Recipes & Tips

jam making


Notes on Jam Making

  • If required, wash the fruit well. Strawberries and raspberries may not need to be washed.
  • If the fruit is picked when wet the jam is likely to go mouldy.
  • Make jam in small quantities for best results.
  • If you use too little sugar the jam may ferment and too much sugar may cause crystallisation.
  • The sugar must be completely dissolved before boiling to avoid crystallisation.
  • Ideally use a preserving pan for rapid boiling and evaporation. If you don’t have one use your widest pan with a heavy base.
  • For the initial cooking of the fruit, cook at a simmer, after adding the sugar always boil rapidly ( at the highest temperature ) until setting point is reached.
  • Over boiling will reduce the fresh flavour and appearance of the jam.
  • Test for setting point frequently. It should read 105C / 220F on a sugar thermometer.
  • Make sure jars, lids and all equipment are spotlessly clean.
  • Only use sterilised jars. Place in an oven at 180C for 10 minutes or ideally wash in a dishwasher and then warm in the oven while making the jam.
  • Fill the jars almost to the top and seal while still hot.
  • Pectin is the natural setting agent in jams. It is found in the skin, seeds and core of the fruit.
  • The levels of pectin vary in different fruits. Raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, cooking apples and plums all have high levels of pectin.
  • It is best to use fruit slightly underripe as the levels of pectin will be higher.
  • Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and cherries have low levels of pectin and often lemon juice ( which is high in pectin ) is added to aid setting of these jams.
  • You can learn about Jam Making in my new Soda Bread and Jam Class.

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