The making of also seems to strike terror into the heart of many a home cook. Words like pectin and setting point get bandied about in some recipes and the lists of utensils often mention copper pots and muslin and candy thermometers.
Bottom line is: jam is fruit and sugar. The first time I made it, I wondered why I waited so long because it was easy. So I encourage you to have a crack if you’ve been thinking about it. Granted it’s a little messy and everything you touch the first time you try it will be sticky, but you’ll be feeling pretty smug and clever afterwards (just like when you’re a teenager and… oh never mind).
Before you get started you will need some jars with tight-fitting metal lids. Give them a good hot soapy wash and rinse them really well. Set the oven to its lowest temperature and put the jars and lids on a baking tray and pop them in the oven. This will dry the jars and keep them sterile while you work. It also helps to seal the jam if you pour it into warm glass.
picking the first result on The Googles conducting extensive research I’ve found that basically your fruit to sugar ratio is 2:1 – for example, two cups of chopped fruit needs one cup of sugar. Stone fruits work well and as they are in season where I live they are cheap at the moment. The nectarines I used for this recipe cost $3 and made 2.5 jars of jam.
1kg of nectarines – stones removed and roughly chopped (I left the skins on)
2 cups castor sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tsp vanilla paste (optional or you can scrape the seeds from a pod and leave the whole pod in too while it cooks)
Put all ingredients into a heavy based saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a gentle boil. Let it simmer away on a low heat for around 30 minutes. (Mine took about 45 minutes because the baby woke up.)
Skim any froth from the top of the jam and give it a little stir, if it’s looking nice and thick drop a spoon of it onto a plate and put it in the freezer for a minute or two to cool. The jam is ready if you can run your finger through the middle of it and each side stays separate. If it’s not quite there just keep the jam simmering until it’s thick enough to set.
Decant the jam into your jars and screw the lids on tight. BE CAREFUL when doing this. Hot sugar is like molten lava and burns like bloody hell fire. Also your jars and the METAL lids may be quite hot from being in the oven so check before you pick them up and use a tea towel to handle them if necessary.
Once the jars have cooled wipe any excess jam off the outsides with a hot damp cloth and then label. I store mine in the fridge but that part is up to you.