Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Summer means Jam making ^_^
Making homemade jam—or chutney is a great way to preserve the best fruits of summer. Strawberries this year have been amazing, either from your patio, allotment or at the pick your own farms over the south east of England. Later in the year there are plenty of wild blackberries along the lane where I live which are best in the late summer and autumn. Its very easy to make jam and using fresh fruit with no preservatives makes it taste so delicious, you just can't beat it on scones with cream and a pot of tea ^_^ it is simply divine!
The trickiest part of jam making is how much pectin (the settling agent) is in each kind of fruit. The high sugar temperatures can be a little overwhelming aswell but this can be easily overcome. I use a cheat, jam making sugar from silver spoon which has added pectin from apples : D
For soft fruit jam follow this easy peasy recipe!
400g Soft fruit can included strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches and blueberries etc (I use a blender and add vanilla to blueberry jam ^_^)
500g of Jam sugar
1tsp lemon juice
1tsp of butter
Method: For traditional English jam mash your soft fruit with a potato masher, or if you prefer American style jelly you can use a blender to remove lumps, although the later wont work so well with seeded fruits such as raspberries - you still get the seeds!
Using an old saucepan (incase you burn it!) on a medium heat to bring your mashed fruit to a rolling boil, not spitting but gently bubbling over - my husband calls it my cauldron ;)
Add lemon juice, butter and/or vanilla at this time. Add the jam sugar and stir constantly, you dont want any one part of the jam to get too hot and burn. Boil it for a full 3 minutes to ensure all the pectin and sugar are combined with the fruit.
Using a tea spoon take a small amount of the hot jam out of the pan, leave it to cool for a few minutes and if it sticks to the spoon when you stick it upside down then your jam is ready :)
If you use recycled jars be sure to sterilise them first or if you prefer you can buy them on-line. Warm your jars gently on a low heat (80') in the oven or in a saucepan of boiling water and then put the hot jam into your clean jars.
Carefully screw on the lids - the hot jars with hot jam will create a natural vacuum seal that will last 9-12 months. With a printer and some adhesive paper you can easily knock up some smart labels, I'm sure friends and family will be very impressed.
For beginners domestic goddess Delia has some very handy tips.