23 August 2010

Small batch jam making - you can do it, too!

Plum Jam
For people like us, who love the taste of home-made jam but who cannot justify (both in expenditure and calories) making pots and pots of the stuff, the revelation that is "small batch jam making" is almost life changing. Although, I have to admit that why I didn't think of just making a small amount of jam instead of huge vats of the stuff, I really don't know - it all seems so obvious now.

One punnet (400g) of British plums
Anyway, if you've got a punnet of fruit that you don't know what to do with, plus a half hour and some sugar, then a pot of delicious jam can be yours.

For instance. I was in the supermaket collecting the weekly haul of ingredients, when I noticed a decent sized punnet of British plums for £1. Immediately they caught my eye, but I hesitated because I am really the only one of the three of us who will eat a raw plum. Then the lightbulb switched itself on and I remembered the small batch jam. Just the job!

The first job, after washing them and removing their stalks, is to remove their stones and cut them into quarters. You don't really want them any bigger than that, otherwise you'll wind up with huge sheets of plum skin wafting around in your jam.

Starting to bubble
Then, weigh your fruit and put it into a saucepan. Next, weigh out an equivalent - or less, if you like your jam zingy - amount of sugar and include that in the pan with the fruit. The last batch I made was rhubarb and ginger jam, and I did that on a 3 parts fruit : 1 part sugar basis, which worked fine. Add a tablespoon of water or fruit juice to the pan and turn the heat up to high.

Bubbling away like crazy
You will need to be attentive in your stirring of the pot, mainly to keep everything moving so that it doesn't stick to the pan and burn, but also to keep the sides pulled in so as to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

Bubbling nicely
As you stir and as the potion bubbles, you'll begin to notice that the "feel" of the jam is beginning to change to a more slippery, less grainy, sensation.  This is your cue to try a little drip - either into a saucer of cold water, or onto a cold metal spoon.  If the jam thickens and doesn't run (or dissolve, in the case of the saucer of water), then it's time to take it off of the heat and allow it to cool slightly before decanting into your pot.

Rhubarb & ginger jam
In this instance, there's no need to fiddle around sterilising the pot, or providing little greaseproof layers for the surface.  The truth is that the jam just isn't going to be around for long enough to warrant worrying about it going off.  *grin*  Kept in a fridge, it should last as long as it needs to - until the last spoonful is used up on a piece of hot buttered toast.


  1. mmmmM! Yes, Might just give this a try at the weekend, as l'm always given lot's of fruit, etc.
    Though, l'm strickly a savoury person, cheeses, salami's, olives etc. If a sweet is put in front of me, l will eat it, with pleasure.
    So, l know someone at the moment, whose got plumbs to give away, will pick some up later.
    Sounds good, and l'll make some custard to go with it. Home made, of course.....mmmM! :)

  2. Now this is an insight! I used to make jam years ago, but nowaways it's one of those things that just sits on the "Oh it would be nice to do that again" pile. Small batch jam opens the door again!

    Question though, if I may be so bold, do I need any particular sugar? Do I need to buy posh preserving sugar, or can I make do with whatever is in the cupboard?

  3. Hiya Jane :) No, you just need common or garden granulated sugar. Because you're only making the one pot and will be keeping it in the fridge, you don't need to worry about the preservation aspect. It generally doesn't hang around long enough to go furry! :D

    Oh, and your Nectarines would be absolutely perfect to try it out with. :)

  4. Thank you for this post, I'd never though of making jam in small batches before. My Mum makes loads of jam ever year but because she lives in France it's difficult for me to bring a lot home with me, so my homemade jam experiences are limited to a few times a year.


I love to receive messages from you all, so if you can spare the time, comment away!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...