How to make jam at home
Preparing jam at home: an activity that reminds as of our grandmothers, always busy in the kitchen, preparing some delicacies. Truth is that anyone can prepare its own jam: you just need to pay attention to a few rules and follow step by step some simple instructions.
First of all, let’s be clear about something: we mentioned jam at the beginning of this article, but we always have to remember the basic difference between jam and marmalade. Marmalade is made with citrus fruits, jam instead is made with any other kind of fruit. Whether it is marmalade or jam, we will learn today how to prepare a natural and tasty one, just like the Lazzaris’ ones.
Choosing the fruit
Let’s start from the fruit: which kind of fruit do we have to choose? Of course, the answer is the one you prefer. There are some tricks to help us choose the best fruits to prepare e perfect jam:
- Choosing fruits which are naturally high in pectin, this substance is particularly important to give your jam the right texture. Which fruits are high in pectin? Apples (especially quinces), plums, citrus fruits and gooseberries. For those fruits containing less pectin, we suggest to add a slice of green apple to your recipe, otherwise, you can buy pectin at the supermarket or prepare at home an apple-based mixture.
- Fruits must be fresh, seasonal and ripe (just not too much), better if you choose some high-quality fruit. Furthermore, it is preferable to choose organically farmed fruits.
Homemade jam recipe
Once you have chosen the fruit, we can proceed with the preparation.
The quantity of each ingredient will vary according to the quantity of jam or marmalade we want to make and to the type of fruit you have chosen. The amount of sugar required from the recipe varies from a minimum amount of 500 gr to a maximum amount of 1 kilo of sugar per kilo of fruit, depending on the natural sweetness or sourness of the fruits and on personal tastes.
- First of all, wash the fruits you have chosen.
- Peel the fruits if necessary: in some cases, we suggest not to peel the fruits, for example in case of orange marmalade – just make sure to remove the albedo-, in other preparations it is advisable to take the skin of the fruits off, as with peach jam.
At this point the preparation takes two different roads, depending on the addition of pectin or not:
- Jam or marmalade preparation without pectin: cut the fruit into pieces and put them in a saucepan, together with sugar and water. Let cook on low heat, checking the thickness degree of the mixture: the cooking time will be over when all the water will be evaporated and the mixture will be thick. It will take a couple of hours on average.
- Jam or marmalade preparation with pectin: using the pectin, it will be faster to make your recipe, since the thickening process will only take a few minutes. There are anyway different options to use pectin in your recipe: you can either buy it at the supermarket or prepare a mixture by yourself at home.
In the first case, with powdered pectin, we suggest to strictly follow the instructions on the box, depending on the quantities of fruits and sugar the procedure may vary.
Preparing at home a pectin mixture is easier than you think: you just need to boil for a few hours one kilo of apple with the skin (it’s better if you use quinces) with water and the juice of a lemon, then filter the juice. Keep the mixture in the fridge until it’s time to use it. In this case, the liquid pectin must be added to the preserve after a few minutes from the boiling point: just remember to remain close to the pan, because when you add the pectin than the thickening process will take just a few minutes.
How to preserve jam
The final step is the jam or marmalade preservation, and it is the same for both procedures. Jam or marmalade must be poured into jars while it is still hot: this means that the jars must be sterilized before the jam is done. How to sterilize the jars? First of all, make sure you have some glass jars with hermetic lids (if the jars are reusable, buy some new lids). To sterilize the jars, you just need to boil them for 30 minutes: after this time, take them out and pour the boiling jam, ensuring you leave one cm of headspace. Turn the jars upside down and cool completely: in this way you will create the vacuum, which will help your product to preserve for several months.
In order to perfectly preserve your jam, put the sealed jars in a fresh and dry place. Once opened, there will no longer be the vacuum: the product must be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few days.
Et voilà: you made an excellent fruit preserve, you can taste it in many different dishes or prepare some delicious cakes or spread your bread at breakfast, but it can also be paired with a cheese board for a tasty appetizer.