If you have an over-abundant fruit garden like I do, or regular access to fresh, organically grown fruits, making fruit jam is probably something you've attempted at some point or the other.
You don't want all that fruit to go to waste after all and making it into a jam is an excellent way to preserve it.
You also won't need to buy jam anymore.
You know exactly what goes into making the jam, so you don’t have to be concerned about consuming any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
You can gift the home-made jam to family, friends, and neighbors.
Making home-made jam can be time-consuming, but it is not particularly complicated. It is actually a rather fun activity and, if you have children, you really ought to get them involved in jam-making. It can be a great learning experience.
Lemon and Orange Peel
Clean Glass Jars
You can use almost any kind of fruits to make jam, but the ones I have used are -
Take several lemons and cut them in half. Then squeeze them for all you are worth, either by hand or with a juicer. I’m sorry to have to state something so obvious, but I couldn’t resist it, I was egged on by a little ‘fresh, squeezed lemon juice’ bottle I saw on sale.
Take some lemon and orange peel and remove as much of the inside white pith portion as you can.
Put the peels in a pot and add water until the peels are covered.
Place the pot on the gas and boil on medium heat for 40 minutes.
Turn off the gas and let the liquid cool.
Next, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth.
Pour the liquid into a clean jar and refrigerate it.
This liquid is natural pectin and it is used to thicken jams. Instead of lemon and orange peel, you can also boil intact apples to make pectin.
As you see, pectin is very easy to make, so if you are going the ‘home-made’ route, make it at home as well, instead of buying it ready-made.
Remove fruit stalks, hulls, and seeds, if any.
Wash the fruits and then, depending on which types of fruits you are using, leave them intact (for strawberries, mulberries, etc.), slice them (pineapples, mangoes, apples, apricots, etc.), or mash them into pulp.
Put the intact, sliced, or mashed fruit into a pot and add sugar to it. The ratio should be 1 (sugar): 2 (fruit).
Add some amount of the prepared lemon juice to the mix. You can decide the amount of lemon juice you want to add, from a couple of tablespoons to half a cup. Lemon juice acts as a natural preservative for the jam.
Put the pot on the gas to boil on medium heat.
Stir occasionally so that the fruit doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
When the jam mixture starts bubbling, turn up the heat to high and keep stirring every now and again.
Let the jam mixture come to a foaming boil and then turn down the heat back to medium.
Let the jam mixture simmer until you see it start to thicken.
Scoop a little of the jam mixture with a wooden spoon and drop it on a porcelain plate. Let it cool and then touch it with your finger to check if the jam is ready. If the consistency is thick and jammy, it is ready.
If you want additional flavors in your jam, you can add nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger to your jam at this point.
Turn off the gas and let the jam cool.
After it has cooled, scoop the jam into clean and sterilized glass jars (you can sterilize them by dipping them in hot water) and screw on the lids tight.
If you've made several different types of jams, you may want to label the jars appropriately so that you don't end up getting confused about which is which.
Store the jam jars in a dark, cool place or in the refrigerator.
Eat the jam within a month. If you want it to last longer, you will have to go through the canning process. This involves pouring jam into jars with sealed lids and boiling the jam-filled and tightly lidded jars in water for ten minutes. Jam-filled jars that have been treated in this manner and are then stored in a cool, dry place will keep for up to a year.
Eat your jam with bread, chapatti, crackers, and biscuits. You can add it to flavor milk drinks, confectionery, and bakery products.
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