Jam Story

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A few weeks ago towards the end of summer we decided to go blackberry picking on the downs. This year the blackberries seemed to be early and in huge abundance.  We came back with several containers of all shapes and sizes loaded with black ripe juicy berries.  I didn’t know what I wanted to make but for some reason I decided on blackberry jam.  I had never made jam before and I don’t know why I thought it would be a good time to start when I was already cooking dinner late on a Sunday afternoon.

The process was surprisingly quick and easy.  The recipe below is faithful to the original but also open to being adapted.  I decided to halve the recipe since it was all a bit of an experiment and put the leftover berries in the freezer.  I also discovered that I didn’t have enough sugar or the right sort so ended up reducing the sugar amount by a third which suited my healthy sensibilities.  You may not know this...but jam contains A LOT of sugar.  Watching the sheer amount of the stuff as I weighed it out on the scales was scary.   I ended up using half granulated brown sugar and half demerara.  The end result didn’t seem to suffer for this.  In fact my husband, who never eats jam unless a scone is involved, became a jam eating monster.  I’d never seen him consume so much jam on toast.

Makes 1.2 litres/4 jam jars
900g/2lb fruit
900g/2lb sugar
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
Put the blackberries in to a heavy based saucepan or if you are really flash a preserving pan.
Add 50ml of water and 1 ½ tbsp of lemon juice.  Bring to the boil.
Simmer for 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Pour in the sugar and stir over a low heat until it has dissolved then turn up the heat to bring it to a full rolling boil for about 15 minutes.  Do not stir until the setting point of 105°C is reached.  (I ended up boiling mine for about 20 minutes before reaching setting point.  You may find yours takes a longer or shorter time.)
Remove the pan from the heat and skim off any excess scum.  Leave for about 15 minutes before pouring in to sterilized jars, label and seal.
Some extra notes:
I don’t have a jam thermometer so I used the frozen plate method.  Place a plate in the freezer until it is nice and cold.  To test if your jam has reached setting point remove the plate from the freezer, take a small dollop of jam from your boiling pot and drop it onto the plate, if it sets then it’s ready, if it remains runny then keep boiling the jam and try again in a few minutes.  I found this took several attempts.
I am not an expert on sterilizing jars.  You can find many different methods by looking this up online.  I’d hate to think I’d given you rogue jam jar sterilizing advice. 

No comments:

Post a Comment