Over-Achiever Jam: One more thing to do with zucchini

8 09 2009
Zucchinis
Image by Vanessa Pike-Russell via Flickr

It’s happened again. Every summer — hot, cold, rainy, dry — those green thumb masters begin showing up at work and at my door with arms full of the garden equivalent of a computer virus: zucchini

Zucchini is relentless. You think you’re on top of your crop and then o.m.g., you discover anarchy in the left corner of the patch. You realize that you have stumbled on the vegetable equivalent of a Louisville Slugger, the baseball bat of the garden, zucchini gone wild.

There are several solutions — shred it and freeze it for winter muffins, make soup, cut it into chunks and make bread and butter pickles. When my neighbor gifted me with six zucchini, all over 10 inches long, I thought about all of those options. But then this recipe showed up in one of my search feeds, and it was such a crazy idea that I couldn’t resist.

The boiled zest and juice are cooling in the refrigerator for lime marmalade and lime curd and that will take a day. Meanwhile, here’s a slightly crazy-sounding solution for over-achieving zucchini that comes together very quickly. The gelatin in the recipe helps it set up quickly, and gives the beautiful jars of jam a jewel-like glow. I did find one recipe that suggested this jam could be processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, but most treat it as a freezer jam. Since I was using peach jam and wanted more savory fruit-chipotle spread, I added a teaspoon of pureed chiptole to the recipe, with great results.

Hang onto your hats, jammers; this freezer jam doesn’t follow any of the rules!

Zucchini (Peach*) Jam (with Chipotle)

(adapted from a recipe at The Family Homestead)
3 cups peeled, shredded zucchini
3 cups sugar
1 (12 oz. ) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, pureed (optional)
1 (3 oz) box peach* gelatin

  • Peel zucchini, remove any seeds and shred. Add the shredded zucchini to a large stockpot.
  • Cook on low heat until zucchini comes to a boil; stirring often (about 20 minutes.)
  • Once zucchini comes to a boil, continue boiling and stirring over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, sugar, pineapple and juice, and chipotle if using the hot pepper. Cook over medium heat; stirring constantly for 10 minutes more.
  • Remove pan from heat. Add the box of gelatin; stir for 1 minute.
  • Ladle jam into sterilized containers. If freezing, leave 1/2 inch headspace.
  • If processing, use jars and rings suitable for boiling-water baths. Boil half pint jars for 5 minutes and pint jars for 10 minutes.
  • Yield: Makes 5 cups (five 8-0z. jars) of jam.

* other gelatin flavors also work: apricot, any berry, cherry, lemon, orange or lime. Use regular flavored gelatin, NOT sugar-free or artificially sweetened. The sugar in the jam helps with the gelling.

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