‘Sup ladies and gents, missed me?
‘Fraid I’ve been having fun picking blackberries, raspberries, elderberries and sloes… I now have more than I know what to do with and have given myself nettle rash in the process.
But I thought I would make some jam. Now jam is easy, you just simmer fruit with sugar and voila, yummyness in a jar.
The jam making process:
1. Pick a fruit, any fruit (this is not an exaggeration, you can literally use any fruit)
2. Weigh your fruit. We were taught at school to not even attempt making jam with over 2kg of fruit as it gets hard to pot, but under that you’re fine.
3. Make sure you remove all bruised and battered fruit and it’s best to use fruit that is slightly under ripe.
4. Make sure you check (via t’internet or a jam making book, which if you have then I don’t know why you’re bothering to read this, but then again I have one so I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing this) the level of pectin your fruit contains. I have differing opinions on blackberries, my book says low, my teachers say high. I went with a low level of pectin. Pectin is a carbohydrate found in the skin and cores of all fruit, it helps with the setting of the jam…I think.
5. Use a large crystal sugar i.e. granulated sugar or preserving sugar, as it will dissolve quicker. Also whatever the weight of you fruit the weight of the sugar will be the same.
6. If the fruit is low in pectin use a jam sugar or certo, which is liquid pectin
7. Have a cold plate in the fridge, this is for your flake test later.
8. I swear there was another point which I’ve forgotten, actually if I’m honest then there’s probably a lot of points that I’ve forgotten, but I think most of the important bits are there.
Right, now that the boring stuff is out of the way we can get onto the good bits, but first look at this picture of blackberries:
That was nice wasn’t it? Now, moving on swiftly…
700g jam sugar or 700g preserving sugar with 60ml certo
2 tbsp lemon juice
1. Firstly we’re going to sterilise the jars. Pre-heat the oven to 140C/GM 1/275F, wash the jars that you will be using with their lids in very hot soapy water, dry them and then place them in the oven for 20-30 minutes. You will need about 3 x 440ml (1lb) jam jars for this amount.
2. Place blackberries in a large pan with the water and lemon juice and heat until the blackberries have released their juice and have broken down slightly
3. Meanwhile weigh out the sugar, place it on a baking sheet and place in warming oven (around 110C) for about 10 minutes. This helps the sugar to dissolve quicker when added to the fruit.
4. Once the blackberries have broken down turn the heat right down, remove the sugar from the oven and add it to the blackberries. Stir very gently until the sugar has dissolved and then turn the heat back up again.
5. Boil the jam for about 8 minutes. To check if it is ready remove the plate from the fridge and dollop some jam on and place it back in the fridge for a minute of so. (Whilst this is happening make sure your jam is off the heat so you don’t go beyond the jam point into cheese territory.) Remove the plate from the fridge and if you can push your finger through the jam and create a channel that stays then your jam is ready. If not then keep heating it until it does.
6. Once your jam is done turn the heat off, and gently skim off the fat that has accumulated (or apparently you can add a knob of butter and this will do it for you). Leave the jam to cool down for a little bit otherwise all the fruit will sink to the bottom and then carefully pour it into your sterilised jars, whack on a lid and leave to cool completely until set. Then enjoy on toast, or on a tea cake, or in a bakewell tart, whatever you fancy!
Oh and if you are uber clever then you can just skip most of step 5 if you have sugar thermometer, just boil it until it reaches the word jam and your done. Or you can be a complete idiot like me and have one but not use it…
In other news my cat has decided to shun all kitty beds and sleep on my Hobbs trousers instead, such expensive taste, thanks Marvin (that’s the cat)…this is him:
Strange isn’t he? Trust me he looked weirder when he was younger…
Anywho, happy jam making! I’m making elderberry tomorrow.