Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Making jam




In the last couple of years I have taken to making my own jam – and once also some marmalade.  I don’t do it in big quantities or with special preserving methods.  I make 4 to 5 jars at a time (usually using 1 kilo of fruit) and just put it into dishwashed jam jars with little wax paper discs on top and then the original jar top.  The wax paper discs are optional.  I had to get my sister to send them from the UK for me since I couldn’t find any in NZ.

So I have made apricot, strawberry, mixed berry, tamarillo and plum jams.  The only one that didn’t work out that well was the tamarillo one because the seeds turned colourless and tasteless – it was a great coloured jam and I think if I had sieved the seeds out after it was made, it would have been ok.  The marmalade I made was orange and whisky – that was much more fiddly to do but was great tasting.

For the jams I just used the same basic technique.  Put the fruit in the pot with sugar – many recipes say equal quantity of sugar to weight of fruit.  But I prefer a slightly less sweet jam so I use about 800g of sugar to 1 kilo of fruit (weighed after removing any stones).  Let it sit for about half an hour before putting it onto the heat.

It is fine to use frozen berries if they aren’t in season.

In terms of sugar I like to use half normal sugar and half jam setting sugar. 

I also add the juice of about half a lemon or lime – this also cuts back the sweetness a bit and has the important other effect of increasing the ease of getting the jam to set.  Something to do with pectin, I understand.

Then you just put it onto the heat and bring to the boil.  After boiling it for about 10 to 20 minutes, test to see if the jam looks like it will set.  I do this by spooning some onto a plate I have chilled in the fridge – if after it cools a bit you can pull your finger across it and it stays apart you are good to go.  I normally get quite worried about whether it will set.  But you don’t want to go on boiling it for too long because then it will go really firm and sugary.  So it is best to go under rather than over – the worst that could happen is that it stays too runny after you have put it into the jars – and then all you have to do is put it back onto the boil for a while.

So it is pretty straightforward.  I did get a plastic jam funnel from a kitchen shop.  Not essential but it does help get the hot jam into the jars without spilling it over the sides.

I usually let the jam sit in the pot for 5 minutes or so before putting it into the jars.  You may have to spoon off any foamy stuff off the top first.

The only other tip I have is that if you are doing strawberry jam, you definitely need to let it cool a bit more in the pot first.  Otherwise you get all the strawberries floating to the top of the jars!  It is also a good idea to turn the jars over a few times while it is cooling in the fridge.

If you keep your jam in the fridge it should be fine for 4 to 6 weeks.- maybe even longer but ours never lasts that long.

So, give it a go – you will be glad you did.


You might also be interested in this post on my method of making just hard boiled eggs - if so, click here


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27 comments:

  1. It looks delicious. Now I am in the mood.
    I LOVE that jar key that you have in the side bar.
    I am getting one ASAP.

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    1. Yes the jar key was a revelation to me - whoever thought it up was one smart cookie

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  2. Yum - I love your tip about Strawberry jam - I didn't realise that cooling it down helps the strawberries to settle!

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    1. Yep it really does help. Thank you so much for your comment.

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  3. Thank you for commenting over at my blog. Jamming is fun and tasty. I hasn't heard of wax paper idea. Totally makes sense.

    Enjoy!

    L

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    1. Yes, the wax discs help to seal it and are much less fussy than the way my mother used to do it with melted wax. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Thanks for visiting my blog!
    I am your newest follower.
    Angie
    godsgrowinggarden.blogspot.com

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    1. Great. Thanks for following and for the comment.

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  5. Carole, Thank you for stopping by my blog. You have given very useful information on jam making, my post seems so useless by comparison :)
    That was only the second jam i made and i think i slightly overcooked this one because i undercooked my last one. Taking away your tips to make better jams in future.

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    1. It is a bit of a process of trial and error. I always worry away that I haven't boiled it enough but the one time I gave it longer, the jam was a thick as tar and I had to throw it out. So I err now on the short time side, and if worst comes to worst you can always take it back out of the jars and give it another couple of minutes. thanks for commenting.

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  6. I love homemade jam and I often forget that one can do small batches so that there's no need to sterilize and then process for long-term storage. Orange marmalade with whiskey sounds wonderful.

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  7. I have always wanted to make jam, but for some reason, I never have! Your post is inspiring, so maybe this will be the year!

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    1. Go for it! You will love it on your toast in the morning. thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I remember my mother's failed attempt at making jam when I was a kid..I think she had to throw the pot out...lol

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    1. Luckily that hasn't happened to me .... Yet. thanks for taking time to comment.

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  9. I've been toying around with the idea of making my own jam. My husband has to have his daily peanut butter and jam/jelly sandwich for breakfast, so I'm usually buying a jar a week. Your method seems really easy to follow and not that time consuming. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I think this quick way would work well for you. we have jam on toast every day and I only make up a batch every 6 to 8 weeks. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. My sister has made her own jam in the past but we just don't use enough of it to get through the jars before they start going a bit candied or off. Or rather, we go through phases where we go through lots of jam and then none at all for months.

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  12. I use to make jam when the boys were small. We don't eat enough to even warrant buying it anymore around here. Nice post though! How about something for St. Patrick's Day: Irish Boxty

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  13. Thanks. Your suggestion is much appreciated.

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  14. Wonderful tips and recipe !! Thanks for visiting my site :)

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  15. I love making my own jam, too, Carole. To me it's one of the most rewarding things to make from scratch--especially if we've picked the fruit ourselves! And it's not really so difficult to do, either!

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  16. Gosh, it would be great to pick the fruit as well! Thanks so much for sharing with me

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  17. The colour of your jam is wonderful and the setting looks perfect. Congrats.

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Your comments are most welcome. Cheers