Great way to have fun with the kids, it’s the easiest jam recipe ever! I’ve stocked up at my local PYO, as you can see from the pics. The kids love it as a day out, with both their parents working in harmony (it happens) to harvest and scoff as much soft fruit and veg as humanly possible in two hours before heading for a massive pub lunch. Guess we deserve those ‘ploughman’s portions’ if we have actually been toiling in the fields?!
I made several batches of jam with the spoils – strawberry, blackberry and raspberry. Plus I used some, including redcurrants, in some sugar-free jellies (make up the jelly as directed on the packet with boiling water. Wash and hull some strawberries and other fruit – use the tines of a fork to get the redcurrants off the stalks – distribute among sundae dishes and top up with jelly. Allow to set in the fridge).
I used jam sugar, which contains pectin (the gelling agent which makes it set) but you can use ordinary sugar. Strawberry jam benefits from the juice of a lemon to offset the sometimes cloyingly sweet flavour. Berries will taste more like themselves if they are boiled hardish for 15 minutes rather than a long, slow boil.
Recipe: Easiest Jam Recipe Ever
- Equal quantities of berries and jam sugar ( I used 2kg raspberries and 2kg sugar)
- Juice one lemon (optional)
- Put six saucers in the freezer (more of this later).
- Pick over the fruit to get rid of any green stems and leaves etc. I don’t wash raspberries (because they’re so delicate) but I do wash blackberries (they’re more robust) and strawberries (because they grow closer to the soil).
- Put fruit in a LARGE stainless steel (no aluminium, if anyone has aluminium saucepans any more?) saucepan with the sugar (and lemon juice if making strawberry jam).
- Heat gently, then stir, but try not to break up the fruit too much.
- Then boil for 15 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally.
- While this happens get all your jars out and match the lids with them, then fill the sink with boiling water from the kettle and the hot tap, plus a little washing up liquid and sterlise the jars and lids(or run them through the dishwasher on the normal cycle).
- Put a little spoonful of the jam onto one of the chilled saucers and leave to set for two minutes, or until it’s cold. Run your finger through it and if the skin wrinkles, it’s ready. If not,boil for a few more minutes and test again.
- Take the jam off the heat and use a heatproof jug to scoop it out, and fill the jars. I put the lids on while it’s still hot (I like to think I’m sealing the bacteria OUT, as it’s so hot). But you do have to wait until it’s cold to label the jars (the glue melts).
If you have kids of an artistic nature, they love designing the labels, which makes them feel involved if you weren’t happy having them handling boiling sugar (which is WAYYY hotter than just boiling water).