Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Summer in a jar - Blueberry & Strawberry Jam

When it comes to preserving food at home, I just seem to love everything about it. The choice of ingredients, knowing what goes into the product and tailoring the recipe to suit our needs and tastebuds, of course it's also great for reducing foodmiles plus it's just plain fun! It can become addictive though, as I have been discovering. With each successful batch, I become inspired to delve further into the whole process. More piles of books are left lying around, all propped open at delicously looking pages, ideas are scribbled on scrap pieces of paper and then lost in the debris that is our benchtop, their is a trail from the front door to the side of the house with jars I have picked up on my travels, I fear it is taking over my life somewhat. But what a fun intruder of life it is!

About a week ago I made this jam, it is a blueberry and strawberry jam with a touch of vanilla. I had been wanting to try a fruit combination jam for ages and actually got around to it! When it comes to berries, they don't have a lot of pectin, so extra pectin will need to be added in one form or another. Some people like to use cracked lemon pips in muslin, or chop up apples and stew all the pectiny acid out of them but for the sake of one batch of jam, I prefer to use a commercial pectin agent. If you are a pectin aficionado, you had best look away, there is a visual on the way.

The ingredients:
500g blueberries
500g strawberries
900g sugar
juice of one lemon
2/3 packet of jamsetta
2 tsp vanilla extract (pure, not the imitation stuff)

Place 2 or 3 saucers into the freezer (to use for set test later on). Gather your glass jars and lids and make sure they are super clean. Sterilize them by boiling in a large pot for 20 minutes or place into a warm oven until needed.

Wash the fruit well and chop the strawberries in half if they are large, if small leave them as they are.


Place the fruit and lemon juice into a large, heavy bottomed pot and heat gently over low heat for about 15 minutes to allow the fruit to soften and the juices to run. If you like, squash the fruit with a wooden spoon or potato masher. For this batch, I did potato mash slightly. Once the fruit is nice and squishy, and juices are running freely, add the sugar and pectin.

Stir gently over low heat to dissolve the sugar. This may take about 5-10 minutes.


Once the sugar is fully dissolved, increase the heat and allow the jam to heat to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally if you are worried about the jam catching on the bottom. The jam needs this vigorous boil to reach setting point. Once a full rolling boil is reached, the temperature can be reduced slightly, to maintain a constant boil for 15 minutes.



As the scum forms on the surface, skim it away with a thin, metal spoon.



Test for a set by placing a dollop of jam onto a cold saucer from the freezer. Allow to sit on a breezy windowsill for 30 seconds and then run a finger through the jam. If a wrinkle forms and the jam stays in two distinct halves, it is ready to be put into jars. If not, place pot back on the heat and bring back to a boil, checking again after 5 minutes.

To prevent the fruit from rising too much in the jars, allow the jam to cool slightly in the pot - 5-10 minutes should be plenty. The vanilla can be added while it is cooling. Ladle the jam into hot, sterlized jars and seal immediately.


This batch of jam made 3 x 500g jars.



This is my jam, my first fruit combination jam! The texture is how I like it, chunky and dollopy, with a juice that oozes if piled on too thick. It tastes delicious! Not too sweet and the vanilla is noticable but not overpowering. I have just made some scones to go with them and I don't feel one ounce of guilt for eating scones with jam (and perhaps a little bit of cream ;-)) for my lunch!

4 comments:

  1. Hi Christine,
    Yum, this looks divine and I have bookmarked it for next time my berries are in season. I found you via Tammy I think, love your blog!

    Cheers, Julie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, wow! Hi Julie! *big wave*, nice to meet you. Thanks for popping by and for your kind words. I have been following your 'harvest a day' with great interest. Hope you are feeling better :-), Christine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like jam, strawberry is my favorite. I Was Looking for recipes.I found this wonderful blog.Congratulatios from seville spain

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like jam, strawberry is my favorite. I Was Looking for recipes.I found this wonderful blog.Congratulatios from seville spain

    ReplyDelete

Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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