I do love a bit of jam on my porridge in the morning (or on my Sunday morning buttermilk bun), but to be honest I have always found making jam (other than the lovely smell of course) a bit of a chore. All the jar sterilizing, preparing huge quantities of fruit, getting to that mystical Setting Point, is just a bit much. And the washing up!! I hate washing huge sticky pans that wont fit in the dishwasher…
But I’ve had a bit of a jam making revolution over the last few months, after I read this lovely blog post about making jam with frozen fruit. Now I’m completely converted to the idea of freezing fruit in prepared, measured amounts, to make jam throughout the year. Actually, what I’m really converted to is the idea of making jam with small amounts of fruit….
Today, for example, I’ve made 3 jars of jam with 1 kilo of damsons I bought from our food delivery people this week. It was no trouble to put the 3 jars through the dishwasher to sterilize them, and I can use my ordinary large-ish (25cm) Le Creuset casserole pan to make the jam. I even de-stoned the damsons before I made the jam, because I hate trying to pick the stones out of the stewed fruit (which is the usual method).
1 kg damsons (before stoning)
800g granulated sugar (no need to use preserving sugar)
- Pick over the fruit to remove any twigs or worse, and give them a quick rinse under the tap.
- Now it’s up to you. You can either stone the damsons straight away (I would only do this for this amount of fruit, it’s a fiddly, tedious job for more than a kilo), or stew them over a low heat until the fruit is softened and you can pick the stones out (wait until it has cooled a bit, obviously…). Or you can leave the stones in, make sure you warn everyone who eats it, and play a game of ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor‘ over breakfast.
- Put the fruit in a large pan – or leave it there if you have already stewed it – and then add the sugar. Bring very slowly to a simmer, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Put a saucer in your freezer ready to test for a set. Put your recently-washed jam jars (I used 3 for this amount of fruit) in the oven and set the oven to 160C / Gas Mark 3. Cover the jam jar lids in boiling water.
- Bring the damsons and sugar the boil and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached. Enjoy the delicious aroma while you are waiting!
- To test for set, put a small drop of jam on the cold saucer and wait a few seconds. If the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it’s ready to pot up.
- Take the jam jars from the oven and dry the jam jar lids with a clean tea towel. Pour the hot jam into the jars straight away, and put the lids on the jars whilst everything is still hot.
Damsons are in season now, and make the most gorgeous jam – buy them if you can find them, or even better, forage them! And if jam making is not your thing, what about some damson gin?? Yes please!