Making Jam and Jellies
You can make Jam all year round, but it can work out very expensive if you are buying the fruit. I use foraged fruit, starting in May, I pick Cherries, then during the summer I pick Blackberries. But when it comes to Autumn …. Autumn is a perfect time for making Jams and Jellies, the hedgerow fruit is ready for picking, with which you can make some fantastic Jams.
The fruit I used this year included
Sloes, Damsons, Bullace, Plums, Greengage, Crab Apples, Cooking Apples, Pears, Rowanberries, Hawthorn Berries, Rosehips, Cherries, Blackberries.
Lids and/or jam pot covers
Straining bag (for jelly)
Small plate and metal spoon
Sugar (Jam sugar or normal sugar if you intend to use Lemon or apple juice)
I love Jam making, as you can use any amount of fruit, I use the same weight of fruit to sugar. So for 200g Blackberries, I use 200g Sugar.
This year I had fun making jellies, these are a little more complicated, as you need to get the juice one day and make the jelly the next.
I cook up the fruit in a pan, with just enough cold water to not quite cover, then strain overnight. You can use one fruit, or a mix. If using soft fruits and apples/pears, you can cook them up in a pan altogether, but if using berries it is advisable to cook them separate. e.g. Rowan berries in one pan, apples in another, they can be combined in the straining bag though. When making the jelly you will need to use 450g sugar to every 600ml liquid.
Before you start make sure you have all you equipment to hand.
1) Jars should be washed in clean hot soapy water and rinsed well, then put on a baking tray and heated in an over to sterilise. They should have at least 10mins at 100degrees C to sterlise, some people have slightly different sterilising methods, but as long as they have had the 10min at 100 they should be okay.
2) I also get ready 2 trivets to put the tray of jars on when they come out. This usually sits on the right of my cooker.
3) On the left of the cooker I place a wooden chopping board, covered in kitchen paper to catch drips. Next to the board I put my funnel and serving spoon.
4) On the cooker I have a large pan with wooden spoon.
5) Put sugar and fruit/juice in pan NB the pan should be able to hold twice the volume of the cold sugar and fruit/juice. e.g. 4l mix, need a 8l capacity pan.
6) Don’t forget to put a small plate and metal spoon in the fridge to cool.
Right you are ready to begin.
Juice/fruit and sugar in pan.
Bring to the boil stirring.
When it starts to boil, it will rise up the pan, I hate this bit and always worry that it will boil over!
Adjust the temperature so that it is still boiling rapidly, but not boiling over!
Now it needs to boil until it is cooked enough to set!!
Strawberries take 5mins, most fruit takes 10, sometimes it can take 15mins.
I usually set the timer for 10, after 10mins, I turn the gas right down and grab my plate and spoon from the fridge to test for a set, if it is set, then good, otherwise try again every 2 mins.
I then take the jars out of the oven, place them on the trivets on the right of the cooker, moving them one at a time, holding them in a teatowel to the board on the left of the cooker. When they are all there, I use the funnel – in the jar and just overhanging the inside of the pan, using a serving spoon I pour the hot liquid into the jars.
Add a greased paper disk and put lid on, or cover with cellophane. When cool, I label.