The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
Jam, no, I can’t make jam. Far too complicated.
Yes eight years ago, the house chef made the jam. I was a bit scared, skeptical and reluctant.
I did all the picking, plucking, washing, etc but the actual process was hardcore.
That’s all changed now.
There were one or two, let’s say missed opportunities where picked fruit didn’t make it so I decided to grasp the ladle.
Now I don’t want to write this to give you a recipe. Delia and co. have plenty of those but I’m more interested in the aspects that put me off.
You need jars, you need big pans. The word sterile features. I see a kitchen covered in red blobs. It’s boiling. It takes hours. There could be a thermometer. Someone’s bound to get hurt!
Urgh! I need to sit down.
So I just made jam. Thirty minutes tops. Start to finish. Process is completely nailed down. No drama!
Here’s how I do it!
1. Get some stuff together
You need a saucepan, wooden spoon, a ladle, something to scrape the pot with and a funnel. I put them on a metal tray so I can stand it on the stove right next to the action.
2. Get your jars ready
I cheat. The jars are clean and free of labels. (Here’s how)
I put a couple of cms of tap water in the bottom of each. Then I microwave them without the metal lids in batches of three for two mins. They should reach a boil and have steam on the glass when you open the microwave.
Take them out put them on the tray. Rest the Lid on. (Don’t screw it on. The heat will warm the lid too.)
You must use metal lids. Plastic doesn’t work.
So today I used 400g fresh garden strawberries and 500g of pectin sugar. Not everyone will do this. But I tried the normal sugar and boiling to 104 and all that. It’s a nightmare!
Small amounts are good too. The packet said riots that have less natural pectin need more of the sugar so that’s why I used this amount.
I cooked the strawberries in a small amount of water. About 150ml.
When they were hot I added the pectin sugar.
Make sure it’s dissolved then get the heat going.
Do not go away. Make tea. Answer the phone. Multi task.
If the pot boils over now it’s a disaster. (Red goo all over the kitchen etc)
The jam mix needs to be on a rolling boil.
Basically a witches cauldron type bubbling commitment. Steaming and very active. Check the packet of the sugar for time.
Make sure it’s busy for a good few minutes. I did six.
Get your jar ready. Empty out the water, put the funnel on the top, put the jar very close to the edge of the pan. Prevent mess is my view.
Then ladle in the jam right to the top. Put the lid on and tighten it straight away. If you’re lucky there’s a vacuum. Then it pops as it cools.
That’s it! Tidy up!
Have that cup of tea.
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...