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Home preserves
Sat 28-Sep-13
3:56 pm
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annhig
Cornwall, UK
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Sat 28-Sep-13
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Hi, I am new to this website so hello to you all.

like some of you, I am in the midst of trying to preserve my crops for the winter - today I'm making hedgerow jelly with a mixture of [mainly] crab apple and rowan, with some blackberry and hawthorne. The first time I made it I had so little fruit we only got one pot but this year we have a lot more apples so I hope we get several jars. It's wonderful with lamb and chicken I think. 

My NT recipe book suggests 1 lb of sugar to a pint of juice, what does anyone think about that?

Sat 28-Sep-13
4:12 pm
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Xahha
Suffolk

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I was only mentioning sugar content-not fruit content, I'm sure the ratio you stated is correct, I was just adding to the debate on sugar levels. I am sure most people add more fruit than some commercial products, but there are different fruit levels in different fruit jams made commercially and have different descriptions-the web link I gave I think has some descriptions of the fruit levels and the labelling of them. As I said, it was just information that helps the debate on whether jams will keep or not.

 

Incidentally, I just searched for sugar refractometers and was pleasantly surprised to see them on sale around the  £20's to £30's mark. There are more expensive ones, but these would do- looked on Amazon and e-bay. I'm thinking of getting one that covers the range 45% to 85% sugar which will cover the jam range and other fruit products as well. There are others that cover the 0% to 30% range which would be useful in beer and wine making also.

 Are we having fun yet? I am!

Sat 28-Sep-13
4:37 pm
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OlgaO
Suffolk

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Hi, I grew up in Yugoslavia and plum jam was a staple- I have lovely memories of rows of jars lined on my wardrobe, often with a stick of cinnamon buried in the sticky black jam. My mum would use something like 1kg sugar to 5kg fruit and cook it for a long, long time on low heat- I think it would be decided it was ready when she got fed up with spitting lava! She would use cellophane covers, and often she would cover the surface of the jam with some booze ( sljivovica, ie plum brandy some neighbour or other had distilled at home- Balkans are covered in plum trees; or rum), and very rarely did they spoil. Then there would be mould on top- that got thrown away and the rest of jam eaten up quickly. I guess the sugar content would end up quite high, as the plums were wonderfully sweet but really can't see it reached anything like 60%. I was very pleased to learn that the equivalent plum sort in this country is, indeed, the much admired Damson- I haven't had them here, ever!

Picked some sloes this afternoon, seems C…..s will see mainly homemade pressies this year, heheh!

Annhig, I believe the usual jelly recipe will use 1lb/1pt ratio, works best if there is enough pectin in the juice in the first place… I really don't do well with jelly- seems never to set right, either not at all or I just overboil it and it's awful- has anybody got some tips they'd share?

Sat 28-Sep-13
5:09 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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I always use 450g sugar to 600ml juice for jelly as per Pam Corbin's book (River Cottage Jam lady) and it never fails me so I can recommend that as a guide.

Have just got home with the damsons – wow – never seen so much fruit in my life so now I really must get cracking.

PLUS…..she has sent me a Medlar  fruit and asked if I would like some of those as there is a tree in a field near to where she lives ponder I looked them up and know they have to be bletted and that they make good red jelly so now I have to decide if there will be a market for it or not. It's a lot of effort and as the money all goes to charity I have to pick and choose carefully so I don't get suck with a lot of unsold jams etc.

Medlars anyone???

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Sat 28-Sep-13
7:21 pm
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OlgaO
Suffolk

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I have made some medlar jelly some years ago and they did take a little while to shift. That said, Christmas is around the corner and I think people get a bit more adventurous then. I also made the medlar chutney with the pulp ( quite tricky to get, separated it using a mouli), I remember it tasting lovely! Here is the recipe...

http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/hugh-f.....ney-recipe

Mon 30-Sep-13
12:28 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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Thanks Olga – I'm intrigued by the Medlars now so I might have a go at making some jelly but can't see me doing the chutney tbh as it's a lot of phaffing around.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Mon 30-Sep-13
2:56 pm
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brightspark
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Finally finished all the damsons - 20 pots of jam! That should keep us going for a while - alongside the 20 pots of plum jam ...... 

