In my humble opinion homemade presents are the best. Nothing like receiving a gift and knowing that someone cared about you enough to put all that effort in! Not that Christmas shopping in insane malls doesn’t count as effort of course. I would consider that as more of a sacrifice, a sacrifice of sanity because malls these days are nuts. Even malls in Japan make feel like I’m going into battle and Christmas isn’t even a recognized holiday here! So DIY gifts are the perfect solution, at least for me, not only do I get to avoid traumatic malls, I get to shower the people I care most about with gifts that took lots of time and effort to make.
I know I probably shouldn’t give away all my Christmas DIY present secrets away for fear someday my friends and I will accidentally both make the same gifts, but this one is just too delicious not to share. Plus, it’s not my own recipe so I shouldn’t be greedy with it.
For those of you who know me, it isn’t a big secret, I adore yuzu. Yuzu are a Japanese citrus that are similar to both an orange and a lemon. I love their scent, their taste, even their shape! The ease with which I can buy yuzu in Japan is something I will definitely miss a lot when I go back to Canada. Thank heavens for Southeast Asian import stores! This is my favourite yuzu jam recipe, and what I love about this jam is that it’s great on toast and you can even put it in your tea! Toast and tea, genius. I probably should have named my blog that, two things I adore and an alliteration…
Anyhoo onto the actual recipe. I apologize in advance for the terrible iPhone photos!
What you’ll need:
- 5 medium sized yuzu (about 500 grams)
- pure water 500mL + 300mL
- 500 grams granulated sugar
- Wash the yuzu. Cut in half and squeeze out juice into a small bowl.
- Cut peel into smaller pieces (I personally prefer 1/8 wedges for my size). As best as you can strip the yuzu peels of their pulp. Place all pulp and seeds into a small pot.
- Fill a large bowl with icy water. Next, cut all of the yuzu peels into very thin strips, the thinner the better. Place these yuzu peel strips into the icy water. By doing this the yuzu peel becomes less bitter.
- While you let the yuzu peel soak, take the pot containing the yuzu pulp and seeds to the stove. Add 500mL of water to the pot. Boil the water, pulp, and seeds until water has condensed down to 2/3 of what you started with. This step is incredibly important for this recipe because this is how the natural pectin is gained. The seeds and the pulp contain large amounts of pectin, which is the ingredient that will solidify everything into a jam.
- After you have boiled down the pulp, turn off the heat. Place a metal strainer over a small bowl, pour pulpy mixture into strainer and, using a spatula, press the moisture out of the pulp. Slowly add the extra 300mL of pure water as you do so to ensure all pectin has been released. Press pulp into the sides of the strainer until only the toughest bits of pulp and the seeds remain. Pour liquid from bowl into a clean pot, throw out pulp and seeds.
- Using your hands grab small handfulls of the yuzu peel out of the water. Place between the palms of your hands and press out as much water as possible. The more water you squeeze out the sweeter your jam will be. Add yuzu peel into the pot with the pectin water.
- Boil this mixture on high for 15 minutes. Be absolutely sure to stir constantly for the entire 15 minutes or it will all burn to the bottom of the pot.
- After 15 minutes add sugar and yuzu juice. Continue to boil on high for 10 more minutes stir constantly.
- By now a milky white substance will begin forming on the top of the bubbling jam mixture. For lack of a better word I call this “scum”. To make beautiful, delicious jam it’s very important to remove this. I use a metal ladle and have a bowl of clean water ready of the side to dip the dirty ladle into after each scoop before skimming the ladle carefully along the top. Keep alternating between stirring jam and scumming until all scum is gone and the mixture is transparent.
- You can tell the jam is nearing completion when the bubbles around the edges become very large and the mixture starts to get viscous.
- In a pot of boiling water sterilize your jam jars and their lids. After, place upside down and shake as much water out as you can. While the jars are still hot you can then pour in the yuzu jam.
- Fill jars to the brim. I was able to make 2 large jars of and one baby jar of jam with this recipe. Screw the lids on nice and tight. Place in boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and decorate!
And speaking of awesome homemade presents, please everyone note the gorgeous purple apron I’m wearing. It was the sweetest Christmas present from Tomomi whom I made this jam with. I love, love, LOVE it, so you’ll probably see me wearing it a lot in the future foodie blog posts!