MAKING JAMS AND JELLIES.
Everybody I know makes jam differently. I watched some of the lovely ladies at our B and Bs in France make their jams. They let the fruit and sugar infuse first for a good half n hour before even putting it on the hob. I'm going to try this next yr.
I like to make jellies, as I'm not yet a pro, and find them easier to do!
I thought I'd share my recipe with you, as it's easy, (although not quick). It takes me two days, but don't be put off as the tricky bit really doesn't take long! And you can let it get on with it the rest of the time.
I had a glut of Victorias which are always quite late in the year where we live.
You will need a heavy bottom pan, sterilised jam jars, a jam thermometer is optional. A jam muslin or jelly bag, funnel. A saucer and tea spoon placed in the fridge. Fruit of your choice, water and jam sugar.
I start by washing my fruit, chop roughly, then pop it in the heavy pan, cover with water, and I usually go an inch above the fruit. As this is a jelly, and we will be sieving it, there is no need to remove stones or skin. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to low, I usually let it simmer like this for a good hour until some of the water has dissolved. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
Next, strain through a muslin or jelly bag into a clean bowl. I usually leave it overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag at all! As this will make your jelly cloudy and you will lose the bright jewel colour.
Once strained, weigh your left over mixture (minus the weight of the bowl). Put the liquid back in the heavy pan with the same amount of jam sugar. (Yes it is a lot of sugar). Now for the tricky bit. If you have a jam thermometer use it now. If not... Good luck... And, go you!
You should have your saucer and teaspoon cold in the fridge. Bring the liquid up to what is called a rolling boil, be carefull not to let it boil over! Remember this stuff will take your skin off, so be carefull!
Turn down the heat and let it calm down for a couple of minutes. You will need to do this about three times. On the third time, drop a spoonful onto the saucer. Providing the saucer is cold, if the jelly is ready it should wrinkle when you push it with your finger. If it doesn't, simply repeat the boiling process again until it does. If you like a very lose jelly, then a wrinkle is fine, but for a firm set, it needs to set on the saucer once in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Finally decant into your sterilised jars and pop lids on. Finally, it is always better to have an unset jelly then one that ends up like a fruit pastel. Don't worry... If you want more of a set, simply pop it back in the pan and re-boil.
Making jams and jellies does take practice, but it is so rewarding to think your preserving this fab fruit!
It's all about using everything, and not letting anything go to waste.
Good luck, it's not for the impatient, but it's so therapeutic. And once you've got it, you'll be hooked!