This recipe will make any fruit jam in 20 minutes of work – 10 minutes to prep, and give it an initial boil, then leave it alone to cool and macerate for 4 hours, then another 10 minutes to finish it off. And it’s hardly work. Intrigued? Then read on …
The example of a Blueberry Jam is used in the recipe below, but it will work for any fruit, or any combination of fruit and flavours. You only need about 500g of the fruit, so it is really quick and easy to pick the fruit as well as make the jam. The amount of jam made will vary on the fruit you use, but a good estimate is between 2 and 3 x 330ml jars, or about 700ml to 1 litre of jam.
You can experiment with different combinations of fruit, e.g. apple (100g) and blackberries (400g), or one type of fruit with different flavourings, e.g. pears (500g) and honey (1 tbsp). The combinations are endless, a mixed summer berry one for example is really great, strawberries (200g) raspberries (200g) blueberries (100g) lemon juice (1 tbsp). Winter spiced jams are wonderful and make great gifts; pears (250g) apples (250g) cinnamon (1/2 tsp) honey (1 tbsp) mixed spice (1/4 tsp) whisky (1 tbsp).
Jam In 20 Minutes Recipe
The main thing that is essential to success is the use of Jam or Preserving Sugar with added pectin, this is widely available at many stores, and nearly all supermarkets, in the sugar section. It is the use of this sugar which makes this process fool-proof, with a 99.9% success rate.
- 500g of fruit (approx) either one type of fruit or a mix.
- Same weight in Preserving Sugar (weighed after the fruit has been hulled or stoned etc.)
- 1 tbsp of whatever natural flavouring you want, (optional) lemon, vanilla, honey, orange-water etc.
- 1 or 2 tbsp of water (depending on how dry the fruit is)
My Quick Blueberry Jam Ingredients (as an example):
- 500g Blueberries
- 500g Preserving Sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (bottle or fresh)
- 1 tbsp water
First 5 minutes: Wash the fruit under clean running water in a colander (unless it is a very soft fruit like raspberries) pick out anything that should not be there and peel, core and chop any fruit like apples and pears, or hull or stone fruit like cherries or strawberries. Leave the fruit to drain (if it needs it) for a few minutes. You should only be doing this with about 500g of fruit so the prep work should not take long at all. Weigh the fruit after you have prepared it, and then weigh out the exact same amount in Preserving or Jam Sugar (with Added Pectin).
Next 5 Minutes: In a large non-stick pan with tall sides, like an enamelled pan or stainless-steel pan (not copper or aluminium) add the fruit, preserving sugar, water and flavouring (optional). Bring this slowly to the boil, stirring every-so-often to help break the fruit down and dissolve the sugar into the emerging fruit juices. When it reaches the boil, turn down to a simmer for the remainder of the 5 minutes, watch the sugar does not burn on the bottom before it dissolves.
After 5 minutes, (no need for longer) when the sugar has dissolved into the fruit juices coming out of the fruit, turn the pan off the heat, give it a stir, take the spoon out and put a lid on the pan, or cover it with a plate. Leave alone to cool, off the heat, for at least 4 hours, even over-night, for the fruit and sugar to fully macerate and break down, releasing all of the fruit juices and natural pectin from the fruit. I like to leave it over-night to let the sugar fully macerate the fruit.
Last 10 minutes: Put the pan of fruit, which has macerated for at least 4 hours, back onto a medium heat. As it is coming to the boil, quickly wash and rinse 3 jam jars and lids in clean hot water and place them on an oven tray and into the oven for ten minutes at 110C to sterilize and dry (do not put any rubber seals in). Return your attention fully to the jam as it comes to the boil. Turn the heat up and boil it on a hard rolling boil for ten minutes, only stir if you think the jam is catching and might burn on the bottom of the pan. (Remove from the heat if the jam is expanding too much and is reaching the top of the saucepan, boil it in smaller batches when cooler).
As the jam boils on a hard rolling boil it is losing moisture through evaporation, and you should see it begin to thicken as the pectin reacts with the sugar, after ten minutes turn the heat under the saucepan off. There is no real need to test it, to see if it sets; it should set if you have rapidly boiled it for ten minutes, and it has visibly thickened. However the conventional test of a jam is to spoon a little of the jam onto a cold plate (chilled in the fridge) then after a minute use a finger to push against the jam, if the top of the jam wrinkles with a skin it is ready to set, if not, boil it a little longer. Only very ‘wet’ fruit, naturally low in pectin, would need any longer than ten minutes if using a specialist jam sugar with added pectin.
Take the now sterilized jam jars and lids out of the oven and pot the jam into the jars and seal the lids – make sure you completely fill each jar so there is very little air left at the top, and there are no air pockets in the jam. Pot whilst still hot using a jam funnel, or over newspaper, or the oven tray, to avoid spillage. Leave to cool completely, somewhere without moving them. Then store them somewhere dark and cool, and eat within 4 months. They can be eaten the next day, after setting, particularly if you didn’t have enough jam to completely fill one of the jars – start that jar first or keep it in the fridge when cooled and set.
Advantages To This Method: 1. The jam is ready to eat the next day after potting, and it will last like any other jam for over 4 months in storage. 2. You can make any fruit jam, with any combination of fruit and flavours, (experiment to your hearts content). 3. Taste: your jam can be personalised and made with any small amount of fruit you choose, (particularly in season, local fruit) and therefore it will taste better than any commercially shop bought jam. 4. You don’t need much fruit, only about 500 grammes (1/2 Kg), so you can easily and quickly make jam as and when you run out, any time of the year – note the small amount of blueberries in the bowl in the first photo below, that’s all the amount of fruit you need to pick or buy.
Disadvantages To This Method: 1. This jam making process is akin to cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer, there is no finesse. 2. You are only going to be making two or three jars of jam at a time, so this method is not ideal for making lots of jam to store, or for making extra for friends and colleagues, although they do make great personal gifts at Christmas. 3 The jam will taste great, with fresh seasonal fruit, (much, much better than shop bought ones) however it is never going to be quite as good as making jam in a more subtle and professional manner, where you are totally in control of all the flavours, and in particular the amount of sugar used. 4. You have to use a specialist jam or preserving sugar with added pectin, (most supermarkets sell it) which is more expensive than using ordinary white granulated sugar.