The courgette glut is here again, at least it is for most people. My first plants succumbed to the odd weather this year and the replacements are still tiny. The Womble, not a big fan of the courgette, considers this to be A Good Thing.
In response to joking references on Twitter to courgette jam as a possible use for the surplus, I can now reveal that the humble courgette can indeed be turned into jam. Strictly speaking it is marrows (courges in French) not courgettes which are used, but given that the French tend to call them courgettes even when they are so big you need a wheelbarrow to move them and given also that little courgettes can turn into thumping great marrows at the blink of an eye, courgette jam it is.
I came across its use originally in a French translation of an English book on preserves where I found a recipe for marrow marmalade, made with a mixture of oranges and marrow. It had a very pleasant, rather softer flavour and texture than 100% orange marmalade and I liked it. The Womble was less keen, finding it not tangy enough. Unlike normal marmalade it did need added pectin to get a good set since there is none in the marrow.
My next ‘courgette jam’ was my own invention: blackcurrent and marrow. Last year was the first year I had more than a handful of fruit on my young blackcurrent bushes but it still wasn’t enough to make many jars plus we both find blackcurrent jam a bit too powerful a flavour. The addition of marrow softened the flavour a bit and padded out the precious fruit. The result was very good indeed and I would certainly repeat it. Unlike the marmalade there was no need to add pectin, the blackcurrents had more than enough to carry the marrow.
I can’t give you a recipe since I didn’t write down the proportions I used but I don’t know that it really matters. If you want to try it just make up some of the fruit weight with marrow and add sugar in proportion to the total weight as you usually do. Obviously the more marrow the milder the taste. I cut the marrow into tiny cubes about the same size as the blackcurrents and cooked the fruits seperately until soft then combined them which gave me control over cooking time for each.
And there you have it – you really can make jam from courgettes. Give it a try or invent your own combination and bon appetit.