in the oven. Such sweetness could be stored in the cellar for several years.
Now jam is also prepared using fruits chopped to a mashed potatoes. In the modern version of the dessert must add sugar and, if desired, citric acid and various spices (cloves, cinnamon and others). Properly cooked jam - very sweet, thick and homogeneous. To make it happen that way, you should know some secrets of cooking:
- Not only ripe, but also overripe, damaged and crumpled, but not spoiled, fruits are quite suitable for the jam.
- To get fruit puree, fruits are peeled and blanched (more dense fruits are boiled), then passed through a meat grinder or rubbed through a sieve or colander.
- For cooking, always use a wide dish so that the liquid evaporates more intensively.
- To prevent burning, a thick mass is continuously stirred using a wooden spatula. This process is traumatic, since the boiling mixture is highly splashing and can cause burns.
- The readiness of the jam is easy to determine - it is enough to hold the spatula along the bottom of the pan. If the resulting “path” is filled slowly, then the dessert is completely ready.
Is there any benefit from a sweet treat?
If we talk about the safety of beneficial vitamins and elements contained in the original berries or fruits, then the maximum amount of them remains, of course, in the jam. Everyone knows that raspberry delicacy is indispensable for fever, viburnum helps reduce pressure, and apple dessert improves the functioning of the stomach and intestines. This is especially true for five-minute jams, where substances that are valuable to health are subjected to minimal heat treatment, and therefore are less destroyed. Other varieties of sweet desserts: jams, marmalades and jam - due to long and aggressive processing, they lose almost all the value of the raw materials.
In addition, lovers of jam and its derivatives should be aware that the use of this delicacy in excessive quantities can adversely affect health: it will increase blood glucose levels and create additional stress on the pancreas.