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  • FIRST POST
    • Alison_B
    • By Alison_B 25th Mar 05, 6:47 PM
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    Alison_B
    Making Jams
    • #1
    • 25th Mar 05, 6:47 PM
    Making Jams 25th Mar 05 at 6:47 PM
    I have recently become obsessed with all the additives that are in foods and the possible effects on my children.

    One thing one of my sons likes more than anything is jam. How easy is it to make your own jam, does it keep for a while and do I need any special equipment for making it. Or is it cheaper to buy organic jams?

    Thanks

    Alison
Page 1
    • Magentasue
    • By Magentasue 25th Mar 05, 8:19 PM
    • 4,201 Posts
    • 2,671 Thanks
    Magentasue
    • #2
    • 25th Mar 05, 8:19 PM
    • #2
    • 25th Mar 05, 8:19 PM
    Jam is easy but you do need a big pan - I use my pressure cooker (without the lid on). For me it's a summer thing and I haven't done it for a few years but intend to this year. So, best thing now is to start saving jars. Cheapest way is when fruit is really cheap so that has to be summer for me. I'm also planning on making Rumtopf. Back on jam, family favourites are plum and strawberry. Plums are often cheap after our Sunday market , strawberries only cheap enough when we do pick your own. And sugar ... granulated is fine, you don't need expensive preserving sugar. Basically you cook your fruit, dissolve the sugar and boil until the jam will set. Then you pour into jars and seal. I think Delia has recipes for freezer jam too - check her site.
    • foreverskint
    • By foreverskint 25th Mar 05, 8:45 PM
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    foreverskint
    • #3
    • 25th Mar 05, 8:45 PM
    • #3
    • 25th Mar 05, 8:45 PM
    I recommend you hunt around the charity shops for an old cookery book. Different fruits have different levels of pectin (required for the jam to set), and many old books give you correct recipies for the type of fruit you want to use. Soft fruits such as strawberries jave a low pectin level and so do not set easily and people often make the mistake of boiling and boiling until they end up with a toffee flavoured brown yuk. Pluums have a very high pectin level and is one of the easiet jams to make and is a good one to start on if you've never made jam before.

    If you want to use a fruit low in pectin, you can add a commercial pectin such as Certo, or use a jam sugar which has pectin in it..

    The most important thing when making jam is to cook your fruit before you add the sugar, or the fruit skins will stay hard. with soft fruit it is better to add the sugar when the fruit goes into the pan, so that you get nice whole bits of strawberry etc.

    The nice thing about homemade jam is that the flavour is fresher and you can have it made to the set that you prefer. we like the soft french style set, which can be really expensve in the shops but cost about half when made at home.

    look out a car boots and charity shops for a preserving pan. New they are at least 25-30 for a reasonable quality, but can be picked up second hand for 2-5. these are great when you want to make large quantities.

    For a beginner try making a quantity of 2lbs of fruit and 2lb sugar,. This is a manageable quantity and if it does not turn out right first time, you haven't wasted a lot.

    Don't forget to clean and sterilise the jars, and heat them in a low oven before adding hot jam to them of you can crack the jars. Seal the pots with wax discs and cellophane and store in a cool dark place and it will keep well for up to a year. for better keeping make sure the fruit is unblemished and fresh, although I do use mushy fruit,if we are gong to make a small quantity and eat it quickly.

    Lots of fruits can be used, peaches apricots anything you can get in quantity as a bargain. markets are great I often get things like a box of peaches or apricots at the end of the day.
  • mink35
    • #4
    • 25th Mar 05, 10:31 PM
    • #4
    • 25th Mar 05, 10:31 PM
    Making jam doesn't have to be complicated and you don't always need pectin as lemon juice can do the job.

    Strawberry jam in a microwave is easy and can be done one jar at a time.

    One pound strawbs, juice one lemon, 7oz sugar. (low sugar recipe)

    Slightly cook strawbs with juice (on the cooker will be fine but leave some 'lumps'). Put into big microwaveable bowl with sugar. Cook on full power for about 6 mins then stir. Continue to cook and stir every minute or so after that. Should be done after about 20 mins. Test by putting some on a plate and running a spoon through - if it stays 'wrinkled' it's done.

