Today I have a simple question for you. Do you make your own jam? If yes, yay amazing! If no, why not?
I know some people think it is too hard or too old fashioned or would just never consider making it themselves, why would you make it when it is so easily available?! Personally, I find it a wonderful way of preserving the summers’ fruits and once you've made a batch or two the flavour combinations you will come up with are endless, it can easily become a bit of a habit; in the last two weeks I have made about 20 jars.
Making jam is actually an incredibly simple and quick process and the quality of homemade jam versus supermarket jams are like chalk and cheese. Once you’ve got the jam habit you'll end up with a fair few jars. Trust me when I say, even though it is a little thing, giving a friend or a family member a jar of homemade jam is a simple sweet gesture that will go down very well!
To convince you to get in the kitchen to whip up a batch of jam I have partnered with Tate & Lyle Sugars who have launched The Great British Jam Awards. And to demonstrate just how easy jam making is I’m going to share a variety of jam themed recipes over the next few weeks to inspire you to get jamming – so watch this space!
But, what is The Tate & Lyle Great British Jam Awards you ask? Tate & Lyle Sugars are encouraging you to get jamming at home and submit an image of your jam recipe to three categories - Traditional Jam with a Twist, Jam Bake and Jam on the Rocks (Jam Cocktail).
For more information, make sure you check out @WeLoveBaking on Facebook or @WeLoveBaking_tl on Instagram!
For my first recipe I’ve made a traditional jam, but with a twist. After seeing a layered jam made by legendary preserve maker Christine Ferber in Pierre Herme’s patisserie in Paris, the idea lodged itself in my head and I just had to give it a go. For my flavours I have chosen fruits that make for easy jams plus I am using Tate & Lyle Sugars Jam Sugar which includes pectin so you don’t have to think about ratios, pectin, setting points or anything scary.
Strawberry Vanilla and Apricot Amaretto Layered Jam
Makes 4x380g jars
500g Strawberries, quartered
500g Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
500g Apricots, diced
500g Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp Amaretto
To start the recipe it is best to have all ingredients for both jams prepped and ready, so that once the first jam is made you can immediately start the second, so weigh everything, except for the amaretto, for each jam in separate large pans and set aside about 30 minutes to whip up this recipe.
Once you’re ready it is time for a basic but incredibly important step, sterilising the jars. Wash the jars and lids with hot soapy water then place onto a roasting tray and place into an oven heated to 180C for about 15 mins. This is a boring step, I know, but it just means the jams you are lovingly making will last 6 months without needing to refrigerate the unopened jars. Just before you start making the jam pop a couple plates into the freezer.
Start with the apricot jam (it sets firmer so the jams won’t blend), place the pan with all of the ingredients onto the hob, set over medium/low heat and cook, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium/high and bring the jam to a rolling boil and cook for about 10 minutes.
To test if the jam is fully cooked there are a few simple ways you can check. The first is the flake test. Lift the wooden spoon above the pan and allow the jam to drip back into the pan, if some dripscling to the spoon rather than running off back into the pan you're good. My preferred way of testing the jam is to take one of the plates out of the freezer and spoon on a little of the jam. Pop the plate aside for a minute or so before pushing the jam with your finger.Iif it wrinkles it will set, if it is still liquid, cook it for a little longer.
Once the jam has finished cooking turn off the heat and leave for a minute or so to let it settle then stir in the amaretto. If there is any foam on top carefully skim that off and discard (there is nothing wrong with the foam, you could happily stir it back into the jam if you are feeling lazy, but technically the foam is full of air and can make the jam spoil a little quicker, also it just looks ugly so skim away). Remove the jars from the oven and carefully divide the jam between the jars, loosely placing the lids on top but not sealing. I like to transfer the jam to a jug to ease this process.
The second jam is strawberry and the reason this needs to be on top is that strawberries are a low pectin fruit so it doesn't set as firmly as other fruits. Because we are using Jam Sugar we don't have to worry about this but it will set less than the apricot. Repeat the cooking process with the strawberries in the same way as the apricot jam. Once it is cooked, carefully pour it on top of the apricot jam and seal immediately.
Kept in a cool dark place jam will keep for at least six months but once opened needs to be kept in the fridge and consumed within a couple weeks.