It would seem that my mission to use up an entire garden’s worth of courgettes isn’t over just yet (I still have around 8 sat on my worktop right now & we’re having courgette for tea). I would say lesson learned, don’t grow so many damn courgettes next year, but truth be told I’ve enjoyed the challenge!
The best part about exploring new ideas & ways to use up my little round courgettes is actually that I do have so many to play with. That way, if something doesn’t necessarily work out, then it’s not a loss… I can try again, tweak & fine tune the recipe until it’s just right. It’s more of an opportunity than a burden.
If there’s one thing I really enjoy doing in the kitchen, it’s experimenting! Give me a glut of anything & I’ll try my best to turn into something delicious that I can share. Often though, I find myself falling back on preserving.
So long as I have sugar in the cupboard & empty jars to fill, the possibilities are endless when it comes to using up some fruits & vegetables. Pickles, chutney, jams & jellies are all the easiest, cheapest way to have fun with a glut of absolutely anything (they’re also easier to give away than bakes!).
I figured, why not pop my courgettes into the preserving pan & see what happens. Seeing as courgettes are mild in taste & are also excellent at taking on other flavours, I thought I would try them in a jam. Rather than drown out my courgettes though & make them completely obsolete in my jam, I wanted to pair them with other fresh, lifting flavours. For this, I opted for two classics: lemon & ginger. On their own, each is a powerful flavour when used alone or in excess, but here I’ve used them sparingly to add just a subtle, sweet hint of their zesty, spicy characteristics.
The resulting courgette jam is golden, chunky & subtle. It’s sweet & has a gentle flavour all of it’s own that unless you knew what it was made from, you can’t quite put your finger on. This is a very soft set jam, owing to the lack of pectin in my courgettes but if you’d prefer more of a set then by all means add in a little pectin when cooking. This is one that you can quite easily dollop onto thick cut toast in the morning or pair it with a good strong cheese for tea (trust me on this). So whether you’ve got a glut of courgettes or you’re simple intrigued.. this is jam that won’t disappoint the curious.
- 1kg courgette, peeled & chopped into 1cm chunks
- 100ml water
- 2 lemons
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
- 1kg granulated sugar
- Before beginning, place a small saucer into the freezer to chill (this will hep us to test the jam later)
- Place the courgette & water into a large heavy bottomed saucepan or maslin pan & simmer over a medium het until the courgette has begun to soften & turn a little translucent
- Next, add the ginger, sugar & zest of the lemons to the pan
- Slice up the zested lemons & place them into a maslin cloth before tying up to enclose them & add this to the pan
- Gently heat the mixture over a low to medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved & no grains remain when you run a spoon along the bottom of the pan
- Add a sugar thermometer to the pan & bring the mixture to the boil
- Continue to boil the mixture, being sure to stir it frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
- Keep the mixture boiling away for around 15-20 minutes or until it reaches 105°C on the sugar thermometer (it may take a little bit longer, just keep testing every 3-5 minutes)
- Test to see if setting point has been reached by placing a small drop of the jam onto the chilled saucer
- Leave the drop of jam to cool for a minute & push your finger through the jam, if the surface wrinkles & the jam feels syrupy then it is is done (this is a soft set jam so it won’t turn thick without adding any extra pectin)
- Leave the jam in the pan to cool for 30 minutes
- Pot up the courgette jam into clean, sterilised jars & label