I remember when I first started to make jam, many moons ago, I bought a book which told me I had to have so many technical instruments and ingredients, copper bowls, this, that and the whatever and as I grew older I just thought, ah....life's too short! Now I make good honest thick, tasty, fruity jam with just 2 ingredients, it takes about 15 minutes to cook and it is fool proof. This way of making jam has never failed me once! The jam is not super sweet and sickly like some commercial jams, you can actually taste the fruit *gasp*.
Pectin is a 'big thing' in jam making. It is a naturally occurring substance in fruit and some veg that when mixed with sugar allows fruit to set with a soft crushed jelly texture. The key with this recipe is mixing fruits with naturally high and medium-low levels of pectin which then gives you a good all round flavour and set.
- 1kg Mixed Fruits - I use 500g Asda mixed summer berries and 500g Asda mixed black forest fruits berries - these 2 mixes (come in boxes of fruit in the freezer department) are an excellent pectin level mix.
- 1kg Jam Sugar - Jam sugar already contains pectin too. I use the Whitworths jam sugar.
I use a heavy based pan for my jam making. As you can see below, my pan is very beaten up, and it is kept now for jam making, but although it may be old and battered, it is an excellent pan for making jam in!
- First of all, ignore everything you know or have read about jam making. If you follow this recipe, you will have perfect fruity, tangy jam every time :)
- Place the all the fruit and all the sugar in a pan and mix it up, so it looks like the fruit is covered in sugar snowy frosting.
- Place on a low heat so that the sugar starts to melt very gently and slowly at first, keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved and you are left with a lovely juicy sweet fruity smelling warm mix.
- Bring the heat up and allow the fruit and sugar to start to gently simmer. Once it starts to simmer grab your trusty potato masher and give the fruit a gentle crush (or personally I just mash it up like a mad woman but I have never been very lady like ;) ), you don't want to obliterate the fruit, just crush it up a little. Your fruit and sugar is still on the heat at this point so please be very careful.
- Once the fruit is crushed, bring the jam mix up to the boil and as it starts to boil it may produce a foamy, scummy surface, if this happens just skim it off with a spoon and discard. This is the acid and juice of the fruit mixing with the hot sugar and completely normal.
- You will probably never get rid of all the scum and that is fine, this is home made jam after all! Now once most of the scum has gone, start to boil your jam rapidly. A real rollicking boil (try saying 'a real rollicking boil' after a tipple or two!) and leave it boiling for 6 minutes with the occasional stir every 30 seconds or so.
- With this recipe, you don't need to keep checking setting points or temperature, just trust the jam, it will work as long as you keep it on a hard boil for 6 minutes.
- After 6 minutes has passed, give the jam a really good stir and remove from the heat. Leave for 1 hour to cool and stir again. After 1 hour the jam will still be quite warm and very watery, do not panic, just stir. Lay a clean kitchen towel or cloth over the pan.
- Leave to cool for 3-5 hours until completely cold and once completely cold, stir the jam again. The jam will have set and be ready to portion out into sterilised jars or sterilised plastic containers.
- You can also freeze this jam! It will last about a year in the freezer if you use plastic pots like I do :)