Jam is a tasty way to preserve your harvest. Follow these simple steps to make your own.
What you need:
- 650 g (1 1/2 ib) of boysenberries, raspberries or your soft-skinned fruit of choice
- Juice of half a lemon
- 500 g of sugar (1 ib 2 oz)
- 150 ml (5 fl oz) of water
- Put a saucer in the fridge (you'll use this to test whether the jam is ready)
- Wash your fruit but only if you need to (if it's dirty for example)
- Add the fruit, lemon juice and water to a large saucepan
- Simmer this for about 5 mins over low heat to release the juice from the fruit
- Add the sugar, stirring until it has all dissolved
- Bring to the boil (a rolling boil) and then boil for 5-10 mins or until the setting point is reached. To do this, take the pot off the heat (to stop it over cooking) and put a teaspoon of the mixture on your cold saucer that you put in the fridge earlier. If it gels or sets to the consistency of jam then it has been heated long enough. If it's too runny, bring the mixture to the boil again and heat for another couple of minutes. You can also check whether your jam is ready by testing the temperature with a candy thermometer. Jam sets when the mixture has reached 105°C (220°F).
- Poor the mixture into warm (not cold, otherwise they may shatter) sterilised jars, filled almost to the brim. Seal them with sterilised lids or your preferred cover.
Jam with less sugar
You can reduce the amount of sugar you add to your jam mixture however this will reduce the storage life of your jam. Jam with the standard amount of sugar should last up to 6 months. Jam that contains 2:1 fruit to sugar will only last up to 1 month. Traditional jam, which contains equal amounts of sugar and fruit can last up to 12 months. Regardless of sugar content, once opened, jam should be consumed within 3-4 weeks.
If your jam doesn't set
If your jam doesn't set, you either didn't heat it to a high enough temperature or your fruit didn't have enough natural pectin. If your fruit lacks pectin, you can add a commercial pectin product or home made pectin stock. If your jam is flavourless, dull and hard then you heated it to too high a temperature and next time you should check the temperature earlier.
If your jam goes mouldy
If your jam goes mouldy, you might not have sterilised your jars properly. If you store the jam in a damp place or don't put your jar covers on when the jam is still hot, this can also promote mould growth. If the jam ferments, the fruit may have been over-ripe or the jam may have been stored in too warm an area. Not boiling your mixture for long enough and adding too little sugar can both contribute to jam fermentation.