Very Berry Jam
This is the easiest jam I make and also the one that people seem to like the best. I generally give my friends a little hamper at Christmas with allotment produce and I always include a pot of home-made jam. It makes a wonderful take-along present for parties too, a touch more personal and less usual than the bottle of prosecco. Which I am not knocking by the way, a bottle of fizz is always welcome in my house.
It’s easy because you use whatever fruit you have to hand; it doesn’t have to be home grown. We often have fruit for breakfast and if there are any manky strawberries or slightly soft blueberries left, I pop them in a freezer bag to save up and use in this mixed berry jam. As it happens, the raspberries in my allotment are producing a bumper crop this year, so this particular batch is raspberry based. I picked cherries, strawberries and black and redcurrants from the allotment and added some blueberries from the fridge that were a bit sad. Later in the season I might add some blackberries or gooseberries or even a fig or two from the tree next door.
If you are using a lot of low pectin fruit such as strawberries, you might need to add some pectin, use jam sugar or add in a handful of redcurrants, but the joy of a mixture like this is that all the fruits meld together and make up for each other’s deficiencies while making all their tastes sing in harmony.
I had two bags of frozen fruit mixture from the allotment/breakfast leftovers and a big harvest of raspberries, so I had 1.6kg of fruit.
The general principles of jam making are:
Makes 8 small jars Timings: about an hour
1.6kg mixed berries, stalks removed
1kg jam sugar and 600g granulated sugar
Place the fruit (defrost any you have frozen of course) in a large pan – the jam will rise up when it boils so better use a bigger one than you think. (Much bigger) Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar. Stir to dissolve and then let it boil merrily. Meanwhile, sterilise your jars.
Boil the jam until it reaches 104.5°C on your jam thermometer. Stir it every now and then as it bubbles just to stop anything catching on the bottom of the pan and adding a burned flavour.
Switch off the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes – to under 90°C.
Pour or scoop the jam into your jars, cover with a wax disc and the plastic cover held by an elastic band. Put the lids on your jars and screw on tight.
When cool, label the jars and store in a cool place until you use the jam. It will keep for at least a year.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.