Equipment for making jams and preserves
1. Large wooden spoon - a wooden
spoon can be safely left in the jam
during cooking for constant stirring, whereas metal will become too
2. Jam or jelly pan - or a large, open topped saucepan that will allow
rapid evaporation during the boiling process.
3. Scales - for accurate weight of ingredients
4. Heavy duty plastic jugs for measuring and bottling
5. Funnel for bottling sauce
6. Clean jars and bottles preferably with lids
7. A hand held stab blender, a Moulinex mill or a sieve to blend fruit
Cooking Terms and Steps
in Making Jams & Sauces
the fruit for jams
The best products are made from
the best quality fruit. That being said, I have made very successful
batches of jams from windfalls and bird-pecked fruit provided it is
well washed and damaged parts cut away. Therefore, fruit should be of
a reasonable standard, washed and dried, trimmed, stoned if necessary
and cooked as soon as possible. Simmer gently until really soft and
mushy, ensuring that it does not begin to stick to the bottom of the
pan. This step is of the utmost importance. This step should take about
When the sugar has been dissolved,
raise the heat under the pan, until the fruit comes to a rolling boil.
Take care not to allow it to boil over, or catch on the bottom of the
pan at this stage. Constant stirring is necessary in the final stages.
The time taken to reach the setting
point is dependent primarily on the quantity of pectin contained in
the fruit, and the rate of evaporation. Using the wooden spoon, place
a small amount of jam on a cold saucer. Leave for approximately three
minutes and test by pushing it with your finger. If a skin has formed
on the top, and if it falls from the saucer back into the pan in a clot,
the jelly point has been reached.
Jar and bottle
Jars and bottles need to be scrupulously
clean and rinsed before storing upside down. Prepare them for bottling
by laying them on their sides on an oven rack, and sterilizing them
at 185 degree C - 350 degree F for 20 minutes.
Use a ladle to fill your pouring
jug. Fill the jars almost to the top. The jam will shrink back as it
cools. When you have filled a dozen or so jars apply the lids. Invert
the jars for one minute to ensure that the lid is sterilized by the
hot jam (handle the jars with an oven cloth or folded tea towel).
So, clear the kitchen table. Find
some fruit in season, for making your jam jelly, sauce or chutney and
get with it. For some years now I have frozen cut and stoned summer
fruit so that I can do the cooking in the cooler months of the year.
I have apricots and plums in my freezer, and am about to turn grapefruit
and lemons from my garden into bottled gold. There is nothing as enjoyable
as freshly made jam or tangy marmalade on a crumpet or on hot buttered
wholemeal toast for breakfast.