Jammin’ time

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What comes out of jars depends on what goes into them… :)

There is no better way to wake up in the morning than a breakfast of freshly brewed coffee, raspberry jam and scones !

I love jams, no matter the season. Home made jam is a whole different concept when compared to the mass-produced alternatives. I don’t use preservatives other than sugar, preferring to allow natural flavour of the fruit to come through. Eat strawberry jam, and it should taste of strawberry, blueberry jam of blueberries. Jams make also the most fantastic presents, every time I give them away, I’m asked if there is more :)

To make 4 jam- sized jars, you need;

Ingredients;

  • 1/2 kg strawberries and 1/2 kg raspberries ( or 1kg of strawberries or blueberries- whichever you like most!)
  • 700 g granulated sugar
  • vanilla pod

This is a soft set jam that has a delicious wake up quality :)

Now, before you start, sterilise the jars and their lids to get rid of any bacteria. Click here to find out how to sterilise jars.

Method;

Remove the leafy tops from the strawberries and wash them. Halve the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and mash them up with the potato masher. If you like, leave a few chunky bits in there to add a bit of texture- I love to feel fruits in my jam. Place the pan on a medium heat, stir over until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to boiling point and simmer for about 5 minutes. Now, remove from the heat and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Pot in hot sterilised jars and seal tightly.

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Once cool completely, pop the jars in the fridge. The jam will keep for about a week, but trust me it will be long gone before that :)

Raspberry jam recipe, Raspberry preserve recipe

Jars of cupboard love

Red onion marmalade recipe, red onion marmalade ingredients

Although it’s not quite autumn yet, I have already started putting a jar lid on whatever I can pickle in a pot. I love cheese, as you probably noticed, and what goes better with an artisan cheese and biscuits than the red onion marmalade. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy to make and definitely something to relish.

To make 3-4 jam sized jars, you need;

  • olive oil – 4 spoons
  • 7 large red onion
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 300 ml white wine vinegar
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • pepper

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Method;

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions, the cloves and a few grinds of black pepper.
Cover the pan and cook very slooooowly over the low heat. Stir occasionally. Don’t rush them, let them develop the flavour. Slow cooking will also reduce the texture to the right consistency.
This should take 30 minutes until completely softened so I suggest you have a cuppa :)
Once your onions have a lovely  caramel colour, turn up the heat to high, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick and dark brown. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Add the vinegars and return to the heat. Stir frequently until the mixture is gooey. Your red onion marmalade is now ready to be spooned into sterilised jars.

Red onion marmalade recipe, red onion marmalade storage, red onion marmalade tips

Little tips;

  • Do not add cold mixture to hot jars, or hot mixture to cold jars otherwise the jar will shatter which is very dangerous
  • I recommend not using old jam jar lids if they are damaged or rusty, they may not make a good seal
  • Store your jars in a cool, dark place such as a cellar, garage or husband’s shed :)
  • Refrigerate once opened
  • It is important to sterilise any jars used for preserves to remove any bacteria, yeasts or fungi to protect the food you put into the jar

How to sterilise jars?
Method 1 (My favourite!)
Heat the oven to 100°C. Arrange the jars on the shelf making sure the jars are not touching each other. Close the oven door and sterilize the jars for 15-20 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove each jar from the oven making sure you fill while the preserve is hot as is the jar.

Method 2
The dishwasher method is good if you have a high temperature setting on your machine. Fill it with clean cold jars and run a minimum or rinse wash to time the ending with when your preserve will be ready.

Red onion marmalade recipe, red onion marmalade storage, red onion marmalade tips