Tag Archives: unrefined cane sugar

Easy Home made Grape Jam

When a big bunch of store bought black grapes, was getting softer…. sooner than we could finish, my immediate thought was to make Jam. An easy home made jam again, with minimal ingredients – the fruit and unrefined sugar. The tangy grapes didn’t need lemon, either to balance the sweetness, or as a preservative. We swore to finish the bottle at the earliest. Since no preservative is added in the recipe, as usual, we stored it in the refrigerator.

Easy Grape Jam

Ingredients

  • Black grapes
  • Unrefined cane sugar

Since my aim was to utilise the grapes, before they were wasted…no measurements/quantities here. But, go by ratio – 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of juice (no water added while blending)

Getting ready

Part I

  • Cautiously remove grapes that are spoiled or with grey fungus
  • Thoroughly clean and wash the good ones
  • To disinfect the grapes, immerse in turmeric powder for 1/2 an hour
  • Wash well in running water
  • The fruit is ready to get a make over.

Part II

Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons- we need to check for consistency later by placing the jam in the chilled plate.

Part III

Sterilize bottles with lid

  1. Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
  2. Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
  3. Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
  4. Let the water come to a full boil.
  5. Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.

Method of Preparation

  1. Blend the grapes into fresh puree without water, and strain. No need to cook grapes before blending.
  2. Take a heavy bottomed pan on stove; measure and pour the puree
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of puree
  4. Let the puree and sugar cook in full flame initially
  5. You can find a foamy layer settle on top of the boiling liquid. Gently remove foam and let it simmer.
  6. Adjust burner of stove to medium and back to sim position till the liquid starts thickening
  7. At this stage, check with the plate in the freezer- swipe a spoon of jam on the plate and cut into two halves. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate when tilted, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.
  8. Pour into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.
  9. Once cooled, enjoy the goodness of grape jam, sans preservatives. Don’t forget to place in the refrigerator.

Say ‘NO’ to refined – white sugar! – Candied Walnuts with Jaggery

  

Caramel seems to be omnipresent…. be it chocolates, ice creams, milk shakes, macchiatos, puddings, cappuccinos, cakes, frostings and the list is endless. If not a weight watcher, I am certainly a health watcher. When craving (especially to indulge in sweets) takes a huge leap, I try to substitute with my favourite unrefined forms of sugar. My immediate choice is palm or sugarcane jaggery which involves dissolving and filtering from scratch. The next in line to make Urundai/Sweet Balls, I prefer raw unrefined palm or cane sugar for direct usage.

When we went to dine in this beautiful restaurant, the dessert served was vanilla ice cream with caramelized/candied walnuts. The hot, gooey, a touch of bittery sweetness in the caramel that coated crispy walnuts was truly awesome. After a while when the caramel coat hardened a bit, it was a wonderful crispy cracker. Though I relished the taste of it, the guilt of having something with white sugar hit me hard, as usual.

Hence came this recipe. I substituted jaggery with sugar. The kadalai mittai- peanut crackers, ellu mittai- sesame crackers, pori urundai- puffed rice crackers…. all native sweets of Tamilnadu, made with jaggery syrup caramelized to perfection – for the crunchy bite came to my mind. When we could make caramel popcorn with jaggery syrup, why not caramel walnuts? Yes we can. There is no butter or clarified butter to add extra calories.

  

Candied Walnuts (with jaggery syrup)
 

coated well


  

Ingredients

  • walnuts – 2 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 1 cup grated
  • water – 1/2 cup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • chukka podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp

  
Method of Preparation

  

  

  1. Dry roast walnuts until crisp –
  • Preheat oven at 350°F. Place walnuts on butter paper/cookie sheet.
  • Bake for appr. 10 minutes- couple of minutes more or less . Do keep checking frequently.

  

2. to caramelize jaggery

  • On a stove, dissolve 1 cup jaggery in 1/2 cup water
  • After jaggery has dissolved completely, strain for impurities
  • Take a hard bottomed chatti/pan, pour the filtered jaggery water
  • Add cardamom powder and dry ginger powder- cardamom for flavour and dry ginger for quick digestion
  • Let it boil until syrup consistency is reached
  • Once the liquid becomes syrupy, simmer the stove and wait for the required three string consistency or hard ball stage.

  

3. Hard Ball stage in syrup

(courtesy: http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com)
  

4. Next step is a quick and swift one – otherwise the syrup consistency would turn disastrous.

5. When the syrup is perfect hard ball consistency, drop quickly the roasted walnuts and mix well until every walnut is coated perfectly.

6. Spread on a greased plate.

7. When the walnuts are cool, they would be crisp. Store in an air tight container. They taste awesome when hot too.
  

bird’s nest with caramelized jaggery