Cookbook:Jams and Jellies
Making jams and jellies
A jam is a fruit conserve in which sugar and fruit chunks are boiled together. In a jelly, the juice is pressed or boiled out of the fruit, filtered and then boiled again with sugar to reduce and thicken it. It is important to keep in mind that some fruits are better for making jellies and others are better used in jams. Generally speaking, it's easier to make a jam than it is to make a jelly.
Recipe for Jam
- a good quantity of soft, fleshy fruit like strawberries, peaches, cherries, plums, blueberries, brambles
- sugar or sugar with added pectin
- lemon juice
Instructions: Clean the fruit, remove any stones, leaves or other incomestible parts, and wash it. If the fruit is not a small berry, then cut it up into small pieces. Weigh the fruit and add the same weight of sugar to it. If you are using a very juicy fruit, you may prefer to use sugar with added pectin. Pectin is naturally present in most fruits and will cause the jam to "set", but some fruits contain less pectin and some contain more, so it is often helpful to add some.
Sprinkle the fruit and sugar with lemon juice and stir well. Then cover the container and let the mixture rest for at least one hour in a clean, cool place to let the fruit absorb the sugar. After this, pour the mixture into a sufficiently large cooking pot. Traditionally a copper pot is used, but any other cooking pot will do fine. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil on a low fire, stirring regularly. Depending on the fruit, you will need to boil the mixture for about an hour. The jam is ready when it is thick enough. Check this by pouring a drop of the jam onto a cold plate. It should turn sticky and not be too runny.
To preserve the jam well, you should pour it into glass flasks or containers that have been sterilized by boiling them in water. You can also pasteurize the containers by washing them with boiling water. The inside of lids as well as the flasks should be washed if the latter method is used. The jam should be poured rapidly into the still-hot containers. The containers should be sealed with lids. In this case it's best to let the air bubble that is in the flask traverse the still-hot jam by turning it upside-down after the lid has been placed on. This is to disinfect the air bubble. Or, instead of a lid, the jam can be protected by pouring molten paraffin on top of it, and closing of the jar with a paper that is held with a rubber band.