June 15th, 2010
I love making jam. I love the whole process, from picking the fruit, getting all the ingredients together, collecting the jars for months on end and the actual process. It’s so quick and easy that I thought for this week’s Tutorial Tuesday I would share this recipe with you and show you how to make Gooseberry & Elderflower jam.
8-10 Heads of Elderflower
You will also need:
- A sharp knife
- Some sterilised jam jars with lids
- A large preserving pan
- A wooden spoon with a long handle
- A small plate chilling in the freezer
- A ladle or large spoon
First off you need to go and pick your gooseberries. We’re lucky to have a gooseberry bush growing on the edge of the cliff at the bottom of the garden, so I didn’t have far to go to find mine. Despite the bush getting attacked by caterpillars last month, there is still quite a heavy crop of fruit, so I’ll probably be making a few batches of this jam this year. I got the Elderflowers locally too – Colin was going to walk the dog in Aberdour, so I went with him as I know a really good spot for Elderflowers.
The next thing to do is top and tail them. Using your sharp knife simply trim off both end of the fruit so you’re left with just the lovely juicy bit in the middle. This can take a while, so best put the radio on for company.
You’re left with a bowl of fruit for your jam and a plate of tops and tails for the compost bin – no point wasting the scraps, when you can put them to good use to make compost for the garden.
The next step is to add the water. You need 500ml of cold water from the tap.
Pour this over the fruit and add the elderflower heads – just place these on top.
Put your pan on the stove over a low heat and cook gently until the fruit is soft but still holds it’s shape. Take the elderflowers out and add those to the compost heap as well.
Next you add the sugar, so measure out 1kg and pour this over the fruit. There’s no need to buy jam making sugar with added pectin for this recipe – just normal granulated will do as gooseberries are pectin-rich fruit, so normal sugar will be fine.
Once the sugar is in the pan, stir gently until all the sugar has been dissolved. Raise the temperature and bring to a full rolling boil and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes.
Try to avoid the desire to stir the mix as this lowers the temperature of the mixture and means it’s take longer to get to setting point. After 10 minutes or so, you need to test for setting point. Remove the pan from the heat and take out the small plate you’ve chilled in the freezer. Drop a spoonful of mixture onto the plate and leave it for 1 minute.
When you push it around with your finger and see that it crinkles then you know you’ve reached setting point. If it stays in a liquid form, then you need to put the pan back on the stove. Get back to a full rolling boil and cook for a further 2 minutes and test again. Repeat until you’ve reached setting point.
Once setting point is reached take the pan off the stove and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. In this time you can quickly sterilise your jars and lids. I pre-washed my jars before I started, so they were already clean. I sterilise them by dunking them in boiling water for about a minute and then putting them on a clean shelf in the oven, which is set on a low heat, and leaving them in there to heat up and dry. Once they’re dry I take them out and do the same with the lids and whilst the lids are drying I can fill the jars with jam.
It’s best to do this when the jam and jars are still hot, so get your ladle and fill the jars up little by little until they’re all full. Give the jar tops and edges a good clean with a wet piece of tissue and then put the lids on and seal. Once sealed, store in a coll place and use within 12 months.
And now for something completely different…
As I said before, I love making jam, but strangely enough, I’m not much of a jam eater – I find it far too sweet – I’m donating these jars to a good cause.
I know of a rather talented fellow called Matt Hulse who is looking to raise funds to finance his feature film about James Duthie, a profoundly deaf Scotsman – known fondly to his local community as ‘Dummy Jim’ – who cycled solo on a return trip from the small fishing town of Cairnbulg in the north east of Scotland to the Arctic Circle.
The journey of over 3000 miles took three months and was managed on a budget of just £12. The film needs a bigger budget than that and so there are lots of things that Kindly Folk, like you, can purchase to help the film get realised.
So any jam that I make this year will be getting donated to Matt and will be labelled ‘Dummy Jam’ and be for sale to kindly folk who like sweet things. Better get on and design the labels! Please visit this website to find out more about the project and explore it’s animated loveliness. You can also visit the Dummy Jim Blog and Facebook page.
The lovely photographs in this post were taken by Colin Andrews – apart from a couple that I took and slipped in.
Posted in Tutorial Tuesday |