When developing our range of jams and preserves, we have found that there are a lot of things to consider if you want to make the most delicious jam. So, for those of you wanting to get into the kitchen to make your own jam, I thought I would share our top 10 tips to help you along the way.
There’s an almost endless choice of fruit available for jam making. Selecting good quality, tasty fruit will give you the best flavour for your jam. Seasonal fruit is often chosen for this reason.
A traditional jam recipe usually has equal amounts of fruit and sugar; however, you can play around with this like we have done where we use a lower amount of sugar in our recipes. There are various types of sugar you can use. Jam sugar has pectin added in, so we prefer to use granulated sugar and add pectin separately as you need different amounts of pectin depending on the fruit. Most importantly make sure the sugar has dissolved before boiling your jam otherwise it won’t set!
Occurring naturally in fruit, pectin makes jam set. Some fruits have low levels of pectin and so adding pectin will help get the set you desire for your jam. Read our What is Pectin? blog to find out more.
4. Lemon juice
Lemon juice adds both flavour and acidity to jam, and so having the right amount in your recipe will give a tasty balance with your fruit. A lot of commercial jams use citric acid as it’s cheaper, but we believe that lemon juice gives the very best flavour so that’s what we use.
5. Small quantities
We’re strong believers in small batch sizes so don’t feel tempted to make too large a quantity of jam in one pan. Smaller quantities will come to the boil quicker, keep your fruit whole and allow you to cook for a shorter time.
6. Cook times
The shorter time you can cook your jam for, the fresher, fruitier flavour you’ll achieve. Small quantities and levels of pectin both contribute to being able to cook your jam for a shorter time giving you a better jam.
7. Setting test
Each jam will take a different length of time to cook depending on the fruit you use. To know that it’s ready to pour, it’s best to regularly check the setting point once your jam is boiling.
8. Skim the scum
A scum will often form in your pan but don’t worry it is just trapped air and can easily be removed. Once you have the set you want, and you’ve finished cooking your jam, you can skim the scum with a ladle before pouring your jam into jars.
9. Sterilise your jars
You don’t want to spoil your jam at the final hurdle, so make sure your jars are nice and clean. Wash your jars in hot, soapy water and then pop them in the oven for 30 minutes to dry and sterilise.
10. Leave to cool before enjoying!
It’s really tempting to dig straight into your jam but leaving to cool allows the jam to fully set. Don’t worry this doesn’t take too long, so by the following day you’ll be able to enjoy your jam.
If you’d prefer someone to do the hard work for you, our full range of jams and preserves are available here.
Much jam love,