Jam is a must-have summer preparation for the winter! Apricot, raspberry, apple, plum, currant, cherry, grape … But how to make a really tasty jam to keep for a long time, jars did not explode and mold did not appear?
Prepare for cooking in advance
Many people inherit special copper basins for cooking jam – wide and flat, with a wooden handle. They are excellent because copper evenly distributes heat, reducing the likelihood of jam burning. If your grandmother bypassed you in the will, any wide pot with a thick bottom will do.
You will also need: wooden spoons for stirring the jam, a spoon with holes to remove the foam and a ladle for pouring jam into jars. It is best to keep a plastic jug of water next to the stove, as cooks do in restaurants. Stir the jam with a wooden spoon – put it in the jug of water. And keep kitchen towels handy.
Store jam best in small glass jars with screw-top lids (the lids should be new each time). 250 grams is the ideal size, the jam will last for a week or two and will not have time to spoil.
Be sure to sterilize the jars and lids. This will take an extra 30 minutes, but you will be sure that your blanks will not spoil. First, wash the jars with hot water and detergent. Next, it’s your choice. You can put the jars with lids in the dishwasher on the cycle with the highest temperature, but without detergent. Or put the still wet jars and lids in the oven for 15 minutes and set the temperature to 120 degrees. The most traditional way is to place the jars in a pot, fill with water, bring the water to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Put the lids on 10 minutes after the boil starts. Sterilized jars and lids take out with tongs and put to dry on a clean towel.
The main rule – choose strong and not overripe berries and fruits, they have the most pectin. This is such a natural thickener, polysaccharide, which in varying amounts is contained in all fruits and berries. Almost all industrial jams and jellies additionally add pectin or sugar with pectin. At home, this is not necessary, you yourself can control the consistency of the final product. If you want the jam to be thicker, just boil it longer. Strawberries and peaches have the least pectin, currants, apples and plums have the most.
You need the simplest – neutral in flavor granulated sugar, white, refined. He is the main preservative for jam. Traditional recipes call for taking a kilogram of sugar per kilogram of peeled product, and then who likes it. For example, in the recipe for raspberry jam so and so should be done, and in blueberry jam it is better to add a kilogram of sugar to two kilograms of berries.
Lemon or lime
The juice of lemon or lime is needed to activate pectin, balance the taste and preserve the bright color of fruits and berries, which is especially important for raspberries and strawberries. One or two spoonfuls of juice is enough. Just add it at the very end of cooking.
Choose what you will make – jam, marmalade or jelly. And start cooking
Jam, jelly, marmalade, jelly are all different ways of preserving fruits and berries, vegetables, nuts and flowers (think rose petal jam). When jam is cooked, the ingredients tend to retain their shape; jam or confit is cooked, the ingredients are boiled. Marmalade is jam made from citrus fruits, most often oranges. Jam is a puree boiled with sugar. There is also raw jam – in it the ingredients are grinded with sugar – and jam-five-minute, the name speaks for itself – boiled for five minutes. And then there is jelly – from berries and fruits with a high content of pectin, for example, red currants: berries are first boiled with sugar, and then rubbed through a sieve. We will tell mainly about jam and jam.
In advance, put away in the freezer a couple of small plates. They will come in handy when you determine the readiness of jam or jam.
Choose a recipe. If you want to keep the fruit and berries whole – make jam, and if you prefer a soft and jelly-like texture, which is good to spread on a hot piece of bread with butter – you need jam.
For jam, it is better to first boil sugar syrup in a ratio of one to one, but for jam, pour sugar over the raw material for about 20 minutes, or even overnight. This will significantly shorten the cooking time of jam.
After boiling, cook jam and jam on high heat – so the water evaporates faster and start working pectin. If after 40 to 50 minutes of cooking you feel that your jam or jam is still not thick enough, do a test with a plate from the freezer. Drop the jam onto it and wait for it to cool a little. If the drop keeps its shape and does not spread on the plate – everything is ready.
Remove the foam – someone does it all the time, but in general it is enough once, at the end of cooking. Foam should be removed, so that the jam remains transparent. For the same purpose, you can add a teaspoon of butter to the strawberry jam.
Pour hot jam or jam into jars, not filling one centimeter to the top of the jar. Immediately screw the lids on, but not quite all the way up so that the jars don’t burst. If you want to be sure that your jars will last all winter, sterilize them again in boiling water for 15 minutes, carefully remove with tongs and screw the lids on all the way. Use a towel for this and don’t burn yourself.
Bonus: three not-so-easy recipes
Classic jam: three-day-old clear apricots
Dense apricots with seeds – 1.5 kg
Water – 0.5 kg.
Sugar – 1 kg.
Cut the apricots in half and prick in several places with a toothpick. Break the pips, add the kernels to the apricots. Dissolve sugar in water over low heat, bring the syrup to a boil. Pour the syrup over the apricots and leave for 10 hours. If the apartment is hot, it is better to put the jam in the refrigerator.
After 10 hours, take out the apricots, bring the syrup back to a boil and pour it over the apricots again. Allow the jam to infuse for another 10 hours. Take out the apricots one last time, boil the syrup to twice its volume, return the apricots, bring to a boil and simmer for another 20 minutes over medium heat until the apricots are translucent.
Very thick jelly: raspberry and lime
Raspberries, peeled – 1 kg.
Sugar – 0.9 kg.
Kaffir lime leaf – 4 pcs.
Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Divide the raspberries in half. Cover the first half with sugar so that the raspberries give juice. Put the other half into a jam pot, mashed potato with a masher or a spoon and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Strain through a sieve and pour the juice back into the pot. Add the whole raspberries and sugar to the same place.
Begin to simmer over low heat. Once the sugar dissolves, increase the heat and bring to a boil, add the kaffir lime leaves and simmer on high heat for 40 minutes. Test with a plate from the freezer. If the jam is thick enough, pour in the lime juice, remove the leaves, boil again and pour into jars.
Large oranges – 3 pcs
Sugar – 0,5 kg
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Carefully remove the peel from the orange, trying to cut off as little zest as possible. It is best to do it with a knife-piller. Thinly slice the peel into straws. Cut the orange flesh into slices, remove the inner white membranes and pips, they will make the marmalade bitter. Try to save as much juice as possible.
Boil water in a small saucepan, put in it the skin cut into straws, boil for a couple of minutes and drain on a sieve. Repeat two more times. In a saucepan, mix the peel, pulp and sugar. Bring slowly to a boil to dissolve all the sugar, then simmer over high heat for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Test with a plate from the freezer. The finished marmalade should darken to an amber-golden color and the rind should be translucent, but not cooked. If the marmalade is thick enough, add lemon juice, bring to a boil again and pour into jars.
In orange marmalade you can add a little fresh grated ginger, ground black or red hot pepper, cinnamon stick (don’t forget to take it out when you boil the marmalade).