Posts Tagged ‘jam’

Reduced sugar blackberry and apple jam

I was forced to defrost our freezer yesterday. Somebody (don’t know whether it was Mr Beans or me) had left the freezer door slightly ajar, resulting in a huge ice build-up inside the freezer. This meant that the door couldn’t be shut at all, hence the need to unplug and defrost. This meant that I had 1.2 kg of blackberries that I didn’t know what to do with, so I ended up making blackberry and apple jam.

I don’t normally care for blackberry and apple jam, because all the variants of it that I’ve ever tasted have been too sweet. So I had a go at doing a reduced sugar version. It came out lovely, although be warned: there is a trade-off between amount of sugar used and cooking time. Reduce the amount of sugar, and you increase the cooking time. If you’re using the quantities I’ve used, you will need to allow two hours from start to finish.


750 g apples (that’s 750 g after peeling and coring)
1250 g blackberries
Juice of one lemon
600 g sugar


Peel, chop and core the apples. To stop the pieces going brown while you’re doing them, place them in cold water.

Wash the blackberries if necessary (I didn’t need to do this ‘cos I’d already washed mine before I originally put them in the freezer).

Place the apple pieces in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of the water. Bring to the boil, with stirring, until you’ve more or less got apple sauce (a few solid bits of apple are OK though). Add the blackberries, and cook further for a few minutes. Add the lemon juice, and stir it in.

Take the mixture off the heat and add the sugar. Stir thoroughly to dissolve. Put back onto the heat and boil, with frequent stirring, until the mixture is set. This will take quite a while so do be warned!

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - November 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Categories: cooking   Tags: , , ,

Damson and blackberry jam – reduced sugar

The morello cherry jam being now a distant memory, I decided to have a go at making some more jam, after picking up a punnet of damson plums at my local greengrocer’s for £1. After they’d been destoned, they weighed 13 ounces. Together with 8 ounces of thawed out frozen blackberries from my foraged stash, I made jam using the following invented recipe:


21 ounces (1 lb 5 oz) of fruit
Juice of half a lemon
12 ounces of sugar.


Stew the plums with several tablespoons of water – enough to create a thick mass of stewed fruit, while ensuring that the plums don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. While the plums are heating up, tie the stones (which will probably have a lot of pulp sticking to them) into a muslin cloth. Place the “bag” of stones into the mixture.

When the plums are almost cooked, add the blackberries and simmer the mixture for another couple of minutes.

Take the pan off the heat, and remove the muslin bag. Put it to one side to cool. To the pan, add the sugar and the lemon juice. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. Put back on the heat and bring to a brisk boil, stirring continuously until the jam sets. Near the setting point, the muslin bag will be cool enough to allow you to squeeze the pulp into the pan.

With the quantities I used, it took about 15-20 minutes from the addition of the sugar to the setting point. I actually think that you’re better off making jam in moderate quantities as opposed to massive amounts, because the setting time is so much quicker if you’re making less (it took ages for the cherry jam to set, and I think it was because I was making a vast amount in one go).

One other thing: this jam tastes fantastic, but I would probably use a smaller quantity of blackberries in relation to plums next time – simply because I personally prefer the taste of plum jam to that of blackberry jam. Also, I’m not sure if the muslin bag/pulp thing made any difference. You could probably leave this bit out.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - September 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Categories: cooking   Tags: ,

Morello cherry jam – free! If you make it yourself (reduced sugar)

We finished the last jar of home-made redcurrant jam this week. Its passing was mourned by both myself and Mr Beans, but not for long. That’s because last night, I made six more jars of jam, this time with some morello cherries that I scavenged off someone’s tree, in a leafy local street. Some of the tree’s boughs hang right over the pavement, so at the right time of year you can just help youself to a handful of the cherries. Which I did one afternoon, and realised that they would make excellent jam. Morello cherries are small and dark burgundy in colour. They shouldn’t be confused with the larger dessert cherries that you buy in punnets in the greengrocer/supermarket – morello cherries have a really acidic, strong flavour which means they’re ideal for making jams. (And also wine.)

