Local Jam

There’s pride and pleasure in making your own good-tasting jams when local fresh fruit are in season and in good supply, or perhaps from fruit in your own garden. NOTE: If storing jam (rather than refrigerating and using up quickly, ‘coz it is so yummy), jars must be sterilized before bottling jam. To sterilize jars, wash in warm soapy water, rinse, stand upside down to drain; then stand on wooden board, place in low oven until jars are completely dry.

Choice of Fruit
Fruit for jam-making is best used early in its season, freshly picked, dry, just ripe or slightly under ripe, when the pectin acid content is highest. As fruit ripens, the acid it contains changes pectin to sugar, so the jam does not set well. The acid in just-ripe or slightly under-ripe fruit is necessary to draw out the pectin, improve flavour, and help to prevent sugar crystallizing. If fruit is over-ripe, jam does not set; if picked during wet weather, jam may ferment or mould quickly.

Rich in pectin and acid: Cooking apples, black currants, plums, gooseberries, lemons, limes, grapefruit, seville oranges.
Moderately rich in pectin and acid: Apricots, blackberries, loganberries, raspberries, sweet oranges, mandarins.
Poor in pectin and acid: Late blackberries, cherries, pineapple, jam melon, pears, peaches, strawberries.
To overcome pectin deficiency:
1. Combine fruit deficient in pectin with pc rich fruit (e.g., local apple & wild blackberry)
2. Add lemon juice which is rich in pectin and contains acid.

Use of Sugar
Correct proportion is important; sugar does not have to dominate your jam. Over-sweetening takes away from fruit flavour, but does increase setting and shelf life. If storing straight to fridge, use 1/3 to1/2 kg sugar to 1 kg fruit; for preserving fruit moderate to rich pectin content use up to 1 kg sugar to 1 kg fruit. Sugar, warmed for quick dissolving, is added after fruit and skins have simmered until soft.

Basic Method
1. Remove stalks, stones, any bruised parts, skin from such ingredients as pineapple, jam melon.
2. Place fruit in pan, maybe greased to prevent burning. It should not be more than half full when the fruit and sugar are combined, otherwise it may boil over when boiled rapidly.
3. Pour over small quantity of water, if needed. Juicy fruits may not need any water.
4. Cook gently over low heat until fruit is soft and pulpy. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
5. Add warmed sugar, stir over low heat until dissolved, then bring jam to boiling point quickly as possible and boil rapidly, uncovered. Slow cooking before the addition of sugar, rapid, short cooking afterwards is the golden rule!
6. Boil jam rapidly, stirring occasionally, until it jells when tested. Spoon a little on cold saucer (place saucer in refrigerator 30 minutes before testing), refrigerate 2 or 3 minutes. If it jells, glazes on surface and crinkles when touched, jam is cooked.
7. Just before bottling, you can skim jam well to remove scum on top.
8. Fill into sterilised jars. Fill jars to the brim. Cover with disc of waxed paper, then with metal or plastic airtight lid.

Strawberry Conserve
2 cups strawberries 250gm sugar finely grated rind and juice ½ lemon
Wash and hull strawberries, place in a saucepan with sugar and lemon. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, boil gently 10 minutes, or until conserve jells when tested on a cold saucer. Skim, turn on to a large plate; stand overnight, turning over several times so that berries become plump and well mixed with juice. Pack into jars, seal.
Mulberry Conserve, substitute Mulberries for Strawberries.

Blackberry Jam
2 cups blackberries (including some red ones) 250gm sugar juice ½lemon
Wash blackberries, place in large saucepan, and crush well. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and warmed sugar, stir until dissolved, bring quickly to the boil, boil rapidly for approximately 10 minutes, or until jam jells when tested on a cold saucer. Pour into hot sterilised jars, seal. Makes approx. ½ litre.

Fig Jam
1 kgfigs ¾ cup orange juice, ¼ cup lemon juice 2 tablespoons sweet sherry ¾ kg sugar
Wash figs, cut off stems, chop roughly. Place in saucepan with orange juice, lemon juice and sherry. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until figs are tender. Add warmed sugar, stir over a low until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, boil uncovered, until jam jells when tested on a saucer, approximately 25 minutes. Pour into jars, seal. Makes 1 litre

Chutney, locally sourced and home-made ‘sauce’

Making chutneys and relishes is a traditional way of preserving fruits and vegetables with spices and flavourings. Chutneys have a spreadable consistency much like a jam, will be reasonably smooth, and have a mellow flavour, whereas relishes are hardly cooked, use no sugar, and are crunchier and have more ‘bite’. My chutney is generally somewhere in between, with well boiled vegetables and no sugar (only sweet fruit) . Leave for at least a month to mature.
1½kg fruit and/or vegetables 1½ kg onions, peeled and chopped
500g sultanas or seedless raisins 600ml brown malt vinegar
0-500g raw or brown sugar 2 tsp salt
Herbs and spices to compliment the fruit and vegetables

Basic Method
  1. Place all the ingredients, finely chopped into a large pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 hours, until the mixture is a thick consistency with no excess liquid remaining.
  3. Sterilize or clean the jars as preferred (I wash them in hot water). Spoon the chutney into prepared jars (I preheat them so they will not crack) and seal immediately with a vinegar-proof lid (i.e. a lid that will not rust when it comes in contact with acid).
  4. Label the jars with type chutney and include the date of bottling. Attach labels to the lids instead of the sides of jars to prevent the chore of removing the labels when the contents are empty.
  • Apple Chutney - cooking apples, juice and grated rind of 2 lemons.
  • Hot Indian Chutney - cooking apples, 2 tsp ground ginger, 3 tsp mustard powder, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • Pear Chutney - pears, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ½ tsp grated nutmeg.
  • Peach Chutney - peaches, 1 piece root ginger, peeled and crushed, 1 tsp mustard seeds, grated rind and juice of 1 lemon.
  • Green Tomato Chutney - green tomatoes, 4 pieces root ginger - crushed, 2 medium onions instead of regular quantity above, 500g cooking apples, raw sugar, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp mustard powder.
Fruit Chutney
1kg apples 250g white onions
200g of raisins / sultanas / currants / dates
2 teaspoons curry powder 2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 dessertspoon ground allspice or 2 tablespoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons minced garlic and/or 2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 600ml malt vinegar
Put apples, onions, raisins, sultanas, dates and currants through a mincer or food processor, or chop finely. Place all ingredients into a pan and simmer for 1 hour until well blended. Place into sterilised jars and cover with wax or wax paper and seal. Leave for at least 2 weeks before using to allow the flavours to develop. Other fruits such as apricots, peaches, plums, tamarillos and feijoas can be used.

Apple and Tomato Chutney
1kg apples, peeled, cored and sliced , 1kg tomatoes, sliced
2 large brown onions, chopped , 1 clove garlic, chopped
2 large sticks celery, chopped , 85g sultanas
2 tbsp curry powder , 1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper , 1 tbsp salt
450ml water , 560ml malt vinegar
Place apples and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, sultanas, sugar, curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt and vinegar to the apples. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and pulpy. Seal chutney in hot sterile containers. Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months (I just leave mine in the cupboard to continue to ‘mature’).

brought to you by:
Donald Clarke
Denmark Primary School Kitchen Garden
and Transition Kwoorabup Denmark