Everyone remembers the childhood delight of devouring hot buttered toast with a thick spread of fruity jam. Once the preserve, excuse the pun, of the formidable WI, more and more people are now making their own jam. The national lockdown, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, led to people spending more time than ever before in their homes and learning new skills.
As has been reported, lockdown saw everyone putting on a pinny and trying their hand at baking, while online garden centres quickly sold out of fruit and vegetable seeds. For many, those seeds grew and have been producing wondrous amounts of fruit and vegetables. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your plants grow and thrive and picking your own produce. And, as Autumn sets in, there is also the joy of taking long walks and foraging in the hedgerows for juicy blackberries, rosy hips and haws and crab apples.
And that is where making jam comes in! It has always been the misunderstanding that second-rate fruit should be used for making jam but it is now recognised that the better and fresher the fruit, the better the quality of the jam. Indeed, under-ripe fruit contains more pectose, the key jam ingredient that turns to pectin as the fruit ripens. So what better way to use up what can’t be eaten and stock the shelves for winter? In today’s blog post we’re going to discuss the convenience of the jam-making machine and how it can save you hours of time while producing tasty jam on a consistent basis.
The brilliance of a jam making machine
Making jam by hand can be very time consuming, requiring close watch of bubbling pans on hot cookers and after all that effort the results can be inconsistent.
A jam making machine takes the hard work out of the process.
Simply add the prepared ingredients, wait for the signal to add the sugar and leave the machine to do its job. Rather than taking hours of stirring, the machine does it for you, while automatically controlling the temperature of the ingredients, guaranteeing consistently delicious batches of jam.
We stock the Ball freshTech machine on our website, which makes small batches of up to four 240ml jars. This particular machine can also be used for jelly, marmalade and chutneys, making the best use of your tomato and vegetable crops. Even better - it is also non-stick, essential when making something as sticky as jam - and dishwasher safe.
You can go from just fruit and sugar to jam in as little as 21 minutes.
How to store your jam…
The most practical, attractive and environmentally friendly way to keep your jam and preserves is in the traditional glass jam jar. The jars should be washed in warm soapy water, rinsed, dried with a clean tea towel and then placed in a cool oven (around 140c) for ten minutes. The jars can then be filled with the warm jam. Ensure the ladle is also sterilised.
Once the jars are filled they should be stored in a cool, dry place, not in direct sunlight. Jam should be enjoyed within 12 months of being made - if it lasts that long! Once open, keep it in the fridge and use it within the month.
As well as the traditional glass jam jar, we also stock jars in a variety of shapes and sizes, from breakfast sized jars to the traditional size and larger.
Who needs a jam making machine?
As already discussed, the trend towards home produce, whether you have an allotment, garden or are making the most of pots on a balcony, seems set to continue. For many, this was without doubt inspired by being at home but it also taps into being more environmentally thoughtful; from growing your own produce without pesticides and reducing food miles, to reducing food wastage altogether.
Being able to create your own, personal range of jams, jellies and chutneys is a win. Not to mention, lovely jars of homemade produce make thoughtful gifts for Christmas and birthdays. We also stock a range of attractive labels and tags to complete the look.
Jars of preserves sell out at fetes and farmers markets, raising lots of money for good causes and producers alike. Classic favourites, such as strawberry, plum, tomato chutney and orange marmalade always go down a storm but why not try some more unusual flavour combinations, such as spicy rhubarb and ginger or lime, gin and elderflower marmalade?
Have you recently got into making preserves but no longer have the time to enjoy making it by hand yet still have all the produce? A jam making machine might well be the answer! Share your unusual recipes on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.