Food growing tips from the Community Garden Makers project - jam making

05 October 2014

Want to know what to do with all those lovely fruits that are maybe not at their best anymore or that you have too many of? Or do you just fancy trying something different?

Well then, why not make some jam? The easy way! No fancy pans, thermometers or gelling agents required.

This is what I did recently:

  • First, I picked some blackcurrants and red gooseberries. I then left them in the fridge for a week (intending to use them raw).  After forgetting to eat them, I looked at them a week later and saw that some had gone mouldy.  So I picked those out, washed them again and removed the stalks from the currants.
  • The gooseberries had little thick stalks on them too but they’re perfectly edible and a bit of a faff to remove from each gooseberry. They’re also a good source of roughage so I left them on!
  • I placed the fruit in a pan and added some sugar (about half as much as the fruit if you want a tart jam, like I did).  I also added half a peeled lime and a good chunk of fresh shredded ginger.
  • I then boiled this up for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the mixture didn’t stick. When it looked jam-like and thick I turned it off the heat.
  • In the meantime I had washed a suitable jam jar then placed it in the oven on a low heat for 20 mins to sterilise it. For more information on sterilising jam jars safely, see here.
  • I carefully took the jar out of the oven using oven gloves and scooped the jam mixture into the jar.  I then left it to cool, placing a clean piece of cloth over the exposed jar before sealing with an air tight lid once the mixture had cooled.
  • Et voila! Easy homemade jam which I’m still using 3 weeks later, having kept it in the fridge.

Good on toast, on scones, in yogurt or with a nice sharp white cheese such as Wensleydale or Cheshire - the perfect accompaniment!  My personal favourite?  French toast topped with my lovely jam.

Easy Blackcurrant And Gooseberry

Happy eating!

Deborah Ash (The Lazy Gardener), Community Garden Maker project.


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