Thursday, 23 August 2012


Yesterday I began my seasonal jam and pickle making. I just love making my own preserves it  must be my nesting instincts coming out, but I do find it so rewarding all those lovely jars full of goodies to take you through the winter. Gosh that sounds so corny but so true. Ha, ha, ha.

 So far I have made plum, apricot  and greengage jams but still have damson and blackberry jams to make  plus when the tomatoes finally finish growing. I'm afraid the old tomatoes have been a little late this year. Cucumbers now those I've got loads of them so many I shall have to start giving them away. 

One of my champ cucumbers

Any way for all those of you out there who love jam why not try making your own it really isn't that hard. Its really just a matter of fruit and sugar plus a lot of heat. If you want to give it a whirl here is my recipe for plum jam. Please note you can substitute any fruit for the plums just look out what is on offer or pick your own. But just you  have to remember some fruits have more pectic than others. 

Pectin for those of you do not know is what makes the fruit set. Fruit like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, apples, gooseberry, loganberries and cranberries  have high levels of pectin. Whereas, strawberries, blackberries,figs,peaches pears and plums have low levels of pectin. If you have a fruit with low levels of pectin you can buy pectin from the  supermarket in liquid or powder form. This pectin additive is normally derived from apples and therefore natural and organic to use.

Anyway if you want to give it a go here's the recipe 


2kgs Plums washed and stoned
125ml lemon juice 
1 litre water
2lgs jam sugar
plus pectin ( one sachet or liquid Certo)


Clean and chop plums place in heavy based saucepan and add water and bring slowly to the boil. Cook at a simmer plums until soft. This will take about 50minutes depending on the fruit.

I always think that it looks very unpromising to begin with looks as if it will never set
Place clean washed jars into an oven set at a low heat. This will ensure when you pour hot jam into jars they will not break.
Add lemon juice and sugar. If you use powdered pectin add it with sugar. For liquid pectin follow instructions on bottle.

Gradually heat until sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil and keep at biol for 20 minutes. Then test for setting. You will find the setting point is reached by placing  a spoonful of jam on a cold plate or saucer and then using your finger see if the surface wrinkles up when you drag it through jam. If this does not happen cook for longer.

I have also found, since I make a lot of jams, a sugar thermometer is useful as it is marked with a jam setting temperature. 

Once the setting point is reached you can then remove any scum from the top  surface and then having stirred mixture  decant jams into  warmed jars. Seal jars and for 2 minutes turn jars upside down allowing fruit to settle. 
Yum yum plum jam

Then once cooled label jars and store in cool cupboard . Note jams will keep for 6-12months. When opened its best to store in the fridge.

I think jams and preserves make great gifts at Christmas.I always try to make extra jars.To make them a little fancier I  cut out fabric covers for the tops and put on fancy labels and box or basket them up with other goodies such as home made truffles. I must say they are always very well received and in the years when Ive not had time to make them up they have been missed.              

 Having also tasted some of the jam Ive got to say its really fruity this year  

1 comment:

  1. Very much after my own heart. I have some pears and apples waiting for me to do something with them.