Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Blackberry & Apple Jam

Ingredients & Instructions -
I find, sometimes I just want to make a couple of pots of jam, and this recipe is sufficient for just about 2 pots.

8 ozs. of Blackberries
9ozs. cored and chopped apples (no need to peel)
1/2 lemon - juice and zest

1. Cook slowly (don't use an aluminium pan) until the fruit is very soft - approx. 15/20 mins.
2. Sieve the fruit and weigh the pulp.

Use 12 ozs. of sugar per 1lb. of fruit pulp.
for 8ozs. of fruit - use about 10ozs. of sugar.

3. On a very low heat, stir in the sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
4. Bring to the boil very slowly, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, - approx. 15-20 mins

It may reach 'setting point' earlier - test a blob of jam on a cold plate - if it wrinkles, and isn't runny), then it should be fine.  If you have a jam thermometer - check using this.  I prefer a softer set jam so usually judge it by 'look and feel' :) - (apologies for not being more technical.)

 the last test will be a 'thick set', so do not overboil if you like a looser jam

5. Leave about 15 mins. to settle.
6. Pour into sterilised jars, and lid (you can use the little wax discs before lidding.) 
Label, once the jars are cooled.

(a) You can use any collection of fruit/berries: ie. plums, blackberries, apples, blueberries, red currants, cherries, etc. - remember to add some lemon juice as this helps the jam set.  You may have to check on how much pectin a particular fruit has, as you will not have to add so much lemon juice. 

(b) If things go wrong - if the jam hasn't set after cooling and potting, tip it all back into the pan and reboil, adding more lemon juice. 
If you have over-cooked your jam and it has become rubbery - (you'll find this out usually once it's cooled) - put it back into a saucepan, add some boiling water, a small amount at a time, stirring well, until it has achieved the right 'softness'. 

(c) If a mould develops on the surface of the jam in a jar, remove it with a clean spoon along with about half an inch (1cm) of the jam underneath.  The rest of the jam will not be affected - and place a waxed disc dipped in brandy on top :)

(d) Don't worry if any scum rises to the surface while the jam is boiling - if you keep skimming it, you  may well not have much jam left!  Wait until you have a 'set' then remove the jam from the heat and stir in a small knob of butter, which should disperse the scum.

(e) To sterilise your jars if you're in a hurry - you can pour boiling water (carefully) into your jars and lids - I find this works just fine.

You can, of course, make the jam in the Microwave, first pureeing the fruit, stirring in the sugar, then in increments of 1 - 2 minutes at a time (on High), stir and test.  It's pretty easy going - and difficult to burn the jam, although you can overjam it! :)

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