J is for Jam, Jerusalem Artichoke and Jasmine Rice

Jam

am is a sweet spread made from fruit and sugar boiled together until it is of a thick consistency. It comes in a whole variety of different flavours with strawberry being the most popular. We spread it on bread, toast, scones, pancakes, cakes and add it to rice pudding, sponges and a whole plethora of other J is for Jam, Jerusalem Artichoke and Jasmine Ricedesserts. It is believed that jam making first started many centuries ago in the Middle Eastern countries where sugar cane grew naturally. Turning fresh fruit into jam is an excellent way of preserving it.
Jam, Jelly, Preserves and Marmalade What is the Difference?
Here in the UK we generally talk about jam and preserves as being similar, with jelly being a wobbly sweet dessert served with ice cream. However, in the USA jelly is a form of jam. Jam is made using whole fruit and sugar, they are boiled together until it becomes thick in consistency. Preserves, which often get confused with jam, are made using whole or pieces of fruit cooked in a thick sugar syrup, and American jelly is made using fruit juice, sugar and pectin, it is clear and with the help of the pectin, becomes gel like in consistency. Marmalade is similar to jam but made with Seville oranges from Spain or Portugal.
Jam is great for making a plain sponge a little bit more interesting. Once you have made and cooled your cake, slice it horizontally and remove the top half. Spread the cut surface with the jam, then put the top sponge back on. Adding coconut to the jam is another great filling. My All in 1 Sponge is quick and easy to make.

Jerusalem Artichoke

Despite it’s name, the Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes. It is actually the root of a variety of sunflower, which is lumpy and brown skinned looking similar to root ginger. TheJ is for Jam, Jerusalem Artichoke and Jasmine Rice white flesh inside is crunchy, with a sweet and nutty flavour and is an excellent source of iron.

Jerusalem artichokes were first cultivated by native Americans about 8,000 years ago, and is still widely grown in eastern North America. It is very versatile and can be baked, steamed, fried and boiled. It is an ideal substitute for potatoes and when made into flour, can be eaten by celiacs. If you are growing it at home, after a couple of years you will be giving it away as it is a prolific grower.

 

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is a fragrant rice native to Thailand, and is named after the sweet-smelling jasmine flower.J is for Jam, Jerusalem Artichoke and Jasmine Rice It is grown mainly in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Southern Vietnam. When cooked it is soft and has a slightly sticky texture. You can get both white and brown jasmine rice, and like other brown rice, brown jasmine rice is more nutritious for us as it still contains the outer bran layer. Cook Jasmine rice like any other type of rice, with about 1 1/2 – 2 times the amount of water to rice. Whether you rinse rice before you cook it is entirely up to you, I think the jury is divided on that.

Rice is a staple food for Asia and is eaten at virtually every meal. While the majority of us eat rice as part of a savoury dish, short grain rice is ideal for making rice pudding. The grains of rice absorb the milk as it cooks, they still hold their shape but only just. My Baked Rice Pudding recipe takes me back to my childhood with all of us sharing the brown skin that forms while cooking.

 

Fun Facts

Jam
  • the popularity of strawberry jam is huge, we buy more strawberry jam than the next three popular flavours of apricot, raspberry and black currant put together.
  • the aroma of strawberry jam reminds us of summer, which is maybe one of the reasons we buy so much of it.
  • in the 18 Century lots of different flavours of jam were made but there is no record of strawberry jam being made (www.telegraph.co.uk).
Jerusalem Artichokes
  • there are 200 different varieties of Jerusalem artochoke.
  • they aid digestion, can help to improve cholesterol levels and are great for our liver and gallbladder.
Rice
  • Asia alone produces and consumes 90% of the World’s rice.
  • rice is the oldest known food that is still widely consumed today. It can be dated back to 5,000BC (www.finedininglovers.com).

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