Simple pleasures

The Jam

There are some days when I am rather overambitious in bringing home more food than I really know what to do with. I’ve got better over the years, and now, if I am spending a day working on aubergine recipes, for example, I no longer end up with a grocer’s shops-worth of them. I give them to my neighbours instead.

And this was the case yesterday, as I returned from a shoot with rather more soft fruits than a person could need, even a person with a Maya in their family who probably would raze a raspberry field to the ground like a plague of sweet toothed locusts.

Today, as the boxes of raspberries sat gently pooling into juice on the kitchen bench I decided to do as any 1950’s housewife would and make jam. That way, I could keep the abundance of fruit in jars taking up exactly the same amount of space, but not rotting and then being thrown away. We really do need a bigger kitchen. Or a food storeroom.

This is quick and easy – it took about ten minutes to make, then a good few hours cooling and setting – a great success for jam novices. Sterilise two jam jars just beforehand. It’s best to put the hot jam into hot jars. That way you won’t be smashing glass with thermal shock and putting the whole lot in the bin.

300g raspberries
50g blueberries
100g jam sugar

Put the fruit in a heavy-based pan with the sugar on top. Boil the fruit until soft then mash up a little, stirring in the sugar which will have warmed up quite a lot on top of the fruit.
Bring back to the boil and using a pastry brush dipped in hot water brush around the inside of the pan where the sugar is sticking. This will stop the jam crystallising and being grainy.
Boil gently for about ten minutes and try to resist stirring too much.
If you have a sugar thermometer, it should reach about 104c. That’s when it’s ready. If not, put a plate in the fridge and after ten minutes, put a blob of jam on the plate and see if it sets. If it does, it’s ready. If it doesn’t, it’s not.
Pour into the jam jars and put the lids on. Leave to cool. They should keep for about a month.

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