There is something about foraging for free fruit that I love. This year’s harvest is damsons…but also black berries. The blackberries rarely make it to the maslin pan though…especially if foraging with Frankie, my middle grand-son, aged 3. He loves to try the fruit at source: ‘just tasting Nanna’.
Jam making. I’ve got a good tip to share for this: However much jam you are making; washing , drying and sterilising the jam jars canbe a tedious task. So wash the jam jars in very hot water and place them into the simmering oven to dry. (Put them onto a baking tray for ease of movement).
I’m thinking ahead with this jam and making homemade Christmas hampers for friends and family. These jars will be joining the sloe gin in the cupboard ready for December assembly. I’ll add Christmas shortbread, waxed cloth food wraps, that I have now perfected, and home-made cloth make up removal pads! I’m happy to share all of the above know how….but you’ll have to ask!
2.25kg jam sugar
- Place 4 small saucers into the freezer.
- Put the damsons into a maslin pan with 300ml of water bring to the boil and then simmer for15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
- Stir in the jam sugar and cook on the simmering plate (low heat), frequently stirring, until all the sugar has thoroughly dissolved.
- Move to the boiling plate (turn up the heat) and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for about 15 minutes and then remove from the heat.
- Now we need to test for the setting point. Spoon a little of the jam mixture onto one of the (cold) saucers and pop back into freezer for a couple of minutes. Push your finger through it and if it wrinkles and isn’t runny it is ready. If it doesn’t wrinkle return the pan to the heat and boil for a further 2-3 minutes and then re-test.
- Once the jam is ready, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so. Whilst this is happening you can use a combination of slotted spoon and tea spoon to remove as many as the stones as possible.
- Finally stir the jam so that the fruit is suspended in the syrup and ladle into the warm jars. Cover immediately with waxed discs and lids, label and date. The jam will keep well in a cool place for months.