Fabulous fruit

We’re at peak soft fruit scrumptiousness now. Strawberries and raspberries are nearing perfection, and we have blackberries and blueberries still to come, and gently ease us into autumn.

Ready for picking

So many possibilities. Although I might just snaffle a few now .

Obviously,(and somewhat bizarrely), it’s possible to get these goodies in December, but why would you want to? There is something so special about the fragrance and flavour, of these seasonal specialities, they seem to sum up British summer perfectly. Not only does it just feel right, (I’m thinking lazy afternoons in dappled sunshine, big bowls of fruit and cream. Tennis optional), it tastes right too. And of course, after the season is over, a perfect pot of jam proves a gorgeous memory, and a fabulous ingredient for your favourite dessert.

The perfect way to preserve summer.

 

Raspberry Jam is one of the easiest for the novice jam maker. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a home grown glut, or if your local farm shop has a few bargains, give this recipe a try. It’s a splendid summery memory for an autumn morning. Or  indeed a winter afternoon. Happy jamming, and check back soon for a gorgeous recipe that will showcase your new creation.

Rather Delicious Raspberry Jam

Before you start, make sure you have enough sterilised jars. This recipe makes 800g,  enough for 2-3 average size jars.

Ingredients

500g raspberries
400g jam sugar
Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon

Method

1. Put the raspberries in a large saucepan. Heat them gently, until they start to soften, and the juices start to run. Use the edge of a wooden spoon to break the raspberries up.

2. Stir in the sugar and lemon zest and juice. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.

2 Bring the mixture to the boil and boil for about 5-6 minutes until setting point is reached. See below for how to test for setting point.If necessary, boil the jam a little longer.

3. Ladle the jam into your sterilised jars,  cover with waxed discs and lids. Label and store for up to 12 months. Mine never lasts that long !

Cook’s tips

How to prepare and sterilise your jam jars

Soak off any old labels and wash thoroughly.

Sterilise  the jars by placing them in the oven at 140°C/120° fan/gas mark 2, for 20 minutes.

How to test for setting point

Once you think setting point has been reached remove the pan from the heat. Make sure you use your oven gloves ! Next, using a spoon, transfer some of the boiling preserve from the pan to a cold saucer or plate, which has been chilled in a fridge.

Allow the preserve to cool then push it using your forefinger. If the preserve has reached setting point then it will wrinkle. If you only see a few wrinkles appear then the setting point has not been reached. Return the pan to the heat and continue to boil for another 1-2 minutes and then repeat the testing process.

Prepare jam jars before you start making the jam. Soak off old labels and wash thoroughly. Sterilise by placing the clean jars in the oven at 150°C, gas mark 2, for 20 minutes.

With grateful thanks to Hannah Bufton for the smashing photos .

 

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