Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jam On It



It's been a disappointing year for berryfruit (stonefruit too), largely because of the diabolical weather - lots of rain and heat promoting mould and fungal growth, as well as insufficient sun to colour up fruit. I managed to round up enough blackberries for the cordial I made earlier, but when it came to the jam, I had to bulk out what I had with frozen stuff. There's a marginal tradeoff in terms of flavour, but it's a small price to pay for home made jam.

Blackberry & Cinnamon Jam
  • 1.5kg Blackberries
  • 70g Pectin powder
  • 6 Cinnamon Quills
  • 1.5kg Sugar
  • Sterilised jars and lids
In a large pot, add the berries and cinnamon quills, then bring to the boil - reduce to a simmer. Slowly stir in the pectin until dissolved. Add sugar, stir until dissolved (if it's still granular, it will hamper the jams ability to set); bring back to the boil and let it do so for five minutes. I don't bother checking the set if I'm using powdered pectin beause it's pretty reliable, but if you want to be sure, either pop in a sugar thermometer at the pre-boil stage and leave until it reaches 105c, at which point it's ready, or chill a plate in the freezer & drop a teaspoon of jam on it. Leave for a bit, come back & nudge it - if it wrinkles, it's good to go, otherwise continue cooking the jam out for another five minutes and try again later.

Let the jam cool, then pour into sterilised jars almost to the top. Seal and place in a cool dark place. I'm not sure how long these will last for, largely because jam disappears quite rapidly around here, but they should be good for up to three months. I know some people boil the sealed jars of jam in water for an additional 5-10 minutes which apparently reduces the risk of spoilage, but I've never done it so don't feel qualified to pass comment. Feel free to leave any jam making tips in the comments below.


Update: according to "Jams, Jellies, Pickles & Relishes", published by the Department of Consumer & Applied Sciences at Otago, you're supposed to pour the jam into your jars while it's still hot. There's actually quite a few handy things to be aware of from this book - I'll keep you posted, it's an invaluable guide. Hat tip to Bronwyn at Food & Shoes.

Update 2 (Electric Boogaloo) : ciNNamon erra Korecterd.

16 comments:

Nigel Olsen said...

My mum suggests mashing the berries, or indeed any fruit when making jam because it releases natural pectin, ensuring a good set.

Nigel Olsen said...

Just a random thought, but what if you could remove the seeds, toast them & then place them back in the jam? You'd have a great roasted nutty flavour which work supremely well with the dense sugar/berry flavour.

Bronwyn said...

There's not enough pectin in blackberries to set jam, no matter what you do with them. That's why you often see recipes for blackberry and apple jelly; the apples provide the pectin. I have an excellent little book that was put out by the Home Economics Dept (as was) at Otago University. It tells you all about what (acid, pectin, sugar), and how much, you need for jam and gives enough info for you to make up your own recipes. They (now the Dept of Consumer and Applied Sciences) no longer make the book, but I've scanned it and can send a pdf if you want.
You can remove the seeds from blackberry, boysenberry, loganberry etc. jams using a mouli. Elderly ladies with false teeth do this (the seeds get under the plate, apparently). But why put them back? They don't taste of much, you'd be better putting some other toasted thing in. The texture goes a bit odd when it's been sieved too, I prefer jelly myself.

Nigel Olsen said...

Cheers, Bron, that's handy info! Can I get a copy of your PDF?

Bronwyn said...

And I was wrong about the pectin - it has insufficient ACID,not pectin.

Nigel Olsen said...

Just fired off an email to you.

Nigel Olsen said...

It's a treasure trove! Cheers again, Bronwyn :)

Bronwyn said...

I reckon in these days of geeky cooking they should republish it with glossy pics, they'd probably make a fortune. Help the education budget. It's a damned good book anyway, I've used the info to make all sorts of jams and sauces of my own invention.

Nigel Olsen said...

Really? I need to trawl your blog. Google should scan it for Google Books.

Bronwyn said...

Haven't made jams and sauces since I started blogging. Problem is, I make the stuff and then don't eat it. I have a very well-stocked pantry.

peasepudding said...

Hi Nigel,
I never bother with pectin in berry jams and I even reduce my sugar content. I just prefer the French style jams which are a bit more runny, if my Nan heard that she would turn in her grave, hers were always set well and truly!

millie mirepoix said...

I fall squarely into the "never made jam but dying (albeit a little scared) to try" category so I can't offer any jam-making tips. But! This brings me one step closer to making my own. I really like the idea of berry + cinnamon... did it taste very cinnamon-y? Mmm :)

Nigel Olsen said...

Aaargh, I've been spelling cinnamon wrong! Anyhoo...

Alli - yeah, that's what we do at the restaurant for the jams for brunch/lunch. We have awesome flavour combinations, too!

MM - Make some when you get home! We should do a swap. Oh, and yeah, it's very cinnamon-y.

Lou said...

looks goood! i also pour the jam in while hot, into hot jars. Then the seal is wicked tight... I wash the jars in hot water then put them into the oven to heat up / sterilise. You need to be careful doing this, also the hot jam going in can splatter around a bit.

millie mirepoix said...

Haha, I don't know if I'd be able to make a swap-quality jam on my first go... but I guess I can start trying!

Nigel Olsen said...

Lou - Mum insists I place the jars (once filled) into a water bath to seal the deal. It makes sense. I do exactly as you do with my jars.

MM - Give it a go, young lady!