The amount of cherries needed to make jam is a bit more than a handful, so I did the decent thing and asked the homeowner if I could have some cherries, offering to pay her for them. “Don’t worry about that”, she said. “You can have them for nothing. Try and pick from the branches hanging over my drive though – it’ll mean that fewer cherries end up falling onto my car! Oh, and give me a jar of the jam when you’ve made it.”

I did as she asked and ended up with 3 kilos of cherries… and that was after I’d stoned them. Stoning cherries is a messy business; all I can say is it’s a good thing our living room rug is predominantly dark red. (I sat in front of the TV while doing the deed, with a plastic apron on and a huge foam gardening mat covered with a towel acting as a tray. But a couple of times, the cherries sprayed juice as I poked the knife into them, with inevitable results.)

With a bit of help from Marguerite Patten and some adaptation on my part, I ended up with this recipe:

3 kg morello cherries (after stoning – before stoning, it’s about 4 kg)
1.3 kg sugar
Juice of half a lemon.

Wash and stone cherries. Simmer in a very large pan for 15 minutes, with stirring. Add the sugar and stir in to dissolve. Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil, with constant stirring until the jam starts to set. Warning: you need to allow about 45 minutes for this. Ms Patten’s recipe was rather optimistic in saying that you would need 15 minutes. However, it could be because her recipe had waaaaay more sugar in it (a cherries : sugar ratio of 1.4 : 1 rather than about 2.3 : 1, which is what I used). If you like your jam sweet rather than tart as we do, then you should put extra sugar in. You might find that it doesn’t take so long to set.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - August 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Categories: cooking   Tags: , , ,

Redcurrant jam, Empress Felicity style

That huge redcurrant bush and its less prolific, container-grown sister have yielded about 3 lb (just over 1.3 kg) of fruit. There are a few stragglers, which I will pick in a couple of days’ time… after I’ve been blackberrying. I picked the three pounds of currants gradually, over the course of a couple of weeks, cleaned them, de-stalked them and put them in bags in our freezer. But yesterday I discovered that the freezer has been playing up – either the thermostat is wonky, and/or the rubber seal around the door is on its last legs. Either way, it meant that the currents hadn’t solidified and because I didn’t want to risk them going off, I made jam out of them last night. Making jam in the sweltering heat (yes, summer’s arrived!) is not recommended, but I didn’t want to let all those beautiful currants go to waste. redcurrantjam2013
What do you do when you’re not an expert jam maker? You turn to your mum’s old recipe books of course. In my case, the book is Marguerite Patten’s Cookery in Colour, a worthy tome first published in 1960. There wasn’t a recipe for redcurrant jam, but there was one for blackcurrant jam, so I used that. For the weight of currants I had (2 pounds 10 ounces or 2.625 pounds), I would have needed just under 2 pints of water and just over 3 and a quarter pounds of sugar, according to this recipe.
Being chronically incapable of following recipe instructions, I used about 1 pound ten ounces of sugar and just over one pint of water, reasoning that (a) the currants were oozing plenty of juice already, and (b) surely nobody would want THAT much sugar in their jam. Following Mr Beans’ recommendation I also used the juice of half a lemon, to help with setting.
The instructions in Ms Patten’s book were: 1. boil up the currants with the water until they go mushy, and (b) add the sugar, stir to dissolve and boil the bejeesus out of the mixture until set. Well, it didn’t say “boil the bejeesus”, but that was the basic gist, anyway. I complied with the instructions, but added the lemon juice and associated pulp about halfway through the boiling process. The result was three jars of a dark garnet red jam, which tastes gorgeous. Because I used so much less sugar (and added some lemon juice), the jam tastes lovely and tart – a real grown-up flavour.
If you’re wondering what all my quantities are in metric, here they are:

2 pounds 10 oz (2.625 pounds) currants = 1.2 kg
1 pound 10 oz (1.625 pounds) sugar = 740 g (give or take the odd gram)
1 pint water = 0.56 litres. Actually I used a bit more than a pint, so call it 0.6 litres.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - July 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Categories: cooking   Tags: , ,

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Scrolling counts as using the site, as does going to a different page. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.