Fruit jams are delicious and sweet and jams are best made when the fruit used is in season. Jams are great with scones, bread, cakes, pancakes … … Actually most food.
The choice of fruit for the jam is totally up to you but make sure the fruit is ripe but not over-ripe. As fruits lose their pectin once it matures, you can include some unripe fruits in the jam to allow it to set and gel better. For the jam to gel up, acidity needs to be between pH 2.8-3.5 (acid level the same like lemon juice mixed with a bit of sugar). If your fruit is not as tart as this, add a little lemon juice (2 tbsp for every 1.8kg of fruit) or citric acid (1/2 tsp for every 1.8kg of fruit).
The best jam is allowed to release its flavor first by macerating in its own juices. To achieve this, chop the fruits up and add sugar or spices to it. Let the ingredients sit overnight stirring them occasionally.
Here’s how to make the best jam 😉
1. Get the bottles ready
Wash and boil the jars to sterilize them. After washing, preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and place the inverted jars on a lined baking sheet and heat for 20 minutes. Keep the jars in the oven until needed. For the lids, boil them in hot water. Do not put the lids in the oven as the rubber on the lid would be spoilt!
2. Cook the fruit
Simmer the fruit until tender (5-45 minutes). Remember not to boil the fruit at this stage as this breaks down the pectin chains. Keep in mind that the fruit has to be SIMMERED SLOWLY and at LOW heat 😉
3. Add the sugar
In order to preserve the jam, add 60-65% of sugar to 40% of fruit. Adding any less sugar would cause the jam to spoil faster. If too much sugar is added, the jam would crystallize. For the sugar to dissolve faster in the jam, preheat the sugar in the oven at low heat. This also gives the jam a nice colour.
4. Boil until setting point
Once all the sugar has dissolved, boil the jam without stirring too much. This would take about 20 minutes. Boiling the jam any longer would destroy the pectin chains that have formed. To test if the jam has set, use either a saucer or do the flake test.