My beginners guide to jam making

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Jam Making

 Do you have a sweet tooth?

Anyone who knows me knows I have a sweet tooth and jam is high up on my list of sweet treats. Making jams is great if you have a glut of fruit. Perhaps you grow fruit or you’ve been to town and hit some fruit whoopsies?  Maybe your neighbour gave you some or you stole your neighbours (okay maybe not the latter) wherever you got your fruit, jam is a great way to preserve it.

Now I’ve not been making jam for very long but so far so good no major disasters here. There’s very few things go into making jam and it’s easier than what you probably think.

As a general rule jam is fruit + sugar + water + flavourings if required.

Here’s a few things I’ve learnt already for basic jam making.

Sufficient water must be added to the pan to prevent the fruit from burning unless the fruit holds a lot of water for example raspberries then we can skip this step.

Equal amounts of sugar to equal amounts of fruit unless you’re using a fruit which is high in sugars for example strawberries then I would cut the amount of sugar used to 75%.

A knob of butter helps with removing the frothing which appears on the top of your jam as it comes to the boil.

Always use a larger saucepan than the amount of ingredients as the jam will splash as it’s boiling.

Wrinkle Test

While your jam is happily boiling away put a saucer in the fridge/freezer and allow to chill. When you think your jam is done pop a small amount on the saucer and let it cool. If the jam is set it will wrinkle as you push it with your finger. If it doesn’t wrinkle, never fear keep boiling and test again in 3 minutes time.

Sterilising your jars

It’s important to use clean jars and lids. I wash my jars in hot soapy water then rinse thoroughly. Put the jars on a baking tray into the oven at 160c/Gas mark 3 for around 15 minutes. I then put my jar lids in a pan of boiling water for around 5-10 minutes.  Both your jars and lids should be now ready to use.

How to store your jam

When your jam has cooled down label your jars with your flavour and the date you made it for future reference. Store your jars away from light preferably in a cool dry cupboard. Once opened transfer your jam to the fridge and consume within 4-6 weeks.

Remember it's all about you

There’s lots of different alternatives to jam making including using pectin, using different types of sugars, ways to sterilise jars etc doing what works for you is most important.

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