For some reason it's something I have avoided in the past, partly because of the bewildering array of 'special' utensils listed in my recipe books - jam thermometer, jam funnel, special pans, waxed circles, preserving jars etc etc. Perusing the Lakeland website (my kitchen utensil supplier of choice ) confirmed my suspicions that these things cost money. More than I can afford to shell out for what, at best would be a once or twice yearly activity. I really might just as well go out to the supermarket and just buy a jar or two of jam (good stuff, obviously. The ones with 'extra' on the label somewhere...) So I avoided making jam.
This year, however, I thought 'Sod it! Surely I don't really need all that stuff? I mean how difficult can it be? Really?'
And you know what? It really isn't as mystical as hardcore jammers would have us believe.
There are loads of recipes on the internet but basically you need the same weight of sugar and fruit.
I had 600gms of blackberries and apples (peeled and chopped up small) from my mother-in-law's garden, so used 600gms of sugar. I added a large dash (more of a slosh really...) of lemon juice coz it seemed to be mentioned in at least three of the recipes I looked at. And a slosh of water. I have no idea how much... (sorry thats not very helpful I know, but that's the kind of cook I am )
Bring to the boil gently on the lowest heat you can - this can take quite a while so put some music on and make sure kiddiewinks are occupied. You do have to keep an eye on it and stir it so it doesnt burn/stick! In the meantime put a saucer in the freezer (one of those 'mystical' jam things - will become clear in a bit!) and place your washed jam jars upside down in a warm oven for half an hour to sterilize them (140C/275F/Gas1) If you are making this sort of quantity you will only need one or two - recycle old jam jars rather than buying special 'preserving jars'.
Once the fruit and sugar mix has come to the boil keep it there, stirring pretty much constantly for a good 10 mins or so. To test whether 'setting point' has been reached drop a small amount of the HOT jam on the ice cold saucer you have just fished out of the freezer. If its ready it should set fairly quickly as it cools. If not keep it boiling and try again in 10 mins. When ready, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15mins then ladle into sterilsed jars.
|I know it's chunky but that's the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it (uh huh uh huh)|
No complicated ingredients or utensils need! (Sorry Lakeland, but rest assured I will spend my money on other lovely things...)
This is quite a small amount of jam and should keep fine in the fridge - I have no idea how long it will last - but if your house is anything like mine it will be eaten up long before it has chance to go off!