Monday, 24 September 2012
....until I complete a Limited Edition order for Teddy Bears of Witney... Look; a pretty kitty dressed in strawberry pinks and reds. She could just as easily be carrying a pot of just-made jam home from Granny's couldn't she? I have jam on my mind a lot now - since I made 2 different flavours in the last 2 weeks.It is soooo much easier than I thought it would be, and I can't think why I never tried before! There really isn't any mystic alchemy involved after all; in fact you can practically make it up as you go along*... which is what I did with this Strawberry / Blueberry Jam.
You will need: a large stainless "Dutch Oven" pot, or a maslin pan, a long wooden spoon, a small muslin bag (or a square to tie) a jam funnel, jam thermometer (not essential) and 4 or so jam jars. I bought the fruit straight off the shelves at Tesco when I found that a 1kg "crate" of strawberries was loads cheaper than buying lots of little punnets.
Strawberry / Blueberry Jam (with a hint of Rosewater)
150 gm Blueberries
1kg jam sugar (this is the one with added pectin in it)
Bottle of Rosewater concentrate (available from Lakeland; for those in the UK)
1. Wash fruit, remove any stalks, and strawberry leaves. Pare 4 or 5 large slices off the lemon rind. Juice the lemon (reserve this) then place rind, pips, and empty halves in to the muslin bag, tie securely.
2. Cut the strawberries; large ones in to 4 or so, smaller in 2 and leave the little ones whole.
3. Put the oven on (120 c ish) and place the washed jam jars on a tray upside down inside. I filled 1x 250ml, and 4x 150ml screw top Kilner jars with my finished jam.These will then be sterilised. Spread the jam sugar on a flat oven proof dish to warm through - pop in the oven.
4. Start heating the fruit in the pan, on a medium heat. Add the lemon juice, and the bag of lemon. Stir a little to encourage the juice to flow.After about 15 minutes the pan will be full of liquid with some whole stawberries and most of the blueberries visible. I did squash a few of the blueberries against the side to burst them. Add the warmed sugar slowly - stir to dissolve but don't allow the contents to boil yet.
5. After checking the sugar crystals are no longer visible, turn up the heat and boil, whilst stirring (you don't want any fruit to burn on the bottom) You can remove the muslin bag as the fruit bcomes more syrupy. The official temperature on the thermometer is 105c for "setting point", but you can tell by eye when the jam is starting to cling from the spoon and fall in drops rather than a stream of liquid. It takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes to get to this stage. Another way to test for setting is to put a little glass dish or saucer in the fridge when you first start, then drop a blob of jam on it when you think it's ready. After a minute see if the jam wrinkles when you touch it, and looks , well, like jam!
6. When the jam is the right thickened consistency, take pan off the heat and leave it for 10 minutes. Stir in a teaspoon of the Rosewater ( you could add more; it imparts a lovely Turkish Delight accent). Take the jam jars out. Place the lids in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Fill the jars using the funnel (it really makes things easier!) Use tongs to take each lid out, shake water off then place on the jar - it should suck in slightly, then you know the seal is tight.Screw the rings on if using. Turn each jar upside down for 2 minutes to distribute the fruit and sterilise tops fully. Then leave to cool.
Finally: Label jars with the date, and feel smug whilst the family "nom" the jam as often as possible, and give you loads of compliments!! Suddenly I have another culinary string to my bow ... and the 4 men round the table think I'm ever-so-clever. Smirk!
Go on , have a go .... you know you always wanted to!!!
TaTa for Now, Ruth xx
* Reading through jam recipies gives you an idea of fruit to sugar ratios, and also if fruit is lower in pectin, like "soft fruits". Pectin basically "sets" the jam.
image from Graphics Fairy