Wild Meadow Flowers, Buttery Brioche & Traditional Greengage Jam Recipe

 


Wild Meadow Flowers

A gentle walk in the country, picking flowers and enjoying the cooler weather but also the sunshine……meadows filled with wild flowers and an old wall covered in fragrant honeysuckle……poppies, cornflowers, millet, lady’s mantle, clover and daisies…….and then a tree laden with greengages!  Now, there’s a plum that evokes memories of bread scented kitchens, warm log fires, giant “Brown Betty” teapots and cups of sweet, milky tea…….an old scrubbed table and my grandmother coaxing a batch of jam to setting point, before potting it in old heavy based jam jars with cellophane covers.


Wild Meadow Flowers, Buttery Brioche & Traditional Greengage Jam Recipe

A quick chat with a neighbour revealed the owner of the greengage tree, and once permission was granted, I rushed home to bring back some bags and baskets for frantic greengage picking. Half an hour later, I walked back home with a few kilos of these fabulous late summer fruits and many recipes dancing through my head. Jam was to be made with them, and then maybe a rustic tray bake with an almond drizzle icing……or, maybe I could cook them with some local pork chops for a fruity spin on a family favourite – sticky one-pan chops, there were enough greengages to fulfil all my recipe ideas, but, JAM was definitely on the menu first.


Wild Meadow Flowers, Buttery Brioche & Traditional Greengage Jam Recipe

A plum by any other name, greengages made their début appearance in the UK in 1724, when Sir William Gage, the 7th Baronet of Hengrave Hall near Bury St Edmunds, imported some of the plum trees to England from France; the story is that some were lost in transit and the name was taken from the accompanying labels on the trees, “Green Gage”. Greengages are called Reine Claude (or Reine Claude Verte) in France and they were originally bred in Moissac, France from a green fruited wild plum (Canerik) which originated from Asia Minor.  Whatever the name of these small greenish-yellow plums, I love them and always look forward to eating them when they are in season.


Wild Meadow Flowers, Buttery Brioche & Traditional Greengage Jam Recipe

Today’s recipe, which was made and enjoyed on buttery toasted brioche for breakfast the other day, is my version of Vivien Lloyd’s classic recipe for Greengage Jam as published in her book First PreservesVivien suggests adding some of the kernels (from the stones of the greengages) to the jam, this helps with the set (I sometimes follow this method myself when making apricot conserve or jam), but I decided to tweak the recipe slightly by adding the juice of a lemon to my jam, which is what my grandmother used to do when she made greengage jam; with greengages picked from a country lane in Northumberland where she and my grandfather used to live.


Greengage Jam

Now is the time for preserving, late summer yields a wonderful variety of fruit and vegetables, and what better way to enjoy them throughout the drear winter months then to preserve them. Look out for several more of my preserves recipes over the next few weeks, such as Mirabelle Jam, and Mirabelle Chutney, as well as Peach Chutney and Green Bean Relish….I already have a plethora of wonderful preserves and jam recipes on Lavender and Lovage, so do take a peek here: Lavender and Lovage PreservedThat’s all for today, I’ll be back soon with more recipes, reviews and general culinary chat, have a great day and see you next time, Karen 


Greengage Jam

Greengage Jam

A delightful and traditional recipe for greengage jam that I have adapted slightly from Vivien Lloyd’s classic recipe in her book First Preserves. Greengages are small and oval-shaped with a yellow to green coloured flesh and they make a fabulous jam with a pretty colour. They are medium in pectin level and that’s why I add the juice of a lemon (if I don’t add the kernels to the jam), as based on my grandmother’s greengage jam recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1.4kg (3lbs) greengages
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) water
  • 1.4kg (3lbs) granulated sugar

Optional

Note

A delightful and traditional recipe for greengage jam that I have adapted slightly from Vivien Lloyd’s classic recipe in her book First Preserves. Greengages are small and oval-shaped with a yellow to green coloured flesh and they make a fabulous jam with a pretty colour. They are medium in pectin level and that’s why I add the juice of a lemon (if I don’t add the kernels to the jam), as based on my grandmother’s greengage jam recipe.

Directions

Step 1 Wash, wipe and halve the fruit before stoning them. Place the stoned fruit in a large preserving pan and add the water. NB: At this stage you can also add some of the kernels from the stones – this helps the set. Vivien Lloyd says…” using nutcrackers, crack a few of the stones and remove the kernels – place the kernels in a bowl of boiling water and leave for 1 minute – drain them and rub off the skins, then add the blanched kernels to the pan of fruit and water”…..
Step 2 Slowly bring the pan of fruit to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the fruit is soft and pulpy.
Step 3 Meanwhile, warm the sugar in the oven, by placing it in an oven-proof bowl and heating the oven to 140C/275F/Gas mark 1. Remove the sugar from the oven when the fruit is cooked and add it to the pan of fruit. Turn the oven off and place the jam jars into the oven.
Step 4 Stir the sugar until it has dissolved, add the lemon juice and then bring the jam to a rolling boil, boil hard until the setting point has been reached.
Step 5 Check for a set after 5 minutes; To check for setting point, use the flake method or the cold plate method and always take the pan off the heat when you test for the set. Flake test – Dip a large spoon into the jam and scoop out some of the jam – lift the spoon above the pan and allow the jam to drip back into the pan – setting point has been reached when the jam drips slowly and forms a long flake, or as Vivien Lloyd says, “it looks like webbed feet”. For the cold plate (saucer) method, place 2 or 3 saucers into the freezer, when you want to test for a set, take 1 out and spoon some jam on to the cold saucer – wait a few seconds and then push the jam with your finger – if setting point has been reached, the jam will crinkle and a skin will form and it will appear to be jelly-like.
Step 6 Allow the jam to settle and cool for a few minutes , then push any scum that may have risen to the side of the pan with a metal spoon.
Step 7 Gently stir the jam and then pour it in to the warm jam jars using a jug or a ladle and funnel, make sure you fill the jars to the brim. Seal the jars immediately with new twist lids or with waxed discs and cellophane covers that are secured with rubber bands.


Greengage Jam

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