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26th Aug 2015

Palmers' Jam Making Tips

Make the most of this summer's seasonal fruits with some homemade jam!

It’s August, it’s the height of summer and lots of fruits are currently in season; raspberries, strawberries, apricots and more. What this means for those of us that have fruit patches is LOTS of berries. Don’t let them spoil and go to waste, what better way to make use of all this juicy fruit, than to make some homemade jam!

When it comes to making jam, there are a few key ingredients for success, regardless of which fruit you choose:

  • Make sure your fruit is fresh, slightly under ripe if anything.
  • Temperature is key. Setting point is 104.5°C, and you will be able to tell when your jam is reaching this point, as it will slow to a calm rolling boil. With jam, it is better to underdo it than overdo it. If you pot your jam and it doesn’t set, don’t worry, you can just pop it back into the pan and boil it for a little longer.
  • Don’t try to make vats of jam all at once, as it will take too long to boil, so it may not boil fast enough to set properly.
  • Soft fruits should be coated in sugar before you put them in water, otherwise they will disintegrate.
  • Hard skinned fruits need to be simmered in boiling water a little before you add any sugar to them to make the jam.

 

With these, more general, tips aside, below is our tiptop recipe for one of our favs (popular amongst the sweet-toothed), the classic strawberry jam.

First things first, ingredients:

  • 1kg strawberries (wiped, not washed, as washing them will cause them to absorb too much water)
  • 750g jam sugar (this is just like normal sugar, but with more pectin added – pectin is naturally found in fruit, and is what makes your jam set)
  • You can add a knob of butter, if you like. We’ll let you know when to do this if you decide to, in the method.
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 lemon

Method:

  • The strawberries need to be hulled – this is quite a long job but definitely needs doing, as the stems will become hard and will ruin the lovely texture of your jam. This just means removing the stem, whether with a strawberry huller, or just by cutting a cone shape out around the stem.
  • Coat the strawberries in the sugar – just pop them in a bowl and toss them through the sugar until they are covered, and leave overnight at room temperature. This is so that your strawberries don’t disintegrate during boiling, so that you get a bit of chunky texture with whole pieces of fruit.
  • Sterilise your jam jars or containers with boiling water.
  • Pop a bowl or plate in the freezer – we’ll come back to this later.
  • Put your coated strawberries and all the sugar into a pan, juice your lemon and pop this in too. Simmer on a LOW heat – this needs to cook very gently or your sugar may crystallise and your jam will become runny. It is better to use a preserve pan – with sloped sides – so that there are no ‘hot spots’, which would cause your jam to heat unevenly.
  • Stir your jam, if all the sugar is dissolved and not grainy, you can increase the heat until you reach a rolling boil. Continue this for 10 minutes or so until your jam is at setting temperature.
  • If you have a thermometer, this is 104.5°C. If not, this is where the plate in your freezer comes into play. Spoon a little of the jam onto the plate or bowl, and poke it with your finger. If the jam forms a slight skin and it wrinkles when you push it, it is ready. If it still runs freely, you need to bring it back to the boil for a couple more minutes, and then repeat the process.
  • Next is the butter; stir through a small knob of butter – this will help to dissolve any scum that has formed on the top of your jam whilst boiling. Then leave your jam to stand for a little while, in order for it to thicken a little so that the chunks of fruit remain suspended throughout the jar when you come to fill your containers.
  • Fill your jam jars or containers to just below the brim, place a wax disc on top of the jam, then close the lid or cover with cellophane & elastic.
  • Decorate and label as you see fit! Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year and refrigerate and consume within a week once opened.

 

Jam making is a fantastic way to make the most of your seasonal fruits. If you're new to this, we have a great starter kit from Kilner here for just £15.99.

Jam making is a fantastic way to make the most of your seasonal fruits. Are you a seasoned jam pro? Or have you given our above recipe a try? Let us know in the comments below, or send us a picture @PalmerStores.

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