I have never made jam before, for years we were supplied with homemade jam from my OH granny. Also as I have never grown fruit and this year only managed to grow about 10 strawberries, there didn't seem much point. If I had to buy all the fruit, it would be cheaper just to buy a jar of jam.
For the party this weekend I bought far too many strawberries and raspberries so have been left with more than the two of us can eat so I decided to make jam. I always save spare jars for pickles etc., the method looked easy enough so I thought I would give it a go. I should have know it would be messy as my son decided to make jam one day after school. When I got home from work it looked like there had been a massacre in the kitchen.
First problem was how much sugar to jam, as none of the recipes had the exact amount of fruit I had.
Second problem, how do you tell if the sugar is melted.
Third problem, how do you tell if it is set, yes I know it says push your finger through it, but I still wasn't sure.
I'm sure these questions seem silly to experienced jam makers, and if I make jam again I will have more idea and learn from my mistakes, and that is a BIG IF. The first batch didn't go too badly, two pots that may be a little too set but look good in their jars, (see above) I then decided to make the next lot......I should have stopped at two pots! It was boiling away, seemed to set really quickly, I took it off the heat and put it on the worktop next to the lemon juice that was meant to have gone into it! Not knowing what the juice actually did I thought I had better put it in. Back on the boil went the pan for ages, I kept testing it using every clean plate in the kitchen, but it was still runny. I had enough by that stage, tired, teasy, jam all over my top, I decided to pot it anyway. Taking the jars out of the oven where I was keeping them warm, one fell out and literally exploded into thousands of pieces all over the kitchen floor. Boy can that stuff spread, it reached the far corners of the kitchen. I could have cried by now, felt a bit sick from all the testing, yes I know it didn't require me tasting it. I couldn't get all the scum off the top of the jam, so now I have four further jars of scummy runny jam and the kitchen looks like a bomb hit it.
Garden Update - mini cucumbers and sugar snap peas are ready, picked and eaten straight from the garden YUM!!! I will definitely grow the minis again, they are just the right size for the two of us.
Any tips from the jam makers out their would be much appreciated.
Welcome to Joanne!