Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Top tip for jam makers

As the jam making season is well upon us I find it important to share a few family secrets.
I use a lot of recycled jars for my jam making and all this talk of "sterilizing" and "sealing" used to through me into frenzied episodes of doubt, "OH,that sound's complicated, I 'll never be able to do that!" So I ended up putting it off until the next year and the next. But fear no more. It's not complicated or scary! Once you know what to do it becomes apparently easy and you wonder why you've never tried it before. My mum who is a master jam maker told me about this one.There is science behind it and it works so I'm happy with that!
The sterilization process can be very straight forward. Wash and clean your jars and lids in warm soapy water and rinse. Place them on a baking tray and place them in a warm/hot oven for 15/20 minutes. I usually do this just as the jam is finishing off.
Now...sealing the jam. You need to do this to expand the life of your jam. It should in theory if done correctly last until the next year. Wax lids and paper are messy and a pain... a little bit of trapped air under these and mold sets in.
Once your jam is ready don't wait for it to cool. Ladle the hot jam in to the pre-sterilized jars just up to the ridge under the neck of the jar but not up to the rim (leave about 2 cm or so).
Make sure it's closed tight. Careful when handling hot jam and hot jars, good oven gloves and a kitchen towel are essential to have near by. Turn the covered jars upside down and as the jam cools in the jar this forms a natural vacuum and once it's completely cool turn it back up the right way up and the jam and gravity work their magic. Hey presto!
For my fab fig jam recipe visit: