Thursday, 5 August 2010

This is a Public Service Announcement

Yes, like Bob Marley, we're jamming. And I also want to jam it with you... but perhaps not in the sense that Mr Marley meant. Nothing gives the housewife a sense of business-like, no nonsense competency than being able to make her own jam. Men are amazed, small children are in awe, other women wonder at her culinary skill and bravery (boiling sugar is so very hot!). Making jam is like the homemaking equivalent of having A' level's a special and unusual accomplishment you can casually mention during dinner's also a very good way of preserving fruit.

So if you, like me, regularly go a bit mental at the local pick-your-own farm and end up with seven pounds of raspberries (or whatever) slowly festering on your kitchen counter then jam them, gentle reader, jam them. For the past few years I have been using my copy of the
The Practical Home Handywoman to help me jam my fruit, and I have found their table for jam making absolutely indispensable. If you're into old household management books you could easily find a copy of the book on Abe or eBay, but if you're just interested in jamming - and how could you not be having read my inspirational sermon on the subject - then here is the Home Handywoman's table reproduced by yours truly.

Apple and blackberry
4 lb berries 2 lb apples peeled and cored - 1 pint water - 5 lb sugar
4 lb fruit juice of 1 lemon - 3/4 pint water - 4 lb sugar
4 lb fruit - 4 lb sugar
4 lb fruit - 3 pints water - 5 lb sugar
4 lb fruit - 1 pint red
currant juice - 3 1/2 lb sugar
3 lb fruit - 1/2 pint water - 2 1/2 lb sugar
3 lb fruit (or 3 pints juice), juice of 3 lemons - 3 lb sugar
3 lb fruit - 1 pint water - 3 lb sugar
Gooseberry & redcurrant
3 lb berries 1 lb currants - 1/2 pint water - 4 lb sugar
3 lb fruit - 1/2 pint water - 3 lb sugar
3 lb berries - 3 lb sugar
3 lb fruit - 1/2 pint water - 3 lb sugar
2 lb fruit - 2 pints water - 2 lb sugar
Quince and apple
1 lb quince 1 lb apple - 1 1/2 pints water - 2 lb sugar
3 lb raspberry - 3 lb sugar
3 lb fruit (or 3 pints juice) - 3 lb sugar
Redcurrant & raspberry
1 lb raspberries 1 lb currants - 2 lb sugar
4 lb strawberries juice of 4 lemons - 3 1/2 lb sugar
Strawberry & gooseberry
2 lb strawberries 2 lb gooseberries - 1/2 pint water - 4 lb sugar
Strawberry & redcurrant
2 lb strawberries 1 1/2 lb currants - 3 lb sugar

This is the table from the book with only the vegetable marrow jams removed. If you want a recipe for marrow jam, do email and I'll find one forthwith. For more jam information and tips please go here.

Oh and a little bird tells me that American women can their jam. Is this true? American jammers please put me out of my misery.

Well, that's enough for today, even I can have enough of jam! Anon, good huswives, anon!


Sue said...

You are so right, being able to make jam (and marmalade, chutney and pickles) certainly does make one feel tremendously competent and enormously satisfied.

I wrote a couple of preserving posts recently and mentioned to my American readers that we don't can our jam here. Canning means to heat process your filled jars. You do this by standing them in a large pan of water and bringing to the boil. One of my readers commented saying how surprised she was that we skip this procedure. She felt she'd been hoodwinked into doing unecessary work.

monix said...

I remember my first attempt at jam making in 1968 involved the process Sue mentions. It put me off for years! Fortunately, I discovered simpler methods and am a happy jammer nowadays.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Sue and Monix
I have a few old, wartime GH booklets and they use a waterbath method (canning) for jam. Do you think the jam lasts longer? Jam doesn't last long enough at my house for me to see it go off!

Sue said...

I think the hot water bath method is completely unecessary. My jam gets eaten quickly but my jellies -crab apple and quince mostly aren't as popular and stay on my garage shelves for up to 18 months in perfect condition.

Lisa Richards said...

Here's one American housewife who gave up the water bath method a few years back. I fill my jars and then turn them upside down for a few minutes (to heat the lid, I think?). When I turn them upright they seal almost right away. It's worked pretty well so far! (Well, except for a couple of times when my jar was faulty and then you get a hot puddle on the counter!) Thanks for the jamming table! =0)

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Lisa
Ooh, I like the upside down trick. I'm glad you like the table.

Gumbo Lily said...

The only jam I've made so far is strawberry-rhubarb and no "canning" or heat processing. If a jar doesn't seal, we eat it first. I need to pick the chokecherries tomorrow. They make the best jelly or syrup -- especially good over waffles with sour cream spread in the squares.


Wartime Housewife said...

What an incredibly useful article - that table of fruit/sugar ratios is going up in my kitchen. Thanks.