Jams and Jellies
I have made loads of Jellies and the best tip is not to squeeze the bag – don’t be tempted
Apple and sage jelly.
A lot of apples. I used approximately a kg, but it doesn’t really matter how many you have as you can adjust the sugar levels later
Sugar. Weight depends on the amount of apples you use
100ml cider vinegar
One bunch of sage. I used some amazing purple sage I found from an organic farm shop. I realise that makes me sound a bit of a ponce. In my defence, it was the only sage I could find on the whole of my high street. It was expensive, admittedly, but it did turn the jelly a wonderful light purple colour
Method1. Chop up the apples into quarters, with their skins on and pips still in.
2. Put them in a saucepan with the vinegar
3. Pour water into your pan, slowly, until it just covers the apples.
4. Bring to the boil and then simmer slowly for an hour, covered, until the apples are soft.
5. Tip the mixture into a jam straining bag or a muslin cloth and leave over a large bowl overnight. (At this point I discovered that only a part of my jam straining bag survived the move, so I put the bag inside a sieve and left it like that. I reckon the same thing would probably work if you just put some fairly open-weaved material inside too, if you haven’t got a jam bag.)
6. The next day (or a good few hours later, if you’re impatient like me), measure how much liquid you have. For every 600ml, add 400g of sugar.
7. Put it all back into a big saucepan, with the sage, chopped finely. (Or chunkily, if you prefer — just remember that whatever size you leave it is the size it will pretty much stay. It won’t make much difference to the flavour how you’ve chopped it, but it will depend how you want it to look.)
8. Boil the mixture quickly and then cook until it reaches setting point. There are a million different recommended ways to do this, but I tend to just put a spoon in, stir it round, take it out and see what the liquid looks like on the spoon. If it is a bit treacly, with a bit of viscosity in there, instead of just pure liquid, and if it takes a while to drip back down the spoon, it’s probably done. If that sounds alarmingly vague and inaccurate to you, then you could try a jam thermometer or putting a cold plate into the fridge and dripping a bit onto that and seeing if it goes wrinkly.
9. Pour into sterilised jars and put a lid on. I sterilise my jars by washing them with normal washing up liquid, then standing them in a roasting tray in the oven to dry at about 180 degrees. When you’re ready to use them, you just take out the roasting tray and pour the jelly into the jars. (A jam funnel is really needed here)
10. Give the jars a little shake as they’re settling, just to ensure the sage bits are evenly distributed11. If you can bear to, leave for about a month before you open this to eat it. I couldn’t. It tastes delicious with more delicate meats, going particularly well, I’ve found, with pork.
Damson and apple jelly
6lb cooking apples
4 pints water
Sugar – 1lb for each pint of juice.
Apple and Blackberry Jam
500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1kg jam sugar
Put fruit and lemon juice with 100ml of water into preserving pan. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until tender and reduced.
Put a couple of saucers in fridge to chill
Add the sugar to the pan and cook, stirring to dissolve. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes
Put a teaspoonful onto the chilled saucer and test for wrinkle. If not ready put back onto the boil and test again in a few minutes. When wrinkle test is positive remove pan from heat. Ladle into sterilised jars seal. Label when cool
Somerset Jam (Apples and Pears)
3lb cooking apples peeled cored sliced (reserve peel and cores)
3lb cooking pears, same as above
4 3/4lb sugar
Place apples and pears in large pan pour over the cider. Tie all peel and cores in muslin bag. Heat slowly simmer for 30 mins till fruit is soft but still some whole pieces.
Remove the muslin bag, squeeze juice back into pan. Add the sugar and heat gently till sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, then rapid boil till setting point is reached. Remove scum. Cool slightly, stir, then pour into prepared jars. Cover.
Makes about 6 lbs (I have made this many times and even won a prize for it)
Spiced apple and date jam (makes approximately 10 x 450g jars):
3kg cooking apples (weighed after peeling and coring), half finely diced, half finely sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
2kg granulated sugar
750g light muscovado sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
550g stoned dates, roughly chopped
Put the apples in a large pan (you might have to split this between two large pans) with the cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Slowly heat until the apples start to release liquid and the sugar starts to melt. Increase the heat until everything is watery, stirring regularly to prevent the sugar catching on the bottom of the pan and burning. Put a small plate in the freezer.
Bring to the boil and boil until the apples have softened and the liquid has started to turn golden and reduce (you will still have some chunks of apple left through) – about 15-20 minutes. Add the dates, then continue to simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Keep stirring regularly to stop it burning on the bottom – be careful and wear oven gloves for this, though, because it will bubble volcanically and hurt if it splashes onto you. Especially if it splashes into your eyes. I can tell you that from bitter experience.
To test for a set, spoon a small amount of jam onto the cold plate from the freezer and run your finger down the middle – if it wrinkles and parts cleanly, then it’s ready. If not, continue to boil for a little while longer.
Decant into sterilised jars (I sterilise mine by washing in hot soapy water then drying upside down in the oven at 120C for half an hour), cover with wax discs, and seal.
2lb windfall apples, peeled and cored
5 pints water
5 lbs sugar
Wash the citrus fruit, shred the peel finely. Chop the flesh roughly. Chop the apples and place with the water, peel and flesh in the pan. Tie the pith, pips, apple peel and cores in muslin and add to the pan. Simmer gently until the peel is tender and quantity reduced by half. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze well. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Boil rapidly until the setting point is reached. Allow to stand for 15 mins before potting.
Yields about 9 lb.
This recipe was supplied by Liz Sherwood from Wimbledon Abundance. It is nice and tart.
Apple ginger jam
4 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced. Tie the cores and peel in muslin and put in the pan with the fruit and 1½ pints water.
Simmer apples and water till really soft. Remove muslin bag. Mash or seive the apples to get a puree.
8oz preserved ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp ginger syrup
Grated rind and juice of 3 lemons
Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Allow to stand for 15 mins. Pot and cover in the usual way. Makes 6-7lb.