Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sweet-Savory Fruit Preserve
Do you love summer sausage? I do. I especially love it with mustard and fruit preserves. Lingonberries work well, but I recently found I wanted something a little sweeter.
So I made up my own sweet-savory fruit preserve.
As always with me, it's another "clean the fridge" recipe. I initially did it as an experiment, throwing all sorts of shleppy fruit I had around the fridge into it.
When the fruit mix was ready to come off the stove, I realized it couldn't decide if it was a spread or a fruit butter. I've tried it hot on blintzes, cheese pierogi, and ice cream, and cold on toast, and it's just fine. Today I discovered that cold, and mixed with a little mustard, it's the perfect accompaniment for summer sausage.
Here's how to make it:
Pull out your glass or plastic liquid cup measurer. Into it, cut up whatever fruit you've got in the house, until you've got two to four cups. In my mix, I had an apple, a pear, a peach, about half a cup of shleppy red grapes, a handful of dying blueberries, and about an inch or two of finely chopped ginger. Other fruits that can go in there are gooseberries, nectarines, and plums.
Always make sure you've got an apple or a peach in whatever fruit mix you're making—the natural pectin means you won't need Sure-Jell or other commercial jellers.
Dump the fruit into a bowl (or even into the pot in which you intend to boil the fruit—less cleanup! Just don't use an aluminum pot). Add an equal amount of sugar. That is, if you've got four cups of fruit, add four cups of sugar. Put in less if the fruit is quite sweet.
Add lemon juice. To four cups of fruit, I generally add the juice of a whole lemon. That's about a tablespoon and a half to two tablespoons.
This is important: LET IT SIT for two hours. The sugar has to do some digestive work on the fruit. Cover it up and head out of the house or something. When you come back, give it a stir, stick it on the burner, bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat as much as you can. (The sugars mean it can scorch easily, so you really want the heat low.) Cover it, and leave it there for two to three hours. Shorter if you want something more like a sauce, and longer if you want something thick and robust. Come back once in a while and give it a stir, to see how the consistency is maturing. I left mine on the burner for three hours. It came out nice and thick and very tasty, with the ginger giving it a lovely piquancy.
Next time, I might sliver some of the lemon rind into it, and put in a bit more ginger.
While your preserve is fone, go slice up some summer sausage, put a few spoonfuls of this on a plate, mix in some mustard, and dip in. Yum!