Jelly and JamPosted: September 16, 2013
Apparently making your own jam or jelly is quite a rite of passage. It’s similar to shopping for fresh Sage in Waitrose on Christmas Eve, so I’m told. I’ve never made jam or jelly before, I have all the books and the all the jars and even some vintage jam jar labels but until a couple of weeks ago, I was never brave enough to try it myself. I’m also not a massive fan of jam / jelly on anything really but I AM a massive fan of peanut butter and jam / jelly sandwiches and it was this that inspired me. I could potentially be about to knock Goober Grape out of the market all together….although I haven’t actually attempted those stripes in a jar yet. So it was this, along with the glut of blackberries growing at the end of our garden, that made me give jelly making a go. We also have a rather wonderful fallen apple tree in our garden which, despite lying horizontally across the lawn, where it has been for over a year, still manages to yield the most beautiful branches of blossom and a very impressive harvest of apples.
I found my recipe, the shortest and easiest version I could, I dug out one of the children’s muslins from the just-in-case baby box, tied on my favourite apron (any excuse) and got started. It was easier than a blackberry and apple pie and far more satisfying. I thought the “leave the syrup to drip overnight” would put me off seeing as I’m a hugely impatient cook, but it actually had quite the opposite effect. I found this part the most enjoyable of all. Waking to find that I had created a perfectly glossy fruity syrup by simply leaving some apple and blackberry mush to work its way through a well used (but clean) muslin was very exciting indeed.
So here’s the recipe I followed from The River Cottage Handbook, Preserves by Pam Corbin. I’m certain you could find similar formula online as it seems to be the most straight forward and can be adapted to all manner of fruit.
And here are my jars. I’ve given a few away already and am about to gather the last of the blackberries and make another round for Christmas presents. This could be a cottage industry in the making…..or it may just be added to the long list of other home spun enterprises which never quite get off the ground.