No recipe will work perfectly for everyone. The fruit that you are using may be fresher, sweeter, less ripe than the fruit in the recipe that you are following. It is vital that you have the courage to taste your jam/jelly and chutney as you are making it so you get a jam/jelly/chutney that suits your taste.
The essential tasting period for jam and jelly is just after you have dissolved the sugar and before you bring everything to a rolling boil. The rolling boil intensifies the flavours. So if it's too sharp before it will be even sharper when it sets. If it's too sweet add fresh lemon juice (strained if it's jelly). If it's too sharp add more sugar - I do this incrementally, a heaped tablespoon at a time. Remember if you add more sugar or lemon it will set more quickly.
With chutney I wait until the last hour and then adjust the flavours to suit my palate. Sometimes the same recipe needs more garlic, sugar, lemon juice, mace etc. I don't want to have to wait for months for my chutney to mature. That's why all my chutney recipes are long and slow - if you follow them you are maturing the chutney during the hours it simmers away. However if you find they are unpalatable towards the end of cooking and don't want to wait for months for them to mature adjust them to suit your palate and simmer for a bit longer before potting up.
Does anyone else have any ideas on interpretating recipes. And getting a good result every time.
Mine is i think my taste buds seem to keep changing i have phases of what to eat and to what extreme, like prep time i will spend hours doing the preparation the stock pot if required. But as for spices i cook them out for a few hours a least.I think i sailed of course a bit there. opps i have not done jams properly but do need to look into later.
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