Now all I need is a quick snooze on the sofa !  big_laugh

 

Smiley

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until they're in hot water.
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Mon 30-Sep-13
5:16 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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I have been making jam for years now to sell at our annual village fair and to give as C.......s presents. To date I have been using the base of my large stainless steel pressure cooker but this limits me to 1kg fruit and 1kg sugar per batch.  Do all you lovely jam makers out there use a maslin pan for your preserves?  I have seen a Judge s steel 8 litre maslin pan for £34.99 in a local store and wondered whether it would be worthwhile my buying one.  My pressure cooker is 5.5 litre capacity.  How much larger batches could I make in the maslin pan?  I'd welcome your advice. 

Mon 30-Sep-13
6:48 pm
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Original Redhead
Bulgaria

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I inherited a preserving pan (loving called the cauldron) - which today has been put into service making quince jam, a first for me.

Failing is not a fault, refusing to try is

Mon 30-Sep-13
10:03 pm
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brightspark
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Iris, despite cooking a lot of jam, I don't own a maslin pan. I cook mine in a good-quality large stainless steel saucepan. I have to say that I too cook only 1kg fruit at a time.  smile

Having said that I find it easier to manage that quantity, as when I tried cooking a larger amount, it seemed to take ages to get to setting point.

Women are like tea bags. . .
you never know how strong they are
until they're in hot water.
- Eleanor Roosevelt -
Tue 1-Oct-13
8:31 am
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Xahha
Suffolk

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OH has a maslin pan and always uses it, she finds it easier to lift and pour (not very strong wrists, so this works for her) I would say that was a good price that you have quoted- hers was over £40 a few years ago.

 Are we having fun yet? I am!

Tue 1-Oct-13
9:25 am
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Thanks for your comments.  I too have arthritis in my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.  I find it quite awkward to lift the pressure cooker base and pour out the contents, jam, soup or otherwise.  It's heavy and the handles do not make for ease of use.  I'm also only 5 ft tall so often have to get my OH to help as worktops are just that bit too high for me!!  I normally ladle out the jam straight into the jars. Think I need to go to the store and find out how heavy the maslin pan is before I think of buying.  I'll just have to imagine it full of scalding jam to judge whether it would be better than the pressure cooker base.  

I would be interested to know from Jan and others who make large quantities of jam whether they make batches larger than 1kg fruit and 1kg sugar.

 

Thanks again.

Tue 1-Oct-13
10:09 am
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mauramac
Kent

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Iris - I love my maslin pan and think it was the best investment I have ever made as I use it for cooking down bones and making stock and huge curries etc as well as preserving but I don't think you need one for small amounts as others have said.

I have also discovered that the microwave works really well for small amounts of jam - I am lucky enough to have inherited a very very large thick glass bowl which I use for this purpose.

I bought my maslin pan online and think it cost around £35 - it cleans up beautifully. Just pop it in sink fill up with soapy water and chuck in all the spoons etc used for jam making and in 5 mins all the sticky stuff has gone and it easy to just clean off and dry - ready for next batch.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Tue 1-Oct-13
10:18 am
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mauramac
Kent

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Whoops - just missed your last post.

The maslin pan is very heavy - especially with hot jam in and I would NEVER lift anything potentially that dangerous off the stove to pour into jars. I use a soup ladle and jam funnel to fill my jam jars and then a spatula to get the last of the jam out of the pan. I occasionally use a glass or plastic jug to scoop out contents to pour direct into the jars e.g. for jellies which are all liquid but this can be messy. I don't think it would be heavier than the pressure cooker pan though - just wider and a bit more wieldy.

I have a very good recipe book by Vivien Lloyd called First Preserves and virtually all of her 'jam' recipes use the quantity of 1.4 kg fruit which is a really nice quantity and sets well. Obviously she uses more weight for the chutney recipes.

Personally I wouldn't exceed 1.4kg as it can take forever to get a good set as I found out with a large marmalade batch which I ended up splitting into 2 smaller batches (it set instantly).

Hopes this helps.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Tue 1-Oct-13
12:17 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Thanks, Maura for your helpful advice.  I have only rarely used the microwave to make strawberry jam but the instructions say that the jam should be used within a very short time.  What is the shelf life of jam made in the microwave with other fruits?

 

I do recall reading your posts about problems with the set of your preserves when making larger batches.  That's another reason I asked for advice.  1.4kg seems like a manageable amount.  I'll have to experiment if I decide to buy a maslin pan.  I don't think the pressure cooker base would accommodate that much sugar and fruit to allow a rolling boil.  I also think the flare on a maslin pan would help evaporate the liquid content more rapidly than the pressure cooker base.  This would be useful when I make chutneys.

Thanks again.

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