How to make jam

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I made jam!!

If you’ve been reading through my posts for a while now then you’ll probably have noticed that I’m trying to eliminate as many artificial foods and food additives from my cooking as I can. And I’m trying to advocate that you do as well. Without belabouring the point, I’m all excited to try foods from scratch these days. The challenge makes me excited and gives me such a sense of achievement when I make something that I never thought I’d be able to make (having grown up with supermarkets supplying everything from factories).

A few weeks ago, I came across another such challenge.

I made jam!!

I’d borrowed Julie Goodwin’s “Our Family Table” cookbook from the library and I was flicking through it to see if there was anything interesting. Some of it was great as I found some interesting recipes and a few things I’d love to try. Some of it I knew I wouldn’t make because my husband and I don’t really eat traditional British meals (forget about the Sunday roast or Christmas roast at my house). But the best thing about her book was that she gave simple recipes for all those things that people use all the time but never make. For instance, she had a recipe for hollandaise sauce and I think one for mayonnaise as well. But the stand out for me was her orange jam recipe.

I made jam!!

I’d been searching for a couple of recipes for the past week that would use up the end of a really large bag of oranges we’d bought at the markets. Great oranges, but I was over just eating them as is. When I saw the recipe I almost jumped out of my seat. Here was a recipe I could use for the oranges, but better yet, it was a challenge to make jam from scratch.

I made jam!!

A few weeks before that we had discovered some lovely French jam and had noticed that it didn’t have a large amount of sugar, and it wasn’t full of preservatives, or gelatine. To keep purchasing the jam was going to put a dent in our grocery budget, but I was prepared to do this so that we would be healthier in the long run. But finding that recipe made me excited! I’d only need the oranges, a lemon or two, a packet of caster sugar and some water.

Woohoo!!

Cloudy, like orange juice.

 

Ready for cooking.

 

So I went along, following the recipe. First I let the finely chopped oranges soak overnight with the lemon seeds.

The next day I cooked the oranges for 1.5 hours till really soft, with the lemon seeds still in. I added the lemon juice and the whole mix was still cloudy like orange juice.

I then added my packet of caster sugar (after removing the lemon seeds) and was amazed when the liquid became clear!

It became clear when I added the sugar.
Boiling the mixture made me a little nervous as I knew that hot sugar is about one of the worst burns you can get, so I was really careful with how high I had the heat and how close I stood to it.
I could see the mixture was changing and I could see the stickiness beginning to form. I threw a plate in the freezer so I’d be able to test the mixture at the right time.
It boiled up right to the top. 

After turning the heat off I put a dollop of what I hoped was jam onto my plate and put it in the fridge for a few minutes. Longest few minutes ever!

Then I pushed at the jam with my finger, just like Julie said.

Woohoo!!

I’d made jam!!

I quickly threw the hot mix into some glass containers for leftovers (not having thought about what to put the jam into once I’d cooked it – oops!).

The hot jam ready to be put in the fridge.

 

Letting the jam cool and set overnight was hard. I just wanted to try it to make sure it had worked.

But as I took it from the fridge the next morning I was thrilled!

I’d made jam!!

I just didn’t shut up for the next few days. Every few hours I’d say to my husband “I made jam!!’.

I made jam!!

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