Thursday, 23 August 2007

Jam making and preserving

I've been busy this week making jam. I've had to stop now as I've run out of jam jars!
As I have such a glut of crab apples most of my jellies have been based on them.

I make all fruit jellies the same way. I simmer the fruit with water until it is soft and then let it drip through a jelly bag for several hours. The amount of water needed varies with the fruit, for the crab apples I almost cover the fruit with water but for fruits like redcurrants or blackberries I would use less.

The crab apples give a really nice coloured juice.

I add sugar to the juice in the ratio of 1 lb sugar to each pint of juice. My grandmother and therefore my mother always used this formula - I have not calculated what the metric equivalent would be, but it would not be as simple, or as easy to remember as 1lb to 1 pint.

The sugar is added to the juice and then the mixture is heated gently at first until all the sugar has dissolved. The heat is then increased until a "rolling boil" is reached. I find that this jam sets after about 15 minutes boiling but it will depend on the amount of water used to extract the juice in the first place. I don't use a thermometer, I just test for set by putting about a teaspoon of jam on a chilled plate and leaving it for about a minute. If when you gently push the mixture with your finger the surface wrinkles then it is ready if it is still runny continue boiling and test again after five minutes.
I sterilise my jars by putting them in the oven at about 120 C and the lids by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. With jam containing fruit pieces it is a good idea to let the jam stand for a while and let the fruit disperse evenly but with jellies I put the hot jam into the hot jars and immediately put the lid on. If the lids have "pulled a vacuum" once the jam is cold then the seal is fine. I had a couple that didn't seal this time and I will use these first, alternatively these could be stored in the freezer.

I have made crab apple and crab apple with blackberry ( 1 part blackberry juice: 2 parts crab apple)

and redcurrant and crab apple (equal volumes or each juice)

I also preserved some fruits without mixing them with crab apple!

I bottled some Victoria plums

and made some elderberry syrup/cordial.

Elderberries have anti-viral properties so hopefully this will help ward off colds and flu in the winter.

The jars are now all packed away in the cool darkness of the garage and will be brought out in the coming months when we want a little taste of summer.


Heather said...

i loved seeing all the pictures of your jam making! I'm just dreaming about it all this year. Last year my sister and I did gobs of jars. I've never done jelly, just jam. i loved the gizmo you have to strain out the juice, and the crabapple juice was beautiful! Thanks for sharing it all!

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Nice preserving pan! :)

Lisa said...

They all look fabulous :) I am looking forward to making a few of my own jams this summer

Moonroot said...

How inspiring! I made both blackcurrant and gooseberry jam earlier this summer and am looking forward to making crabapple jelly & wine soon. I'm also going to try elderberry syrup for the first time, inspired by you!

Leisa said...

Your jams and jellies look delicious. Pretty too with the light shining through them.