Sometimes, I get a bit of this and a bit of that fruit wise. There are lots of things it can be used for. I’ll use it for smoothies, or fruity, oaty crumbles, or a pie, or clafoutis, or a sweet omelette, or even just as it is, maybe with a splash of cream or a dollop of yogurt. If I didn’t want to use it straight away, I might bag it and freeze it. I am, still, trying to run down the freezer, so don’t want to add anything else if I can help it.
This time, I decided to use it as a Summer Berry Jam
Summer Berry Jam
I had a few gooseberries, a couple of clusters of very ripe blackcurrants, some loganberries and raspberries, and a wrinkly apple for pectin, 556g in all.
Clean anything that needs it and place your fruit in a thick based pan, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to help the set and add a little acidity to the flavour. No water needed for this one.
Simmer very gently, with the lid on, to break the fruit down. Simmer until it is very soft, but don’t overcook it or you will lose the lovely fresh flavour of the jam.
Once everything is really soft, if you want a pipless jam, as I did this time (Mike doesn’t like the pips) pour it all into a sieve over a heatproof bowl. Using a large spoon, push and scrape at the mixture until you have extracted as much of the fruit pulp as you can, don’t forget to scrape the base of the sieve. Once you are happy you have it all, transfer it back to the saucepan and add as much sugar in weight as you had of fruit. Now simmer quite fast, with the lid off, until you reach setting point.
If you aren’t bothered about the pips, add the sugar once the fruit is well softened.
You can test the set by putting a teaspoon of jam on a cold saucer and putting it in the fridge for a couple of minutes. If it’s ready, it will have formed a skin in that time and when you push it gently with a finger you’ll see that skin. You can just about see the skin in this picture I think.
If you have a thermometer able to measure high enough, it should set when it reaches 105c/220f. Just keep simmering until it’s ready, but, on the other hand, don’t simmer more than necessary, or the lovely fresh flavour will gradually be lost.
While the jam is simmering, sort your jam jars out. I had already washed them, so popped them in a low oven to sterilise them. Some people use jars fresh from the dishwasher. Whatever you do, they need to be very clean, and dry. Any water in the jars allows a sugar syrup to develop, and over time, that may well grow mould, spoiling your lovely jam. And they need to be scrupulously clean so your jam will keep well, there must be no germs, bacteria or mould spores at all in the jars. And don’t forget the lids. If you are not using lids, cover the jam with a wax circle and the top of the jars with cellophane circles and elastic bands. Or use circles cut from cereal box inners and perhaps a pretty ribbon. A little gingham fabric looks fabulous. Anything that will keep the jam clean and dry will do the job. Or a reader has suggested turning the jars upside down while the jam sets, something I haven’t tried yet, but I will.
Once the jam is ready to set, stir in a generous knob of butter if there is any scum. I didn’t have any scum on this particular batch, so didn’t use any butter. Stir well to distribute the butter, spoon off any remaining traces of scum. Put your jars on a heatproof surface and carefully ladle in the jam. Be careful, splashes will badly burn you at this temperature.
This amount of fruit should yield 2 jam jars fulI. I usually put a very clean tea towel over the filled jars until they are just warm and only then put the lid on. The tea towel is to keep any mould spores in the air, off the surface of the jam.
Two beautiful jars of jam. It has a delightful fresh flavour, and just like the apricot jam I made recently, I’m sure I can taste that lemon juice!