    Most berries will work with this recipe. If you do plum jam you need to add about 2 tbsps water before cooking. Not tried blackcurrant.
    Mink
  • Ted_Hutchinson
    • #5
    • 26th Mar 05, 8:30 AM
    • #5
    • 26th Mar 05, 8:30 AM
    Lakeland sell new lids for screw top jam jars and you can also get them from WI Country Markets.

    I don't always use new lids but I do prefer to use metal lids than the cellophane method referred to above. I've had no problems re-using clean and undamaged lids but I wouldn't re-use a curry pickle lid or anything which still carries an odour after coming out of the dishwasher.

    You need to ensure that the jars are hot from the oven before putting the hot jam in and if you have a full 10lb load to do keep the jampan on a low heat to ensure the last jar to be filled gets piping hot jam.(If you have a jam thermometer then it needs to be above 180F 82C when it goes into the jar) You can fill the jars nearly to the rim as it will shrink as it cools.

    After screwing on the lid I invert the jars while hot to ensure the lids are sterilised, some fruits tend to sink to the bottom of the jar so allowing the jar to cool slightly upside down for a bit helps keep the fruit evenly distributed when you turn it back, but do this while it is still warm and not completely set. You need a good pair of oven gloves to manage this technique but as many lids have a pop up section they give a visual/audible signal that the seal is good.
    Last edited by Ted_Hutchinson; 26-03-2005 at 8:38 AM. Reason: further clarification
  • mink35
    • #6
    • 27th Mar 05, 9:52 PM
    • #6
    • 27th Mar 05, 9:52 PM
    I don't always use new lids but I do prefer to use metal lids than the cellophane method referred to above.
    by Ted_Hutchinson
    Same here Ted. It's much easier and they self-seal as well.
    Mink
    • Alison_B
    • By Alison_B 28th Mar 05, 5:31 PM
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    Alison_B
    • #7
    • 28th Mar 05, 5:31 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Mar 05, 5:31 PM
    Thanks everybody for the posts. Will give it a go in the summer. I have Le Creuset pans so I presume they will be OK to use. Not terribly confident about having a go though.

    Alison
  • Ted_Hutchinson
    • #8
    • 28th Mar 05, 8:10 PM
    • #8
    • 28th Mar 05, 8:10 PM
    I haven't got a Le Creuset pan large enough for Jam making and I'm not sure I would want to.

    Jam pans, which can often be picked up cheap at car boots, usually have tallish sides in relation to their base diameter. When the Jam comes up to a full rolliing boil it needs quite a bit of room and I wonder if the sides on large Le Creuset pans are actually high enough.

    Another problem with you pans might be the fact that when you get to the point where the Jam is about to set you need a bit of time when the Jam isn't going flat out. Aluminium and Stainless steel pans don't keep the heat like Cast Iron so when you think the jam is nearly ready and you put a spoonful on a cold plate to test if it crinkles when cold, you need a couple of minutes to "hold" the jam where it is rather than continue at full rolling boil.

    You wouldn't want to be moving a large Le Creuset about full of boiling jam and particularly if your on an electric hotplate you might find by the time the test plate was showing the setting point was reached you might also find the jam had continues cooking and the set was stronger than desired. You really need to speak to someone whose used cast iron for jamming.

    One more tip if you've got a pressure cooker they are excellent for speeding up the preliminary cooking of the fruit and because you only use half the recipe water quantity you find it speeds up the boiling time after the sugar has been added.
    • ocemeer
    • By ocemeer 28th Mar 05, 10:45 PM
    • 417 Posts
    • 1,451 Thanks
    ocemeer
    • #9
    • 28th Mar 05, 10:45 PM
    • #9
    • 28th Mar 05, 10:45 PM
    marmalade is good for now as there isnt any seasonal fruit around but loads of oranges and lemons. Lemon curd is very easy to do and for something different ginger marmalade. I dont have a jam pan at the moment (am getting my grans when she no longer makes jam) so use the biggest widest saucepan i own as the wider they are the better. will look up some simple marmalade recipes amd jams that are in season now and pm them to you if you want.
    • Sarahsaver
    • By Sarahsaver 29th Mar 05, 8:04 AM
    • 8,219 Posts
    • 13,174 Thanks
    Sarahsaver
    Surely theres not a lot of additives in jam?
    It is easy to make jam but from a safety point of view, only when the kids are well and truly out if the way - either in bed or at school
    Member no.1 of the 'I'm not in a clique' group
    I have done reading too!
    To avoid all evil, to do good,
    to purify the mind- that is the
    teaching of the Buddhas.
  • HOLsale
    i can recommend a few excellent books for all sorts of preserving not just jam!

