Mrs C.S. Peel’s Green Grape Jam
I was reading Granny Dot’s “The Daily Mail Fruit and Vegetable Book”, published in 1920, and came across this recipe. I saw a bowl of grapes which needed to be eaten that day. Et voila, here we have a delicious accompaniment for cheese. I find myself longing for cheese more than I did before I made this; therein lies a friendly waistline warning….
To each 450g grapes, add 340g preserving sugar
1. Stalk and wash the fruit, and put it in a preserving pan or a heavy based pan, over a very gentle heat with the sugar.
2. Stir a little until it melts.
3. “Bring it to the boil and boil fast until a little will jelly when tested” – do this by taking a little in a teaspoon and putting it on a cold plate. After a few seconds, if it crinkles when you touch it, rather than just spreads about like a loose liquid, it is ready.
4. Put it into a sterilized jar (do this by pouring boiling water into it and let it dry out in a warm oven – this will take a few seconds).
5. Serve it with cheese and biscuits – we had it with vacherin – not an easily sourced everyday cheese so I suggest brie as a good British substitute in the absence of the aforementioned.
While I am not suggesting that you follow these guidelines, it is interesting to note that around the time of the First World War when large quantities of sugar were not readily available, the following substitutes were suggested:
“Note – Jams made with sugar are superior to those made with substitutes, but when the supply of sugar is short substitutes must be employed.
Jam made with Salt and a small quantity of Sugar.
To every pound of fruit use 1/2 teaspoonful of salt and 4ozs. of sugar. Boil the fruit soft in the usual way, then add the salt and sugar, and boil fast until the jam thickens. Put into pots, and tie down. If this jam does not stiffen sufficiently, add 1/2 oz. of seed pearl tapioca to each pound of fruit. Soak the tapioca overnight and add to the jam when it comes to the boil after the salt and sugar are added.
Bi-cardinate of soda is used in the same proportions instead of salt, but these jams will not keep for a year or more, as will jams made with the ordinary quantity of sugar. It is, however, best to keep jam made with salt for at least 3 months before using, otherwise it may taste of salt.”
(The Daily Mail Fruit and Vegetable Book 1920 p.64)