I’ve promised myself that this year I’m going to be super creative and I also want to try more new things which is what has led to me jam making! My nana has always made jams and chutneys and they are so good that I often stand by the fridge with a spoon just eating them from the jar so I have some pretty big shoes to fill. In 1950 she was given a recipe book about preserving, and her sister was given one about needlework which led them both into hobbies that they have both carried through until today and, in my opinion, have both perfected.
My nan assured me that the best place for me start was with Blackberry Jam because blackberries are full of pectin, the agent which makes jams set. Luckily for me my mum had some frozen prepared blackberries and, apart from sugar and lemon, that’s all you really need. Here’s how simple it is to make:
1kg of blackberries
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Put the blackberries in a pan with just enough water to cover them. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the fruit is soft and the liquid looks like a blackberry paste. (I obviously skipped this part as the blackberries were already prepared so if you have frozen fruit just put it in a pan and heat until you get a liquid).
2. Add the sugar and the lemon juice and bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently for around 15 minuutes.
3. This is my nans top tip for jam making: before you start making your jam place a saucer in the fridge and let it chill. One you’ve boiled your mixture for around 15 minutes put a teaspoon of it on the saucer and put in back in the fridge for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes the sample in the fridge has a jam like texture then the whole batch is ready, if not then you need to put the mixture back on a rolling boil.
4. Make sure you sterilise the jars you’re planning on using beforehand and then once you’re jam is ready you can get them filled and sealed.
5. The only thing left to do is make yourself some cute little labels for the jars and bake some really thick fresh bread to slather the jam on.
I cannot describe how amazing the taste of homemade jam is. I love jam full stop but the homemade stuff really bursts with flavour and there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to taste the fruits of your own labour. I’m so excited to get started on some different flavours and add chutneys, relishes and jellies to my collection. I also think they’re going to make really sweet gifts when I’ve added some personalised labels.