You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your own way around in it. - Albert Einstein

Monday, 1 October 2012

of the First Adventure in Jam-making, and Outrageous Success

I've often thought of making jam, especially when there happens to be a local glut of some fruit in particular. Or when I find a recipe for something tantalisingly exotic, like White Peach and Rose Jam or Blueberry and Blackberry Jam. I've often read through the recipes and instructions for jam-making, and visualised myself performing the actions described. At some point, however, I would feel overwhelmed or discouraged, and come up with a story about why it might be a disaster - anything from burning myself, to bugs that survive my sterilisation procedures, to failing to comprehend the setting point.

Somehow I'd been feeling a bit inspired and adventurous when I went shopping at the greengrocers, and found strawberries for 69c a punnet. Of course I bought six punnets, and then I had to find something to do with them. When I found a recipe that used 500g of strawberries to make just one jar of jam, I reasoned that I had little to lose if it didn't work out.

I washed and hulled and halved the berries, and mixed them up with 350g sugar and the juice and zest of half a lemon, and put them on the stove to get slowly up to a boil. Meanwhile, there's a glass jar boiling on the other burner to sterilise it.

Soon I had a frothing red mass of liquid, bubbles and steam. I was amazed at how the mixture became a liquid so quickly - I hadn't actually added any water. It seemed a stretch to imagine it thickening into jam.

But thicken it did, and then you know what, it started to look just like jam. I did that test with a spoonful on a cold saucer to see if it set as it cooled - and I don't know if I was more amazed that my jam had worked, or that the cold saucer test worked just like I had read about it.

And now it's jam in a jar. Not only did it turn out all right, I reckon it's the most amazing, delicious jam I've ever tasted.

And you know what people, if I can do this with strawberries, I can do it with other things too. I can make jam! It's a whole new world of sweet fruity goodness to explore. Excuse me while I dither with excitement.


  1. There is nothing tastier than your own home made jam - well done. Like you I was totally overwhelmed at the idea and then our local green grocer had trays of strawberries for $5 so I bit the bullet and it went just fine. Tasted amazing. Have you made lemon butter before? It's a very awesome with jam on scones (or even toast) and I have a recipe that can be done in the microwave in about five mintues.

  2. Yum!
    I tried making Mulberry jam years ago and it didn't work.
    It set like toffee in the jars!...LOL.

  3. mmm yummy, makes me miss my mums lemon curd. xx kaz

  4. so, while I'm totally embarrassed at not checking your blog more, thanks for letting me get away with it by not posting in forever :P
    and the jam is awesome

    1. Yes, majikfaerie, that's exactly why I haven't been posting lately. I knew you were busy and was giving you a chance to catch up.
      Ah well, I better get my finger out now, hey...