Sheep graze outside our door.. and we make apple jam

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I open the gate today and I am greeted by these wooly creatures and this makes me happy to live here…

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A first time meeting with Ninu the shepherd, a friendly chat and he is full of curiosity and asks personal questions but this is the heart of the Mediterranean countryside and it is acceptable. He tells me of his cheese making secrets that take place at his home. And I am invited to go and see, and taste and eat, as long as i do not take pictures of him but he will share the secret recipes and I have permission to snap the cheese and the sheep… sounds like a good deal to me !

But today it is jam making day.. wild local apples, one of my favorite and a mixed citrus some time during the weekend. I am reducing the sugar content by half but will need to store it in the fridge. If you require a longer shelf life without refridgeration, you will need equal measurements of fruit and sugar.

And for a good apple jam with no artificial additives and no pectin you will need:

1 kg apples, chopped and cored, soaked in lemon juice to prevent discoloration
3 lemons, juice and zest
500g sugar

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In a large pot place the apples, lemon juice, lemon zest and cover on moderate heat until apples are soft and mushy. They should remain pale and become clear with the apple juice.
Uncover and mash.
Add the sugar, stir and bring to a fast boil, reduce hear keeping it on a rolling boil. This is an important stage, do not let it cool and loose the boil so that the jam will retain its color.
Keep at this stage for 10 minutes, switch off and test the setting point using the saucer method which you can see on this blog.
If it has not reached setting point, bring to a boil again and keep at rolling boil for another r 5 – 10 minutes. I have never had a problem with this jam setting.
It should be a lovely golden peach color.
Place in sterilized jars and seal.

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See the instructions about sterilizing

And in memory of a poet, a writer and a cook …’if you have one smile in you give it to the people you love’ Maya Angelou…

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Yesterday’s paper

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