Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mixed Berry Jam

After making the green tea spread, I decided to try make some jam. The first time I made jam was when I was at school for food technology and I didn't make any until now. I don't really like commercial jam because there aren't any pieces of fruit in them and they are just too sweet. I referred to quite a few recipes and Christine Ferber's 'Mes Confitures' jam cookbook too and adapted from there.

Berry jam is probably one of the easiest to make. This is because berries have natural pectin which thickens the jam when heated and cooked together with sugar. Making jam is often overlooked but it isn't that hard to make. As a beginner, if I can make it, so can you! In fact, it only took around 20 minutes to cook the jam. Now I'm just looking forward to bake some goodies with the jam.

Mixed Berry Jam
(makes approximately 500g of spread)

A punnet of blueberries (125g)
A punnet of raspberries (170g)
A punnet of blackberries (170g)
250g sugar
1 lemon

Method - soak the berries

Soak the berries in a big bowl. Swirl the berries around so any unwanted bits will float to the top of the water. Dispose the water and repeat this process for a few times. Drain and let your fruit air dry for a while. 

Method - macerate the berries a day before:

Mix the sugar with the berries and macerate for a day or overnight in the fridge. When you take it out the next morning, all the sugar would have dissolved and you are left with pieces of fruit and juice.

You can skip this step if you want but I find this step crucial because it allows the juice of the fruit to come out. This reduces the cooking time for the jam and allows the fruit to hold its shape too. I tried making this jam without macerating, the cooking time took an extra 15 minutes and there were less pieces of fruit in the jam.

Method - sterilise the jar:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Wash a jar and lid in hot soapy water but do not dry them. Please do not put the lid into the oven if it is made of plastic. You can put your lid in some hot water to sterilise.
  3. Put your jar standing upside down in a tray and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes.
Method - cooking the jam:
  1. Take your macerated berries from the fridge. Bring everything to a boil. Once it starts boiling, there will be a lot of foam and bubbles. Use a large metal spoon to skim froth from the surface. Simmer on medium-low heat.
  2. As the jam simmers, stir occasionally and check the consistency. To check consistency, you can hold up a spoon and observe how fast/slow the jam drops off from a spoon. If it drops off slowly, it shows that the jam is nearly done.
  3. The bubbles will start to decrease as the jam cooks which indicates that it is starting to reach the consistency of jam. The jam will start to thicken and the colour of the jam will darken as you cook. To test if ready, place a few drops of jam on a plate and put the plate in the freezer for a minute. Push the jam with a finger and if it wrinkles then it is ready. Unfortunately, my video doesn't show the jam wrinkling as I pushed the jam with my finger. As you become experienced with jam making, this step will become unnecessary. 
  4. Transfer the jam to a sterilised jar. Wipe the rim of the jar with some tissues. Cool completely before closing with a lid. Once it cools down, the jam will set. Keep it in the fridge and consume when you need to. 
And here's the video!


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