    Book of Preserving - Sonia Allison ISBN: 0715378171

    The Country Store: Traditional Food, Country Crafts, Natural Decorations
    Stephanie Donaldson ISBN 1840382457

    Sloe Gin and Beeswax
    Jane Newdick ISBN: 1853689734

    all of these books are available on amazon, i just checked!

    i haven't made a lot of jam, chutney is more my thing but it's nowhere near as difficult as you think it will be. if you keep your opened jars of jam in the fridge they will keep longer (this works with store bought jam as well) the instructions given by the others are excellent advice!

    Magentasue mentioned a rumtopf (rumpot) we will be doing that this year ourselves, this is covered in the sonia allinson book for anyone that is interested
    • misty
    • By misty 26th Jun 05, 8:33 AM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 700 Thanks
    misty
    You can find the answer to anything to everything on this site can't you. I was just wondering whether the fact my first ever home made jam - made in the breadmaker - with strawberries picked by my son was supposed to be runnier than the shop bought. typed in jam making and there you go - it's down to the low levels of pectin. even if i do say so myself it is delicious and was served on my HM bread - can't believe - i have made jam and that it was so easy!
    • squeaky
    • By squeaky 26th Jun 05, 9:30 AM
    • 13,808 Posts
    • 15,843 Thanks
    squeaky
    If it isn't already here, you can bet that somebody knows where to find it
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
    • grunnie
    • By grunnie 26th Jun 05, 9:48 AM
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    • 10,217 Thanks
    grunnie
    The only jam I make is raspberry. It is so easy and after 30 odd years of making it I have got it down to a fine art. I freeze my home grown rasps in bags of 1kg. When I want to make some jam I put one bag of sugar 1kg into a large pan and add the frozen rasps on top. Leave overnight and when it is thawed out I boil it for 8 minutes. then leave on the cooker to cool. Then I either put it into jars or clean plastic tubs. If you are putting hot jam into glass jars remember to put a large spoon into the jar to absorb the heat. I once cracked a glass jar full of hot jam What a mess! By freezing my own rasps I can make jam all year round
  • Queenie
    ....
    It is easy to make jam but from a safety point of view, only when the kids are well and truly out if the way - either in bed or at school
    by Sarahsaver
    We'll have to agree to disagree on that point of view - I have wonderful memories of my Mother making jams, chutneys, marmalades when I was a young girl. Just so long as common sense is applied and the obvious precautions, there's no reason children can't be around watching the process, enjoying the aroma and learning that not all things originated in a supermarket.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PMS Pot: 57.53 Pigsback Pot: 23.00
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    • grunnie
    • By grunnie 26th Jun 05, 10:18 AM
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    grunnie
    My three sons plus husband were never far away when I was making jam. they faught over who got first dibs on the nearly empty pan. Also I usually made pancakes at the same time.
    • Zziggi
    • By Zziggi 26th Jun 05, 2:01 PM
    • 2,388 Posts
    • 2,234 Thanks
    Zziggi
    kind of along these jam making lines...

    can anyone remind me how you sterilise the jars before putting the jam in them. I know you can wash them thoroughally with warm water then put them in the over to sterilise - i just can;t remember what temperature and for how long.

    Can anyone help please?
    • squeaky
    • By squeaky 26th Jun 05, 2:10 PM
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    • 15,843 Thanks
    squeaky
    We've had mention of that in a recent thread too

    Hm... all I've got to do now is find it...

    Edit: Actually it was about pickling jars but the same rules apply.

    To see the thread Click Here
    Last edited by squeaky; 26-06-2005 at 2:14 PM.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
    • apprentice tycoon
    • By apprentice tycoon 26th Jun 05, 3:06 PM
    • 3,286 Posts
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    apprentice tycoon
    If you only want one or two jars you can put them in the microwave with a little water in, boil, then tip the water out while still hot so any remaining water will evaporate away within a minute or so
  • KTFrugal
    For sterlising jars, wash them well in hot soapy water or the dishwasher, then place in a cold oven and bring it up to gas 3/ 300f for 15 mins (or more). If you bung them in before you put the fruit in the pan, they'll be ready when you are.

    Once you've ladled the jam in (to the brim), put the wax paper lid on right away. You can clean up the sticky bits later when it's all cooled down.
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