Part 4 – Easy Peasy Stuff
Now reading the title someone will think, ‘Is she crazy?? How can Jam making be hassle-free or easy??” Just the idea of making Jam at home evokes fear among most of us (till a few months back it was same for me too!! Didi, do you remember we made a Guava jelly once and my goodness, we spent almost a whole day for it!!!??!). But I had an eye-opening experience about this seemingly difficult thing and decided to give it a try…
I spent a long weekend at an Australian farm here. What an experience it was!! Rolling hills with walnut and chestnut orchards; jumping Kangaroos and screeching Cockatoos here and there; a bunch of gregarious Aussies (and a lovely lady from New Zealand); and farm-style meals involving a wonderful spread of freshly cooked dishes as well as cold cuts 4-5 times a day……it was just AWESOME!! My friend from New Zealand, Mary served us some lovely preserves and very casually mentioned me the process of making them. She made it sound as easy as cooking rice!! She even cooked some berries to make jelly ring for us and explained that making jam/preserve was similar. Just boil all together!!
I have made 3 types of Jams since then and trust me they were lovely yet simple!! I make small amounts so I don’t have to spend hours on cooking and canning the jams.
Mixed Berries and Chilli Jam (makes about 1 cup of Jam)
2 cups Mixed Berries [or any fruit like Plums, Apples (peel them please), Grapes, Pineapple…use anything..be creative :D]
1 cup Sugar
2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Chilli Flakes
2-3 Tbsp Water
In a stainless steel pot, mix everything and boil on medium heat for 30 mins. Give it a stir maybe 2-3 times. By this time the water would have evaporated and you would have a sticky-viscous pulp. Lower the flame and boil for another 10 mins. Keep a watch now or it may stick to the bottom of the pot. As the jam cooks, in a separate pot boil a 250ml glass jar with metal cap for 10 mins to sterilise it if you wish to store your jam for 3-4 months outside the fridge. However considering it’s a small quantity, you don’t have to can it; you may simply put it in a tupperware and store in the fridge. It would last for 5-6 weeks.
At this point, do the setting test while the flame is still at the lowest point. Take a spoon and coat the back of it with the jam. Let it cool and use a finger to check. Normally by this time your jam would be sticky and will not leave the spoon easily. If not cook for another few mins and test again. Once the jam has set, remove from flame and set aside. Then dry the sterilised jar with a cloth (please be careful coz it would be hot) and microwave for 15 sec. This would dry up any remaining traces of water. While the jar is still slightly warm, pour in the jam till 4/5th of the jar is full, cover with a small piece of butter paper and fasten the lid. Tightly. Immediately turn the jar upside down. Let it cool in room temperature, turn it up again and store in a cool, dry place.
The best thing about home-made fresh jams is you can have so many different flavours. For example I made a Spiced Mango-Ginger-Chilli Jam (2 cups of mango pulp+2 tbsp ginger+chilli powder according to taste..rest all same) and a Sweet Wine, Boysenberry-Rhubarb Jam (1 cup rhubarb pieces+1 cup berries+1 cup dessert wine…rest all same); and they both were Yummmm!! Next I want to try making some apple jam. Will let you guys know how it turns out!!
Till next time,
Lots of love,