Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Just a Bit 'o Jam!

Hello there, hope you are all well.
Just a simple little post tonight - just a bit 'o jam making today.
An age old skill - something women (well mostly women I would think) have done down the ages, as I stood there stirring the hot, sweet, sticky stuff I thought of all the women who have stood in 'my shoes' as it were. All through the War - such an important task - preserving all the fruit they could find, and beyond - earlier and earlier. No doubt someone somewhere can tell us the earliest recorded jam making session!
I learned my jam making at my Grandmothers knee - where did you learn yours?
I know traditionally, maybe jam is made in the autumn to make good use of all the fruit available in the hedgerows, orchards and gardens, but looking in my freezer last night I decided modern day drastic action was needed.
I was doing a shop Online - so checking the cupboards, fridge, freezer and whatnot - and decided I really need to clear whats in the freezer before buying more. So I hauled out all the bags of fruit that had been carefully stashed in there last Autumn.

What a mixture I found - blackberries, damsons, sloes, apples, rhubarb and black currants!

All frozen solid of course, and not looking too appealing - but just fine for some 'mixed fruit jam/jelly!

I put them all in the jam pan to defrost overnight.
This morning I I put a cup full of water with them and gave them a good slow stew - to release all that lovely juice. I don't like bits in my jam so I make 'jelly' - I hang all the stewed fruit in a bit of muslin cloth the extract the juice.

Isn't it just a wonderful colour!

Look how it stains the muslin - so pretty.

Anyway - back to the jam! I measure the strained juice and add 1lb sugar for every pint of juice - dead easy. Put juice and sugar back into the clean jam pan -

give it a jolly good stir (over the heat) and make sure the sugar mixes in well.

Bring to the boil, and give a good rolling boil for a few minutes ( 10 minutes) and test for setting.
I put a little on a cold plate leave to cool for a couple of minutes, and if when you push the 'jam' with your finger the top 'wrinkles' - and the jam looks thick - like jam - surprisingly! your jam is ready to put into jars. If its still runny boil a bit longer and test again.

I sterilise my jars by giving a good wash and putting in a warm oven - just pull them out when ready to full with lovely fruity jam!

I saved a bit of the fruit pulp for the chickens - they do so enjoy a bit of fruit!

Even the bunnies were having a taste!
Lets hope its pepped up the old egg laying - they are a bit lacking in that department at the moment, mind you they are all 'Old Dears' nowadays. Maybe I need a couple of youngsters to liven them up.
Anyway a few jars of yummy jam, more room in the freezer, and happy chickens - a Good Day!!
xxx Take care for now xxx