For most people, jam is a part of their childhood memories, while for others they remain a good breakfast option with bread and butter. Jams don’t taste good with just bread, but with a host of other things like idly, dosa, puris, biscuits, cookies, pancakes, waffles, and ice cream.
Jam is generally made of crushed or chopped fruit and sugar and spreads very easily. For this process the juice and pulp of a fruit is widely used. Sometimes, for a mixed fruit variety, a combination of several fruits is also used, but most commonly used fruits are different kinds of berries. Good jams are a semi-jellied texture, with a nice fruit flavour and a vibrant colour.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
5 cups of crushed strawberries
7 cups of sugar
Rub the base of the pan with a little butter, to prevent the jam from sticking. Put the crushed strawberries in the pan over gentle heat. Press them against the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon to extract the juice. Continue this process for about 10-15 minutes, until they turn soft.
Add the sugar stir until dissolved. Boil the jam for about 10 minutes. Remove the top most layers and leave the jam for 5 minutes so that the berries are evenly distributed. Pour into jars and cover them.
Useful Tips and Hints
Avoid over ripe fruit, as it will have lost pectin, which is important for a good set.
Simmer the fruits gently that needs softening before adding the sugar. Fruit skins become tougher after adding the sugar. Fruit varies with the weather. Summer generally produces watery fruit that are low in pectin. Jam made from it may lack color. For a well set it is essential to sugar and acid in the right proportion.
Avoid adding Sugar until the fruit is well cooked. After adding sugar boil the jam in order to make it bubble rapidly all over the surface of the pan, until it reaches a setting point.
To prevent fruit especially cherries and strawberries, rising in the jars, allow the jam to cool slightly in the pan before filling the jars. Do not over boil the jam as the sugar will darken the color spoil its flavor and may cause stickiness.
A syrupy or runny jam is due to under boiling, a deficiency of pectin or acid or to the use of too much sugar.
Jam ferments due to insufficient sugar and under boiling. Do not remove the Scum or the top layer of the jam until the jam is done. Continuous skimming is wasteful and by adding, a blob of butter after stirring, the scum will disappear.
Use scrupulously clean covers, if using airtight jars. Cover jars after filling them.
To Test the Setting Stage
Draw the pan off the heat, spoon a little jam on to a cold plate and cool it. Draw your finger through the jam. If it is ready, the surface should wrinkle thickly.
For an experienced jam maker a quicker method is to dip a wooden spoon into the jam and hold the spoon sideways well above the pan. The jam should slip down slowly and heavily to the tip of the spoon then remain suspended from it for 8-10 seconds before dropping off.