To make your jams, choose, collect and follow our tips of today and of yesteryear to make fragrant and tasty sweets to savor all year round and offer to your loved ones.
Apricot, peach, nectarine, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, plum, rhubarb…
Most fruits lend themselves easily to the preparation of jam, this sweet that was invented above all as a means of preservation.
Its implementation is very simple. The fruit must be freshly picked, firm and ripe.
They must not be stained or damaged.
Then just cook them with sugar until thick. It is this famous sugar that ensures the preservation of the jam.
Just the right amount of sugar
Clean strawberries, unpeeled fruits and the most robust with cold water. On the other hand, soft berries (raspberries, blackberries) do not need to be washed but simply removed from their impurities (leaves, stems…). The small fruits will be put whole in the jam tray (or in a large pot) while the larger ones will be cut into pieces. Then add the sugar. You can choose between granulated white sugar or classic powdered sugar, both of which work just as well as marmalade sugars. The usual dose is around 1 kg of sugar per 1 kg of fruit, but this can vary depending on the recipe and the fruit used. For example, 800 g of sugar per 1 kg of green plum or rhubarb, or 1.3 kg of sugar per 1 kg of black currant.
Good to know : Today, there are electronic kitchen scales on the market that have a special jam function to automatically calculate the amount of sugar needed for a homemade jam recipe.
- A stainless steel or copper jam tray that allows for even heat distribution.
- A stainless steel pot.
- A scale and a measuring cup to weigh the proportions.
- A skimmer to remove impurities that rise to the surface.
- A sterilization thermometer. A strainer to remove the seeds.
- A wide mouth jam funnel.
- A wooden spoon to stir.
- A small ladle to put in the pots.
- Gelatin bags to filter. Kitchen towels and a large apron.
Cook over high heat or in the microwave
Pour the fruit and sugar into a jam saucepan, preferably copper for more even heat distribution, or a dutch oven, then bring to a boil and cook over high heat for about 15 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently so that the jam do not stick stick to the bottom of the container. At the end of cooking, you can lower the power a little. Microwave cooking is possible and is ideal for small quantities (for example, 500 g of fruit per 400 g of sugar). In this case, the fruits must first soak overnight in the sugar. Then cover them with plastic wrap and cook them for 5 minutes at maximum power. Uncover and cook again for 5 minutes, checking for doneness.
Good to know : To flavor your jams and jellies, add flavorings at the end of cooking to create an element of surprise when tasting. Vanilla with apricots or quince, thyme with plums, mint or verbena with strawberries or raspberries.
We tried cooking
To find out if the jam is cooked enough, scoop out some jam with a wooden spoon and tilt it onto a plate. If it falls in big drops instead of a trickle, it’s done!
Another trick, pour on a plate cooled in the refrigerator, 1 teaspoon of jam. Let cool, then push with your finger. If the surface of the jam wrinkles, it is well cooked. You can stop cooking. Once finished, pour the hot jam into jars, up to 1 cm from the edge. Close them and turn them over to create a vacuum and sanitize the lid.
Good to know : For jams and jellies, you need glass jars (also called “jam jars”) with lids or glass jars with metal screw-on lids. And, to personalize your preserves, plan a stock of labels. You will indicate the content of your jar or the flavor of your jam, without forgetting the date of production.
Sterilization is essential
Previously, before each use, carefully clean the saucepan or jam pot with hot water. As for the jars, it is essential to sterilize them before filling them. Because the success of your achievements depends on impeccable hygiene. To do this, you can use the traditional method.
In a pressure cooker or dutch oven, blanch your gear not forgetting the rubber washers, then pat dry with a clean, ironed towel to make sure you’ve destroyed any microbes that might still be there. With this medium, a sterilization thermometer will be useful because the temperature must reach at least 100°C. You may prefer sterilization with an electric sterilizer.
Gelatin, an alternative to jam
Unlike jam which uses the whole fruit, jelly is made from only the juice of the fruit. It is obtained cold, crushing the fruit in a colander on a plate, or hot by cooking it and letting the pulp drain through a gelatin bag overnight. Once the juice has been collected, cook it over low heat mixed with sugar until a jelly forms.
read also Homemade ice cream: 5 tips for success