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Jam making to inspire beginners!

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default Re: Jam making to inspire beginners!

Post by Guest on 17th July 2010, 3:19 pm

Dandelion - there are "Cherry-Crabs" which are a malus. Cut the fruit to see if it has a stone, if it hasn't it's not a cherry. These crab's fruits can be around for a long time.

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Post by Dandelion on 17th July 2010, 6:21 pm

Thanks folks - that's helpful. There are stones, because the birds leave them around the garden when they eat them (they have to be very hungry first!). Will have a go with a small batch. Am still looking forward to making raspberry conserve when the autumn rasps are ripe. It had never occured to me that there might be a recipe (duh!!) - it seemed seemed to be an arcane thing which my grandmother did!!!

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Post by Compostwoman on 17th July 2010, 6:32 pm

CM made Tayberry jam today, I came downstairs to the most delightful smell

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Post by GB on 19th July 2010, 4:45 pm

So if a fruit has some pectin does one have to boost it with packet pectin?

I ask because I have made LOTS of great syrup but only ever got crab apple jelly to set right

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Post by Compostwoman on 19th July 2010, 4:51 pm

Depends how much pectin it already has in it...

You can mess about with methylated spirits and stuff to test the pectin content ( have done it once, can't remember the exact method but you throw away the results and DO NOT use them to make jam with! its just to decide how pectin-y the fruit is!

OR you could try making a tiny amount and see if it sets...if it doesn't you need some pectin ( apples, apple cores, jam sugar or sugar plus commercial pectin)

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Post by Guest on 19th July 2010, 8:13 pm

The pectine test using methylated spirit is as follows.
Take one teaspoon of cold fruit juice. Add 3 teaspoons of methylated spirit and shake the mixture well. After 1 minute pour it gently into another glass. If the juice has formed as single, large clot it contains a high amount of pectin; a few smaller clots indicate a sufficient or fair pectin content while a large number of small clots show the fruit needs added pectin. Discard test.

GB I believe your fruits are Jelly palm fruit which in a good year (hot and dry) should set with their own pectin. If not try adding the juice of a lemon per pint of liquid.

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Post by Compostwoman on 19th July 2010, 8:35 pm

Zoe wrote:The pectine test using methylated spirit is as follows.
Take one teaspoon of cold fruit juice. Add 3 teaspoons of methylated spirit and shake the mixture well. After 1 minute pour it gently into another glass. If the juice has formed as single, large clot it contains a high amount of pectin; a few smaller clots indicate a sufficient or fair pectin content while a large number of small clots show the fruit needs added pectin. Discard test.

GB I believe your fruits are Jelly palm fruit which in a good year (hot and dry) should set with their own pectin. If not try adding the juice of a lemon per pint of liquid.

Zoe I wish I had known you were going to post that as I went and looked it up and was just about to hit "send" on my own version!

Ah well, GB read what she says as its what I did and I can vouch for the fact it works....

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Post by GB on 19th July 2010, 8:44 pm

Its been hot alright but nice and rainy about once a week. The fruit is sweet and tart and yummy so will give a couple of cups a try.

If I make my usual jar of syrup its no loss, just through fizzy water in a glass with some and it should be lovely.

Hope it sets though!

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Post by Guest on 31st July 2010, 7:09 pm

A good one for beginners is Jumbleberry Jam
This is a great way of using small amounts of more intensely flavoured summer strawberries, some raspberries and any currants (all colours) that are still around. It has a wonderful taste of summer, slightly sharper then strawberry alone.

Its simply equal weight of fruit to sugar. To ensure a set look for 1/3 to 1/2 of the fruit to be currants.
Put the fruit in the pan with the sugar. Carefully dissolve the sugar and lightly cook the fruit.
Bring to the boil. Rapidly boil for 10mins or until setting point.
Pot in hot sterilised jars.

Enjoy!

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Post by budburst12 on 1st August 2010, 8:52 pm

Blackberries are about to happen in a big way. You're saying these are low pectin, so how much other stuff should be added in to get a good set?

And btw - thanks for a great topic and all the tips. I'm one of those people who got put off by bad experiences - tend to overcook and make the kind of stuff that you can't get out of the jar. My top tip for when this happens would be to make it into fruit pastilles - roll into balls, squash and press into plate of granulated sugar.
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Post by Guest on 2nd August 2010, 7:03 pm

Blackberries are a bit of a pain as sometimes that don't really have much taste (and sometimes a bit of an odd flavour on their own) as well as they don't set. I always (now) make blackberry and apple jam which sets easily (freeze the blackberries whilst waiting for the apples).

If I've got some stronger flavoured ones I make jelly...reducing it seems to help. Usually I add some elderberries. The jelly gets used as with yogurts etc.

If you really love blackberry jam it is one to add pectin to and make a light jam with the sieved fruit pulp.

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Post by Lizbuff13 on 3rd August 2010, 4:35 pm

I would just like to say that I love Apricot Marmalades/Jams....They are so full of natural pectin there is no need to add any store bought. My Apricot Pineapple Marmalade was delightful! The Apricots are local to my region, and yes, I know I had to buy imported pineapples.....but they were fresh, not canned! Yummy, I chopped them and cooked them first to tenderize and stop any enzyme action that might have inhibited the pectin from doing its thing. The flavor is incredible. Do you have Apricots in your areas??
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Post by Compostwoman on 3rd August 2010, 6:02 pm

Only on a south facing warm wall or in a big glasshouse.

