Monday, 3 September 2012

Jam making

I made jam for the first time last week, it was perhaps the most stressful thing I have ever done in the kitchen, all that heat and steam, testing and measuring, boiling and bubbling, sterilising and stirring!  But I am pleased with the results, 9 jars of delicious plum jam which should keep me going for oh say 9 weeks!! (I love jam!)
It was definitely worth doing and I have a general sense of smugness knowing that I have saved money on jam and jars having foraged for the plums, so they were free and re-used old jars, also free, and I am now self-sufficient for jam for a good few months I hope.
Gathering the plums was also a delight, I used my cherry picker (looks a bit like a finshing net with a claw on the end) the plums are smaller than the commercial kind, but jkust as sweet and tasty!  We gatheres small yellow ones from a group of bushes wild red ones, and purple ones that were over hanging onto a foot path from someone's garden (used thos for a plum cake).
I thought I would share the recipe with you, not many photos I am afraid, I was too stressed to take any!

6lbs (2.7kg) plums, de stoned,
61/2lbs (3kg) sugar,
1/2pint (0.3 litre) water,
1 packet of pectin (optional).

Wash and de-stone the plums and cut in half, crush the stones and place in a muslin bag, they have most of the pectin in them and this process saves straining them out after).  Simmer with the water until tender, test for pectin by putting a teaspoon of cooled fruit juice into a jar with 3 tsp of methylated spirit, shake and leave a minute, it the fruit juice has formed a lump then you have enough pectin, if not add commercial pectin.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove the stones and boil hard until setting point (222 degrees f or 105 degrees c), test for set by putting a little jam onto a saucer, if the surface wrinkles when you push it with your finger then it should set.  Pour the jam into sterilised jars and put the lid on tight.


As as if by magic:

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