Top 10 Tips for Making Jam

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. 

 

1.    Fruit

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. 

blackberries

2.    Sugar

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!

 

3.    Pectin

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.

juicing lemons

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. 

cooking raspberry jam

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.

jam jars

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.

 

Happy jamming!

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,

Kate x

What is Pectin?

You’ll see that many recipes for jams and preserves contain an ingredient called pectin, but do you know what it is and why it is needed?

Pectin is a starch and is found naturally in fruit and vegetables, giving them their structure. When combined with sugar and acid, and cooked to a high temperature, it forms a gel. Unlike gelatine, which is derived from animals, as pectin is found in fruit it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 

Seville oranges

Pectin is mostly concentrated in fruit pips, cores and skins, and different fruits have different levels of pectin. High pectin fruits include cooking apples, blackcurrants, plums, oranges, lemons and cranberries. Low pectin fruits include strawberries, blackberries, rhubarb and figs. 

Blackberries

As citrus peel has a really high percentage of pectin, when you see natural pectin used in recipes, this will generally be citrus pectin and is what we use in our jams. 

If you are making jam at home, you can also make your own pectin rather than buying some. Most homemade pectin recipes use apples, such as this one below:

Apple Pectin Recipe

1.35kg apples (underripe or green apples work best)

950ml water

2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

1. Wash the apples and cut in quarters

2. Place in a large pot with the water and lemon juice

3. Simmer until tender (30-40mins)

4. Strain through a jelly bag or several layers of cheese cloth

5. Boil the strained liquid to reduce by half (20 mins) stirring occasionally

6. Freeze until required

So why do we use pectin? Adding pectin allows you to cook your jam for a shorter period of time, which means you can achieve a fresher fruit flavour and colour, as well as retaining larger pieces of fruit in your jam. It also gives you a lighter texture compared with cooking your jam for a long time to achieve a set.

How much pectin to use varies by recipe depending on the type of fruit and whether it is a high or low pectin fruit, the set you want to achieve and how long you want to cook your jam for.

Much jam love,

Kate x