The climate here is ( in most places) a bit too variable for peaches and apricots if grown in the open, but yes up against a big S facing kitchen garden wall it is possible, with care and shelter.

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Post by budburst12 on 7th August 2010, 4:04 pm

eugh, same old problem - just tried making a small batch of blackberry jam (I *love* blackberry jam) and it's set hard. I put a little lemon juice into it to help with the pectin levels:

175g blackberries
175g sugar
third of a lemon juiced
(quantities as per a recipe I found in a book)

I'm judging temperature as being done when reaches about 105 degrees C and am doing the wrinkle test (cold plate in fridge + jam = wrinkle). It had just barely reached temperature when I took it off the heat.

Any tips for not over cooking it? Is the temperature too high? Or should I just try adding less lemon juice?
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Post by Guest on 8th August 2010, 10:41 am

Some thoughts...and questions
Its early for blackberries. Are they cultivated or brambles? Are they in a wet place or dry? What does the fruit taste like when raw, how acid?

What sugar are you using..type and make?

175g is a very small amount. A double handful? Even with a very small pan I'm conserned about having enough bulk to put the thermometer in. How much of the thermometer was covered (mine has a fluid level mark)? Also a small amount might just be loosing too much fluid.

104 - 106 degC is considered the setting point. My thermometer actually is marked at 104degC. But one book I have and other serious jam makers really don't go by a temperature. Using the thermometer is getting into the trap of watching it not the jam. I would try it without it. Test after 10mins of rapid boil.

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Post by budburst12 on 8th August 2010, 8:08 pm

Thanks Zoe

Yeah, very small amount (enforced by sudden heavy rain shower while collecting + impatience to have a go at making it into jam!)

Perhaps with so little the liquid evaporated off rather quickly like you say - it was about a couple of large double handfuls. We cooked it up in a little pan and could just get the bulb of the thermometer under the fruit. Perhaps was a bit too close to the mark.

Timing - was only 5 mins rapid boil. Very quick to get up to temperature!

Used tate and lyle preserving sugar

Just wild blackberries, although look a bit like they could be dewberries (native fruits with bigger blobby bits and slightly milder taste than blackberries). Not all that sharp tasting, quite sweet really. Very more-ish and juicy!

Location ... growing out of gap in concrete at base of east facing brick walled barn, so probably sporadically gets quite a lot of water from roof and yard run off, but rest of time could well dry out. So judging by july's wet weather, probably quite moist. LOTS of berries this year!

What do you think? Try again with a larger batch and wrinkle test a few degrees before it gets up to temperature just in case? (I didn't wrinkle test til it had just hit temperature)
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Post by Guest on 8th August 2010, 10:14 pm

Sorry to persist but are you sure your sugar is not Tate and Lyle Jam Sugar? This does have added pectin and citric acid. Their preserving sugar is just sugar but large crystals (probably cane too) to help rapid desolving and less scum.... this is so crucial. The ingredients on the packet will give the definate answer!

Fruit with less water content will set harder than moist fruit (so not that), acid content is important too (not mentioned yet on thread) but yours is low. So inaccurate reading on the thermometer is possible. To much water lost, possible as too small a quantity. But the only 5 mins...and set solid is why I ask about the sugar. Commercial pectins set in 6mins (from my experience anyway).

You didn't say what the jam tasted like?

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Post by budburst12 on 11th August 2010, 4:55 pm

It's silver spoon preserving sugar - large crystals to prevent scum. Thought you might have been on to something there, but sadly no - is no added pectin, so I must just be over cooking it. Maybe is just due to being such a small batch like you say.

bigthink

Will try again with larger batch or lower temp and I'll let you know how it goes!

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Post by danksshady on 14th August 2010, 4:04 pm

Managed to make my first successful jam the other day -apricot it worked great and is lovely tasting too , I made rhubarb jam last year but it was a disaster
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Post by Guest on 11th September 2010, 6:02 pm

A couple of extra notes:

Pectin, even in fruit that is high in pectin like plums, turns to pectic acid as it becomes ripe and over ripe. This is why it is always said that slightly under ripe fruit is better for jamming.

Acid content is very important to obtain a good set as well as the sugar and pectin. The only way I've heard the level descibed is that the fruit mix must have the "acid taste" of lemons. This is different to "lack of sweetness".......think about when you eat some fruit...see if you can taste the acid and the sugar (tomatoes are usually high in both) Cool

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Post by GB on 18th September 2010, 10:53 pm

As my test batch of jelly set just fine I made 11 pints of jelly last night.

All my jars sealed wonderfully so my 11 jars of SYRUP should keep just fine for Christmas prezzies Rolling Eyes

Same fruit and same sugar but WAAAAAY different product!

But at least its still got a cracking good taste diluted in ice water. None of it will go to waste but I was so looking forward to having jelly to give away Sad

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Post by Guest on 20th September 2010, 8:03 pm

GB may have just hit the problem of trying to make a too large a batch. It is difficult to get the temperature up throughout the liquid and maintain it to setting point. Also the smaller batch could have reduced down (lost some fluid) which is less likely with the large batch.

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