Inspired by my PYO adventure and the words of the late, great Bob Marley “Ooh, yeah! All right! We’re jammin’: I wanna jam it wid you. We’re jammin’, jammin’, And I hope you like jammin’, too...” I decided that it was time to embark on my first foray into the world of preserved fruit!
Gathering together my booty (which included Strawberries, Raspberries, Redcurrants and cherries from the farm plus a few blackcurrants from the mysterious bush at the bottom of my garden) I was ready to rumble.
It was much easier than I anticipated (although saying that, part of this creative anticipation involved a trip to casualty and a couple of third degree burns). Scales, fruit, jam sugar, pan, cold plate, wooden spoon, couple of jars – boil, stir heat, bubble…Hey presto…Jam.
For those of you that fancy your own foray into the world of preserved fruit here is my recipe (if you don’t have a mysterious blackcurrant bush at the bottom of your garden or for that matter feel like adding a different selection of fruit, then go for it. We are free, easy and breezy here – just make sure that the fruit to sugar ratio is the same and it is all good!)
50g Blackcurrants (from the mysterious bush at the end of the garden)
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1kg Jam Sugar
A couple of Sterilised Jars (I used three)
- Rinse and chop up the fruit and pop into a big pan on a low heat for about 30 mins. Stir at random points to make sure that it isn’t burning. Also during this time, remember that you forgot to put in the lemon juice and frantically rummage through the fridge until you find a lemon and squeeze enthusiastically into the pan. Alternatively you could just add it to the pan at the same time as the fruit. Completely up to you!
- Find a saucer and pop it in the fridge.
- While the fruit is reducing down to a fruity porridge-like gloop (you can assist this along by grabbing a fork and squidging at the blueberries until they burst against the side of the pan in a very satisfying way), spread the sugar out on a baking tray and pop in a warm over for about 10 mins (apparently this helps it dissolve quickly into the fruit which minimises fruit cooking time and keeps hold of all those yummy, delicious nutrients).
- Remove the sugar tray from the oven and add to the fruit without dropping any (if you manage this then I take my hat off to you). Keep on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Now whack the heat up and get that mixture boiling like a demon (or to a rolling boil if you prefer). The intention is to get it to around 105 degrees. If you are really fancy you can use a thermometer but personally I think that the potential addition of mercury to my jam isn’t quite what I was aiming for. Basically, when it gets to the thunderous boiling point, leave it for about a minute and then it is time for the wrinkle test.
- Find the saucer that you put in the fridge earlier (which may or may not have slipped down the back of the condiment sculpture and be nestled between a bottle of Peroni and some ornamental pickled Quails eggs) and put a spoonful of jam on it. It will cool down super quickly and all you need to do is give it a little prod/loving caress with your finger and if it wrinkles up it is time to get Jammin (if it doesn’t just bring the pan back to a rolling boil for one more minute and repeat the test).
- If there is any froth action on the top of the jam just skim it off.
- Pour the yummy jam of goodness into hot sterilised jars right away (who needs cooling down time!) and get those lids on before the jam has cooled. Now you have three (or more) jars of delicious homemade summer jam that are completely sterile and should last unopened for about a year.
Hooray. Now, you can wander around with your jam telling everyone that you meet how clever you are. Darn it, you could even go wild and dedicate a whole blog post to it!