If you are looking for a definitive jam recipe from someone who knows what they are doing this is not it. I sort of made this up as I went along and the recipe that follows is how I may do this in future knowing now what I did right/wrong. I will highlight all the mistakes I made so hopefully you won’t make them too! It still tastes pretty epic by the way but if you want something foolproof…I recommend going elsewhere!
This makes quite a tart jam, so if you have a sweeter tooth obviously up the sugar.
Makes…quite a lot!
1.5 kg summer berries, I used (575g blackberries, 500g raspberries, 500g blackcurrant and 200g blueberries. I realise that doesn’t add up to 1.5 kg but I’m trying to make the weights a bit more scalable)
6 tbsp orange juice
4 tbsp lemon juice (+keep the lemon, pips** and all)
2 tbsp lime juice (+ keep the lime, pips and all)
handful fresh rosemary
handful fresh thyme
handful fresh lavender
3 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp ground nutmeg
Squeeze your juices into a deep pan (as deep & wide as you can: jam is like magma when boiling and it has a tendency to jump out and attack you). Get your herbs, put them in a piece of cloth or something porous, with the remains of the lemon and lime (pips and all!) and bind with some twine. Crush with your hands to release the smelly loveliness. This would be a good point to sterilise some jars for preserving, so fill a bowl with soapy water, set the oven to a low heat, wash the jars then stick them in the oven to dry. (Read here for a little more info).
Add 2/3 of all the fruits to the fruit juice over a medium heat and bung in the lovely smelly sack. DON’T ADD ANY EXTRA WATER***. Stir regularly with a spoon and after 10-15 minutes add the sugar, nutmeg and vanilla essence. Continue to bubble away until the fruit is reduced and mushy and somewhere between liquid and solid. Add your remaining fruit – this way you get some mushed-down, jelly-type spread and hopefully some whole fruit too, yippeee – and turn the heat right up for 10 minutes or so. Really my timings are very rough – leave it as long as you deem necessary, the longer you do obviously the stiffer your jam will be.
Please be aware the area around the pan can and will get fairly splattered so don’t wear your favourite-brand-new-turquoise-shorts-that-are-so-good-your-girlfriend-steals-them****.
Remove your jar/s from the oven when dry and immediately fill with the hot jam – a funnel is really useful at this point. Seal the jars as soon as they are full so a vacuum is formed. Leave on the side to cool for a few hours before putting in the fridge, otherwise the glass is liable to crack due to the rapid change in temperature.
Serve on toast, in peanut butter and jam sandwiches (I used to be a non-believer, but my god they are awesome – honestly if you’ve never tried one you really ought to), in puddings, y’know, wherever you usually use jam…!
*I used 300g of sugar (initially only 200!) and having had it for my lunch to say I have to say it was a little on the…tangy…side, even for me (and I’m usually one for cutting down the sugar in recipes by a lot).
**I didn’t include the pips but apparently they are a big source of pectin which is what is put in jam/jam sugar to help it solidify. So include yours!
***I added 100ml of water – BIG MISTAKE. The berries create plenty of liquid themselves and the extra water just meant it took forever to reduce. Honestly, although it might not seem like it at first you don’t need to add any.
****I got jam splodges on my favourite-brand-new-turquoise-shorts-that-are-so-good-your-girlfriend-steals-them *shock*. Fortunately my dad was there to very kindly wash them while I continued to tend to my jam…in my boxer shorts…
And on that beautiful image I shall leave you! Have a jamtastic time ;]