This year I’ve taken up the joys of small batch jam making. No more mountains of fruit bought at the market, 2kg of fruit from my garden is enough to make four or five pots. If you use my filling technique, with screw top jars, no need for coverings or fiddly sterilising. And besides, the jam will be gone well before it might spoil!
Pear or blackberry jam
For 4 – 5 pots
20 minutes preparation
6 hours resting
10 – 20 minutes cooking
Around 2kg prepared fruit
Juice of a lemon
75% sugar to weight of fruit
(I use a mix of jam sugar and normal sugar)
Prepare the fruit, peeled and cored if pears, washed and dried if blackberries.
Macerate the fruit with the sugar and lemon for at least six hours, overnight is great. At this stage I add split vanilla pods and a knob of fresh grated ginger to my pear jam. (There’s a little more lemon in there, too, which I add when preparing to keep them from browning.)
Then bring the fruit to a rolling boil in a large stainless steel or copper pot, stirring and skimming off any scum as you go. Cool a saucer in the freezer.
Test the jam when you see it start to thicken by putting a little on the cold saucer and seeing if it puckers and creases as you push it gently with your finger.
Fill the jam pots almost to the top, close tightly and immediately turn them over, tops down to cool. The boiling jam passes through the air and touches all surfaces, sterilising them as it goes and creating an airlock.
Turn the pots over when cooled and store in a cool, dark place.
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