A couple of weeks ago Edd (from Bake Off) and I attended a jam making session hosted by Stoves and the WI in London. Jam is something I’ve only started doing properly this year, it always seemed the height of domesticity to me, which is why I never gave it a go! Time on my hands and hoards of natures finest (and free) blackberries and damsons pushed me into it.
The session came at absolutely the right time, we had a ball being taught how to make jam properly. Since then I’ve kept jamming and think we now have enough stashed in the garage to see us through till 2023!
The session was to tie in with the WI Real Jam Festival 20-21 November being held at Denman College, Oxfordshire. If you’re a master jam maker and would like to enter the competition you can find all the details here WI Real Jam Festival
So time to share with you the jam tips I learnt with my mix it up fruity jam.
1kg mixed berries
(I’m using a mixture of fruits that were hiding in the freezer – cherries, blackberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants)1kg granulated sugar100ml apple juice
You will also need:
a large preserving pan, I don’t have one so I use my big stew pot, it needs to be really big!jam thermometer3 or 4 jam jars (I’m reusing old jars)
Place the sugar into an ovenproof bowl and place into a cold oven.
Remove the lids from the jam jars and place upside down onto the shelf in the oven alongside the sugar.
Turn the oven on to 130c/Gas Mark 1.
The reason behind placing them in a cold oven is that if you were to put them straight into a hot oven they may crack so let them heat up gently.
Place the fruit into your large pan, add the apple juice and over a low heat simmer until soft (approx 15-20 minutes). The apple juice contains a good level of pectin which will help with setting and avoids the need for special jam sugar or the addition of commercial pectin. This bit of simmering is important to soften the skins of the fruits if you don’t get them soft at this stage when you add the sugar it’s game over and the skins will go like leather.
When you’re sure the skins of the fruit are soft enough add the warmed sugar and stir until completely dissolved. When the sugar is dissolved you won’t be able to feel it on the bottom of the pan when you stir and if you lift out the spoon to check, there will be no sugar granules visible.
Turn off the heat and remove any frothy scum from the surface of the jam with a spoon.
Remove the jars from the oven, being careful because they are hot and fill with jam. You need to fill them right to the very top. I find the best way is to ladle it into a jug and use a jam funnel – I’m a bit messy at the best of times and this gets all the jam in the jar!
Remove any air bubbles from the surface of the jam using a teaspoon and finally secure the lids and allow to cool.
It’s difficult to accurately predict how many jars your jam will fill as a lot will depend on the fruits you are using and the cooking time needed always have an extra jar handy in case you end up with more jam than you anticipated!
If you’re into jamming or want to invest in a some jam making supplies here are some useful links:
…and let me know if you’re entering the competition too!
Mix it up Fruity Jam
Finalist on BBC2 The Great British Bake Off