Mrs Beeton: Carrot Jam, to imitate apricot preserve. No 1525
Well, Mrs Beeton ‘s carrot jam certainly looks like apricot jam! This has to be the most glorious colour of jam I’ve seen. Preserves tend to be fairly dark shades, but this is the colour of a glorious sunset!
We tend not to hear much of Carrot Jam these days, not even on vegan recipe websites. I’ve certainly never seen it on sale! But it turns out that it used to be quite popular. So this is a genuine Victorian flavour. We’re taking a little step into history and finding out the sort of thing our ancestors ate!
And we’ve all had old, tired carrots lying around that aren’t good enough to serve up, but we don’t want to throw away and waste. Unlike some other of Mrs Beeton’s recipes for using up old food (such as her horrendous Bread Soup!), this really works!
The flavour is a strange one. Not unpleasant, although my kids didn’t like it (or at least, Seren liked it for a couple of minutes until I told her what it was made from!). It’s just that we expect jams to have fruity flavours, and this doesn’t. It’s also not as sweet as jam is usually these days.
I found also that the sugar crystallized in the top couple of inches after a couple of days, so the jam became crunchy. I don’t know what could have happened to have caused this. If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comments below.
Carrot Jam Recipe
1525. INGREDIENTS – Carrots; to every lb. of carrot pulp allow 1 lb. of pounded sugar, the grated rind of 1 lemon, the strained juice of 2, 6 chopped bitter almonds, 2 tablespoonfuls of brandy.
Mode.—Select young carrots; wash and scrape them clean, cut them into round pieces, put them into a saucepan with sufficient water to cover them, and let them simmer until perfectly soft; then beat them through a sieve. Weigh the pulp, and to every lb. allow the above ingredients. Put the pulp into a preserving-pan with the sugar, and let this boil for 5 minutes, stirring and skimming all the time. When cold, add the lemon-rind and juice, almonds and brandy; mix these well with the jam; then put it into pots, which must be well covered and kept in a dry place. The brandy may be omitted, but the preserve will then not keep: with the brandy it will remain good for months.
Time.—About 3/4 hour to boil the carrots; 5 minutes to simmer the pulp.
Average cost, 1s. 2d. for 1 lb. of pulp, with the other ingredients in proportion.
Sufficient to fill 3 pots.
Seasonable from July to December.