After our recent fruit picking trip I made my first ever batch of jam. My husband and I enjoy making chutney but I had yet to try jam making. In my family there is a jam making myth where the making of jam is considered an extremely difficult and lengthy process. Last weekend I found this to be false. In fact I found making jam from soft fruit so easy that I made another batch the very next day!
The family jam myth centred on the belief that both sterilising the jars correctly and achieving the right consistency was a complicated and exacting science. I have now learnt that sterilising jars is just the same as with chutney, clean them well and pop them onto a baking tray in a hot oven. Soft fruit such as strawberries and raspberries require very little preparation and jam making sugar makes the setting consistency easy to achieve. I do not possess a jam thermometer so I did a little research before beginning and found a fantastic tip from a fellow blogger. Cheeky Spouse suggests putting a plate in the fridge before cooking the jam, then when you think the jam is at the right consistency drop some jam onto the cold plate and pop back into the fridge for two minutes. Check the jam by dragging a finger or knife through it. The jam can cook a little longer if it has not set enough or grape juice can be added if the jam is too thick. See Cheeky Spouse’s tip for yourself.
Here is the jam recipe I used, taken from the British cooking legend Marguerite Pattern:
1lb jam making sugar
2-4 clean jam jars* (my jam made 3 jars of approx 310g)
1. Wash jam jars in soapy water and put in oven at 140 c until need.
2. Prepare strawberries, cleaning and hulling.
3. Cook strawberries until soft and they begin breaking up.
4. Pour in sugar, stirring well, allow to boil gently for approx 5-10mins.
5. Pour jam into a jug* and then into hot jam jars, put the lids on straight away.
Jam Making Top Tips:
1. **Pour jam from saucepan into a jug, this makes the task of pouring jam into the jam jars much easier and causes less spillage.
2. Always wipe clean any spilt jam from around jar lids and the jar opening as this could go mouldy later.
3. Put lids on jam jars quickly so that the heat can make the lids pop out and create a seal just like commercially bought products in glass jars.
4. *It is good to have more clean jam jars sterilised that you think you will need, that way if you do have more jam than expected you will not run out of jars.