Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Jam Plan

So the plan for the adult favours was to make little pots of green jam which would also double up as place names and look nice on the tables adding another splash of green.  Mum, with her amazing stationary skills, made the tags to tie onto each jar (and kiddies party bags).  We designed them on cream card in the shape of luggage tags with some amazing glittery green card I found in The Art Store in Glasgow to add some sparkle.  Mum then printed all the names onto more cream card and punched out a dragonfly to let the green glitter show through.  She finished them off with 4 little olive green crystals in the corners.  We tied them to the jars using green raffia I found in Retif Glasgow.  Mum also made me the green organza circles for the tops of the jars.  I sent her rolls of organza from Country Baskets and she used her Cricut machine which saved hours of circle cutting and ensured they were all uniform!  Nik printed the jam labels from his computer using a Word template for the circular labels and we stuck these on the lids.

Tying the name tags onto the jars

Organising the Jars into the 15 boxes for each table
Now for the jam itself, I spent literally hours scouring the internet for nice but unusual jam recipes that would turn out green!  My initial plan was to use green tomatoes and make jam for the ladies and chutney for the men.  However, it seems chutney always comes out brown so I started looking at alternatives.  I found some pickle and relish recipes that might have worked and a delicious looking bright green tomato and cilantro chutney which is nice served with Dahl (ideal!!) but then Nik noticed it wasn't a preserve so would need to be kept in the fridge and wouldn't last long.  I eventually found a yummy sounding Green Tomato Jam with Ginger and Vanilla which also seemed to keep it's green colour and not turn yellow or brown in the cooking as many of the photos I found showed!  That was the plan for the girls and in the end I found a Spicy Green Chilli Jam recipe for the guys!  (I did also find an unusual Courgette and Ginger Jam but was unable to get it to set despite making 2 batches and trying extra pectin so the less said about that one the better, although Dad did like it runny on his toast!)

Courgette & Ginger Jam cooking

Orcio Jars

Jarring the Jams

The next step was to find green tomatoes.  I thought about growing my own but after our limited success at growing herbs on our windowsill (only the chives seem to survive!) I decided it was best not to try!  We asked our local fruit & veg shop and they told us it would be no problem to get them so we went back in May to order some and were given a day to come back when the delivery would be in.  Unfortunately, there were only a couple of green tomatoes in each box, they just thought we wanted very unripe tomatoes and not specifically still green.  We decided we might be best going direct to the fruit market ourselves at Blochairn.

Nik went one morning on his way to work as it's only open from 3am to 10am.  He was told to come back at the end of May/beginning of June as that is the season for green chutney tomatoes and we would get them easily then.  Unfortunately when he went back at the start of June, there was no such thing and we just ended up doing what we would have done back in April/May when we first wanted to start making the jams.  So, Nik and Mum (who had gone with him while I was at work) found a seller who could get green tomatoes as he orders them for a guy from Shetland who wants them to last and ripen slowly as he has so far to go.  He said we could have some of those boxes but they only come in on certain days.  He asked how green we wanted them, Mum said as green as possible, he said Celtic green? and she said Yes!  Sounded perfect, but unfortunately when they went back a 3rd time to get them, it was much the same as we had originally found at the fruit and veg shop!!  By this time we were really running out of time to make the jams as we now only had a month 'til the wedding so Nik bought them anyway.

The green/greenish ones out of 4 crates!
The remaining 'green' tomatoes!

I managed to pick out enough green ones (or slice off enough green bits) to get one batch of true green tomato jam.  We made one more double batch with the remaining 'turning red' tomatoes which turned out a more orangey colour so I cheated and put a few drops of green food colouring in and it worked pretty well actually and gave us a natural looking if a bit dark colour.  As this recipe was the one that took the longest to make (around 3-4 hours per batch including chopping and de-seeding time - special thanks to MIL for helping with that!) and it gave the least bounty so we STILL didn't have enough for all the girls, I decided everyone else could have the chilli jam since that one actually did come out more yellowy green and was much quicker and easier to make!  (Excellent use of my last birthday present from Nik - my fabulous food processor!!!)  We gave the Tomato Jam to everyone we thought wouldn't like the spicy one or who really likes sweet things.

My Jam Station!

Chopping those chillies!
All the batches on the go!

Cooking up Tomato and Chilli Jams!

Chilli Jam cooking

Chilli Jam cooked
My Chilli Jams :)


Post Wedding Update:

Nazlie's photo of her jam with extra chillies!




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