Today I Learned...
omemade jam is so much better than anything you can buy in the store. It's fresher, it's tastier, and you can make it exactly how you like it. Plus, it's a great way to use up fruit that is past its prime.
Here are some tips for making sure your homemade jam is the best ever:
Choosing your Fruit
To make the perfect jam, you should choose fruit that is fresh and in season when possible.
To give your jam the right texture, choose fruits that are naturally high in pectin. This substance is found most abundantly in apples and plums—but also citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons, or gooseberries.
If your fruit is low in pectin, you can add a slice of green apple to raise its level or buy commercially prepared pectin at the supermarket.
Fruits should be fresh, seasonal, and ripe, but not overripe. Furthermore, they should be high quality and organically grown if possible.
What You'll Need:
After you have chosen the fruit, we can begin to prepare it. You'll need:
The amount of each ingredient will vary according to the quantity of jam or marmalade we want to make and what kind of fruit you have chosen.
The amount of sugar that must be added to the recipe varies according to personal taste, but should be between 500 grams and 1 kilogram per kilo of fruit.
- First, wash the fruits you have chosen.
- The skin of some fruits, such as oranges and peaches, should be left intact when making marmalade. Other jam recipes call for pitting the fruit first.
At this point the preparation takes two different paths, depending on whether pectin is added:
Jam or marmalade preparation without pectin:
- Cut the fruit into pieces and put them in a saucepan, together with sugar and water.
- Cook on low heat, checking the thickness degree of the mixture: the cooking time will be over when all the water will be evaporated and the mixture will be thick.
- It will take a couple of hours on average.
Jam or marmalade preparation with pectin:
- If you’re using pectin, it will be much easier to make your recipe—since the thickening process will only take a few minutes.
- There are several ways to get hold of pectin: either buy it at the supermarket or prepare a mixture by yourself at home.
Preserving the Jam
The final step is the jam or marmalade preservation, and it is the same for both procedures.
Jam or marmalade must be poured into jars while it is still hot. This means that the jars must be sterilized before the jam is done.
How to sterilize the jars?
- Make sure you have glass jars with hermetic lids
- Boil them for 30 minutes
- After this time, take them out and pour the boiling jam. Ensure you leave one cm of headspace.
- Turn the jars upside down and cool completely. This way you will create the vacuum, which will help your product preserve for several months.
To preserve your jam perfectly, you should store the sealed jars in a cool place. Once opened, the product must be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few days.
Well done: you have made a wonderful fruit preserve, which can be enjoyed in many different dishes or used to make delicious cakes—putting it on your bread at breakfast sounds good too!
Anyone can make a delicious jam with the right ingredients, equipment, and technique.
Whether you're a novice or an experienced jam maker, these tips will help you to achieve your goal of making sweet treats for yourself and your loved ones.