Nothing beats homemade, but absolutely nothing beats homemade jam. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a jar of jam. In other words: I make my own jam all the time!
Is this really something for singles? Absolutely! Otherwise, I wouldn’t publish it on Singlemade ! 😉 Making your own jam isn’t a lot of work and just one kilogram of fruit yields 4 jars that will keep for a year. So perfect for a single, right? And it feels great to give someone a jar of your very own jam as a gift.
Strawberry-rhubarb jam is in my top-3 of favourite jams, so I’m sharing this one as a basic recipe. I’ve also included 5 tips to turn you into a proper jam master! Good luck!
Tips & Tricks: homemade jam
Tip 1: Never made jam before? Start with strawberries!
Don’t make it hard on yourself and start with the easiest jam in the world: strawberry! It’s foolproof! Once you’ve mastered strawberry jam, move on to variations, like strawberry-rhubarb, strawberry-blueberry, strawberry-apricot. This’ll teach you how to work with different kinds of fruit.
Tip 2: Don’t forget to taste!
Every batch of fruit is different, which means that every batch of jam needs different proportions of sugar. Don’t presume you’ll need 500 grams of sugar; one time it’ll be 200 grams, and the next time 300. So always taste the jam before bottling it.
Tip 3: Lemons, lemons, lemons!
My secret ingredient is freshly squeezed lemon juice. It binds the jam together more and adds flavour. If the taste is a little flat, just add some lemon. To much sugar? Add some lemon. A few drops really make a difference!
Tip 4: Buy seasonal fruit (and freeze it)
Your jam is only as good as the fruit you use. If the strawberry season’s over, the strawberries hardly have any taste at all, so you can’t make good jam out of them. So buy seasonal fruit. It’ll also be a lot cheaper. If you’re not in the mood to make the jam then and there, just freeze the fruit in jam-ready-quantities. Then when you’re ready you can just take out a bag of fruit, let it defrost and make delicious jam outside of the season!
Tip 5: Use a large cast iron (Ferleon) cooking pot!
Jam snobs say that you can only make jam in a copper pot. Well, I’m not a snob and I don’t have a copper pot. I only make small batches of jam (1 kg of fruit every time) in an ample pot. This helps spread the heat evenly and reduced the cooking time.
Speaking of heat: I always use a cast iron pot (check out the Ferleon-range, I highly recommend it!). It takes time to heat, so the fruit has time to release its moisture and has a lower chance of burning. Once heated, the pot is perfect for bringing the jam to a boil!
A little side note: always make sure your pot is squeaky clean, even when you’re cooking two batches back-to-back, in order to avoid burning.
Extra: skimming and conserving
Once the jam starts to foam, it means it’s just about ready. According to tradition, you then have to skim the jam, as the foam is said to contain impurities and to reduce the jam’s shelf life. First of all: the foam is yummy and an integral part of the jam experience if you ask me. Second: my jam is so delicious it doesn’t need a long shelf life ;-). Third: this would mean extra effort. In other words: I don’t skim my jam. :-p
The jam’s shelf life mainly depends on the sugar it the contains. I want a pure fruit-flavour, so my fruit-to-sugar ratio is usually just 1 kg to 300 gr. That’s nothing when you compare it to most jams that are made with 1 kg of sugar to 1kg of fruit. Keep this in mind while making jam: don’t make more than you can eat! 🙂
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Kim had never made jam before, but her strawberry-blueberry jam was right on the money! 300 gr sugar to 1 kg fruit was exactly right: the jam doesn’t need to be any sweeter! Kim did use regular pec instead of pec PLUS, causing her jam to be a bit too runny for sandwich use. So be sure to use pec PLUS if you don’t want to use a lot of sugar. If you want to add more, regular pec will work just fine.
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Have fun cooking and… bon appétit! 🙂