Homemade jam

Homemade jam -  thrifty gifts and handmade giftsMaking homemade jam is one of the easiest ways to create wonderful thrifty gifts that will be loved by your family and friends.  If you use fruit that you’ve grown yourself in the garden or allotment, it’s even better value, and you’ll feel great knowing it’s been made with good ingredients that you’ve nurtured.  Jam making is surprisingly easy, you use only low-cost ingredients, and your friends will think you’ve put in a huge amount of effort.

The recipes are simple – fruit, sugar, sometimes lemon juice, and a knob of butter at the end (yes, really!).  Just start saving your old jars, so you’ve something to put the jam in once you’ve made it.  One note of caution – don’t use jars that have previously contained pickles!  It sounds obvious, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to have made this mistake, and a delicious jam is certainly not enhanced by a faint aroma of gherkins!

Basic homemade jam recipe – damson

Here’s a quick recipe for damson jam, but it can be adapted easily for other fruit.  This makes about 3-4 jars.

1 kg damsons, 800 g sugar, 200 ml water, juice of 1 lemon. Put some small saucers in the freezer, and your clean jars in a low oven to sterilise. Wash, stone and halve the damsons, then put the fruit, sugar, water and lemon juice into a large pan.  Heat slowly until the sugar is dissolved, then turn up the heat and boil for about half an hour.

About 10 mins before the end, start testing if it has set - remove a saucer from the freezer and drop a teaspoon of jam onto it, wait a few seconds then push the jam with your finger, and if the surface wrinkles then it’s set.  If not, return the jam to the boil and try again in about 5 mins.  When set, stir in a knob of butter to disperse any scum, then pour the jam into your sterilised jars and seal while hot.  Job done!!

Homemade jam varieties

You can, of course, vary the recipe with different fruits – try the following, all with with 1 kg fruit :

  • Strawberry jam – 800 g sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • Raspberry jam – 1 kg sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice. You might want to use jam sugar for raspberry jam, to help it set (or just enjoy the jam a little less firm as we do).
  • Plum jam - 600g sugar, juice of 1 lemon
  • Apricot jam – 600 g sugar, juice of 1 lemon.  You could also add 2 tbsps Grand Marnier before bottling to make this a little more special!

The finishing touches

Use quirky jam jars (save unusual jars you come across rather than throwing them in the recycling bin). When the jars have cooled, add handwritten labels, add a nice cover cut from a piece of material or paper if you fancy, and tie with ribbon.  Brown paper and string can look very stylish!  You’ll now have some really special handmade gifts that have cost you very little – these are thrifty gifts that really don’t look thrifty!

 

Here are some useful products that might be of interest:

jam making preserving jars

jam making preserving jars

jam jars

jam jars

covers for jam jars

covers for jam jars

jam making funnel

jam making funnel

Speak Your Mind

*