Top Jam Making Tips

Have your jars clean and ready before starting to cook jam. Learn how to clean your jars here. Fruit should be ripe but not over-ripe. Do not use fruit that has brown rot. Discard bruised or damaged parts of the fruit. Small batches of jam up to 1.5kg of fruit are best to ensure the colour and flavour of the fruit is retained by keeping cooking times down. Use a large, deep stock pot or preserving pan to make jam as the jam will boil up very quickly to a level more than double the original volume you started with. It will subside when the heat is reduced. Choose a good quality stainless steel pan with a heavy base for jam making. This will help prevent the jam from catching on the bottom. A long handled wooden spoon is essential for jam making. Boil fruit gently at first until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Add the sugar to the fruit and stir over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. This stops the sugar crystallising during keeping. A small knob of butter added to the jam when boiling will help prevent scum forming. If scum forms, remove from the surface of the jam using a slotted spoon before packing into jars. Take care not to stir the scum into the jam as it thickens. As the jam cooks and gets closer to giving a setting test, make sure you stir the jam frequently to prevent catching. It is time to test for setting when the jam appears to be thickening as   it boils, or when it sheets from the wooden spoon. Always pack jam into clean jars that have been heated in a 120 degree   oven for 15 minutes. This will prevent breakages when the hot jam is filled into the jars. Place jars to be filled on a wooden board and use a heated jug to fill jars. Fill jars above the shoulder of the jar to within 1 centimetre from the rim. Leave jam until cold before putting on lids to prevent condensation forming inside the lid. Jars with lids that require heat to seal the lid should have lids put on while jam is hot. Clean jars thoroughly before labelling with name and date and storing in a cool, dark place. Jams are best eaten within a year of making. 
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