Sunday, 18 September 2011

Jam jam jam jam- JAM!

Jammin'- we're jammin', hope you like jammin' too
This week I inexplicably made 3 different types of jam on three different occasions. Well, not inexplicably- I really like jam. It started because I wanted some blackberry jam and could only find one type, and well- it just wasn't as tasty as I wanted it to be. So I made some. Then there were some strawberries going cheap at the shops...then there were some damsons. I've never had damson jam before (but now I have tried an actual damson- my face turned inside out- it was very tart!), and now I have some.
I tend to only make enough jam each time for around 2-3 450g jars: this is because I don't have a pick your own, or a strawberry patch or even anywhere near by for a good forage. 
If you want to make some jam, remember to sterilize the jars first. Last year I got overly excited by a crate of raspberries and failed to do this. I also used a Branston pickle jar for one of the jars. This = mouldy jam with a vinegar tang. Sterilize the jars by washing in hot soapy water, rinsing and then drying in an oven set at gas mark 3 for 10 mins. 

The blackberry and the damson went very well- they got a really good set- but the strawberry one is quite soupy. Still delicious! But soupy nonetheless. I got my jam making kit for christmas last year. It makes me happy when I get to use it.

For the blackberry and strawberry jams I used equal parts fruit (around 500g) to granulated sugar and no water. I added the juice and zest of a lime and an apple to the strawberry for flavour and pectin respectively, and the juice of a lemon to the blackberry. 

 Place the fruit (including the juice for both and the apple and zest for strawberry) in a large pan and heat gently, until the juices start to come out. Then add the sugar, heat gently and stir carefully to dissolve. Bring to the boil and heat to 110C (test using a thermometer). 

Boil for 10 mins at this temp, then test for a set using a cold saucer: if a drop of jam wrinkles when pushed, it's ready. If not, keep boiling and teat every minute. 
Allow to cool slightly then pour in to the hot jars. Leave to go cold. 

Damson Jam! A little different to the others. This recipe is from the WI Book of Preserves by Carol Tennant. It's a great book- there's loads of stuff in there. I halved the recipe so for ease I used pounds and ounces.
1lb 6oz damsons
9 fl oz water
1lb 11oz granulated sugar

-wash the damsons and remove the stalks. Put in a large heavy bottomed pan with the water and cook gently for around 30mins. They should start to break down.
-Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Turn the heat up and boil for 10 minutes, reaching 110C. Test for a set (using a cold saucer and wrinkle test). If it isn't ready, keep trying at 1 minute intervals.
- Remove the stones as they rise to the surface ( it is unlikely that you'll be able to get them all, I certainly didn't). 
- Remove from the heat and skim off the scum. Leave to cool slightly and then bottle in sterilised jars.


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