Jam and Jelly Recipes

Jams and Jellies Recipe

Jam is based on one or more types of fruit. The fruit is cooked until tender, sugar is added, then the mixture is cooked until it will jell, or become thick enough to spread when it is served at room temperature. A conserve is a preserve made from whole or large pieces of fruit, made in the same way as jam.

A jelly differs from jam in that it is made using only the strained juice from the cooked fruit (the fruit pulp is discarded). The juice is combined with sugar then cooked to a point at which it will set at room temperature. A good jelly should be transparent, firm enough to hold its own shape, but soft enough to quiver when cut with a spoon.

To test if jam/jelly has jelled - When your jam or jelly is thickening - at this stage, the mixture will have reduced to about half the original quantity - remove it from heat to test if it has jelled. Drop a teaspoon of mixture onto a saucer that has been chilled in a freezer for a few minutes. Return saucer to freezer until jam or jelly has cooled.

- Jam that contains pieces of fruit should have formed a skin that wrinkles when pushed with finger.

- Jam that has a thick and pulpy texture should have a spreadable consistency.

- Jelly should be a firm mass on the saucer. If mixture has not jelled, return to heat and boil mixture rapidly until it will jell when subsequently tested (this may only take a few minutes). If you have a candy thermometer, it's handy to know that jams and jellies will reach jelling point at 105C to 106C.

Straining fruit to make jelly - Cooked fruit must be strained through damp muslin or other fine cloth to make jelly, following either of these easy methods.

- A cone-shaped jelly bag, with attachments for hanging, can be purchased from specialist kitchen stores; dampen the bag before use.

- A jelly bag can be made by tying the corners of a square of damp fine cloth (muslin, boiled unbleached calico, sheet) to the legs of an upturned chair or stool, leaving cloth loose enough to dip in the centre. Place a large bowl under the bag or cloth. Pour the fruit and its liquid into the bag or cloth; allow mixture to drip through bag/cloth for several hours or overnight. Do not squeeze or press the mixture through the bag/cloth as this will result in cloudy jelly.

Pectin content in jelly - Each jelly recipe requires you to test the strained juice for pectin content to determine how much sugar to add. This differs based on ripeness, acidity and type of fruit used.

To test for pectin content: Place 1 tsp strained fruit liquid in a glass, add 3 tsp methylated spirits; stir mixture gently. The liquid is normally almost colorless.

- If mixture forms fairly solid, single jelly-like clot, the fruit liquid is high in pectin; in this case use 1 cup (220g) sugar per 1 cup fruit liquid.

- If several smaller clots of jelly form, the jelly is not high in pectin; use 3/4 cup (165g) sugar per 1 cup fruit liquid.

- If pectin test fails to produce any clots, or gives a mass of tiny clots, add some fruit juice naturally rich in pectin - usually 2 tbsp fresh strained lemon juice per 1kg fruit used; add this after sugar has dissolved.

How to make a successful jam or jelly ? Tips ?

- Select slightly under-ripe, unbruised, cleaned fruit.

- Use wide-topped aluminum, stainless-steel or enamel boilers or saucepans; do not use copper or unsealed cast-iron pans.

- Make sure the pan you use is big enough; a pan that's too small doesn't allow for the necessary evaporation and results in runny jam. As a guide, once the sugar has been added to the jam or jelly mixture in pan, the whole should not be any more than 5cm deep.

- An imbalance of acid and pectin also causes jam and jelly not to set. Lemon juice can be added and the mixture re-boiled until it jells. However, if the mixture has already darkened and tastes of caramel, it cannot be re-boiled. If it is still palatable, use commercial pectin (available in powdered form from some health food stores) to set the jam or jelly. Follow the directions on the packet.

- Use super-clean, just sterilized jars.

- Stored correctly, your jams and jellies will keep for up to a year.

Sterilizing, sealing and storage - You storage jars must be glass and without chips or cracks. Just before use, they must be sterilized and dried, using clean hands and a clean tea-towel.

How to sterilize jars ?

1. Run the jars through the rinse cycle of your dishwater, at the hottest water temperature. Do not use detergent.

2. Place cleaned jars on their sides in a large saucepan; cover with cold water. Cover pan and, over high heat, bring water to a boil; boil 20 minutes. Carefully remove jars from water; drain. Stand, top up, on wooden board. The heat from the jars will cause any remaining water to evaporate quickly.

3. Wash the jars in hot soapy water then rinse in clean hot water to remove soap. Stand jars, top up, on wooden board placed in cold oven (do not allow jars to touch); turn oven to very slow, leave for 30 minutes.

How to Seal Jars ? - Special lined and treated or lacquered lids, available with home preserving outfits, are suitable for sealing; ordinary metal lids will corrode due to acid content of the preserve. Plastic screw-top lids also give a good seal. Wipe over sealed jars with clean tea-towel before labelling.

How to store Preserves ? - Stores preserves in a cool, dark, dry place until required. If you live in a humid climate, the best storage place is your refrigerator. Once opened, all preserves must be covered and kept in the refrigerator.

The color and flavor of jams cooked in a microwave oven is excellent, and these mouth-watering recipe will attest to that. When microwaving jams, always use a large, shallow microwave-safe container and remember to follow the golden rule: check the preserve often during cooking time. These recipes have been tested in a 900-watt microwave oven. By following these tried-and-tested recipes, your jams and jellies will be a guaranteed triumph - sweet, delicious and simple.

  1. Apple and Rose Jelly

  2. Apricot Lemon Marmalade

  3. Apricot and Lemon Jam

  4. Apricot and Passion Fruit Jam

  5. Apricot Rum Conserve

  6. Blackberry Jelly

  7. Black Grape and Port Jelly

  8. Blueberry and PassionFruit Jam

  9. Cumquat Cointreau Jam

  10. Dark Plum Jam

  11. Dried Apricot Jam

  12. Dried Peach Apple and Brandy Jam

  13. Easy Mixed Fruit Jam

  14. Fresh Apricot Jam

  15. Grapefruit and Brandy Marmalade

  16. Grape and Sherry Jelly

  17. Green Tomato Jam

  18. Honey Sauternes Jelly

  19. Lemon and Coconut Marmalade

  20. Lemon and Passionfruit Marmalade

  21. Lime and Fig Marmalade

  22. Lime Ginger Marmalade

  23. Mandarin and Apricot Jam

  24. Mandarin Jelly

  25. Mixed Berry Jam

  26. Orange and Passion Fruit Jelly Marmalade

  27. Paw Paw and Pineapple Jam

  28. Peach and Passionfruit Jam

  29. Peach Orange Jam

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