AntiUniversity Jam Walk 13th June 2018
Tuesday’s walk was one predominantly of flowers as the late cold snap this year has meant that fruit is late in ripening. It seems like it will be a bad year for plums too – either they lost their fruit to the late frost, or last year’s bumper crop means that this year will be a fallow one. Either way there is little to no fruit on the trees that last year were yellow red and orange with little mirabelles at this time.
We gathered Elderflower in London Fields and Haggerston Park, Cherries in London Fields, Mahonia off Broadway Market, and Rose petals in Haggerston Park too.
It was perfect timing for the Rose petals as they were just starting to fall from the bushes – as these were public flowers we decided only to gather wind falls – but we still managed to collect around 500g of petals. I had also collected some apple windfalls from local trees to use for pectin as all our fruit/flower pickings at this time of year are low in the vital setting agent.
Returning to London Fields we set up the pop-up jam kitchen in the BBQ area. This was the second time I’ve made jam outside (see the Folkestone experiment) but the first time I’ve used a wood fired stove, as gas cooking stoves are not allowed on the fields.
Our first step was to prep the fruit, and boil up the little apples to release pectin.This was pretty efficient, but the preparation of the rose petals was very laborious (lots of bugs to remove). We were joined after school by some of the participant’s kids who helped measure the quantities, stir the jam, check the temperatures and look after the baby!
Here’s the recipe for Rose Petal Jam:
500g rose petals (carefully washed/debugged)
1 litre apple water (collect windfalls/apple cores/peels or chopped apple, cover with water, boil until soft, mash, then strain off liquid)
Sprinkle around half of the sugar over the washed petals and squish about to soften them. Leave to rest for 30 minutes or so to start to draw the liquid out. Add the remaining sugar and the apple water. Heat and stir, dissolving the sugar.
After around 5 minutes of cooking we removed some of the petals as the mix seemed very dense. Bring to a rolling boil, checking the temperature after around 5 minutes for a set. When a set is achieved pour into sterilised jars and fasten lids.
Ours was a beautiful pink colour, but this will vary depending on the colour of your roses!