When I first started making jams, I was bombarded with so much differing advice that I was actually a little nervous to give it a go. ‘You need preserving pan’, ‘Have you added acid?’, ‘Are you using a sugar thermometer?’, ‘You don’t have a jam funnel?!’. I had so many questions in my mind and I felt completely overwhelmed. However – I’m pleased to share that it IS possible to make great jam using normal kitchen equipment and it isn’t nearly as scary as I thought.
The main way to make jam making accessible for all lies in the quantity you decide to make. I learnt the hard way that jam more than triples in the pan, so if your pan is not big enough to contain the new volume, it WILL overflow and your kitchen will be very sticky for the foreseeable future. It is difficult to make a substantial amount at once without investing in a large pan, so if you’re planning on stocking your cupboards full of jam this isn’t the recipe for you. However, if you’ve got a little fruit, a little time and want to preserve the gorgeous flavours of summer into one jar of deliciousness, a heavy-based casserole dish or saucepan is all you need.
The secret to a well-set jam lies in a substance called pectin, which is present in all fruits but more abundantly in some than others. In the presence of sugar and acid, pectin will gel, which thickens the jam. It can be difficult to know exactly how much pectin there is in your fruit, which is why using a specific jam sugar (like Tate and Lyle jam sugar) with added pectin makes your jam-making life worry free, as there is nothing worse than pouring your time into a project and it failing at the final hurdle. Jam sugar removes that fear of horribly runny, unset jam and you can have confidence that your hard work won’t be for nothing and you will achieve the perfect set!
The saucer trick is the best way to test that your jam is set. Simply place a saucer into the freezer before you start boiling the fruits. When you think you’ve reached the setting point, drip a small amount of jam onto the chilled saucer. Leave it to sit for 30 seconds, then press the jam on one side with your finger. The jam should ripple when pushed, and should be thick enough that the line remains and the jam holds its shape when your finger is removed.
The source and ethical impact of the ingredients I use is always important to me, and Tate & Lyle’s Jam Sugar is Fairtrade certified – meaning it will not only improve your jams – it will also help farmers around the world have a brighter future. What could be sweeter than that?
For more information on Tate & Lyle’s excellent range of sugars and for more delicious jam recipe ideas, visit: https://goo.gl/MfnBt7.
Simple summer berry jam