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preserving today?
Tue 15-Jul-14
10:03 pm
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brambleberry
Toronto, Canada

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Hi Olga. I think I will try version 2 as it uses less sugar. Thanks, I'll let you know how they turn out.

Home is where the heart is.

Sun 20-Jul-14
1:22 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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For Iris.....

Maura – I was hoping to catch you.  I believe you posted somewhere that you use redcurrant juice instead of pectin/lemon juice when making strawberry jam. Could you tell me what quantity of juice you use for say 1kg of strawberries. Also I have a juicer – could I juice the redcurrants in that or would I need to put the flesh and pips in muslin and boil this with the fruit to ensure a set. Or do I need to cook the redcurrants, strain and measure the juice into the jam pan? Would really appreciate your help in this as I have so many redcurrants to use up. Also does the addition of redcurrant juice produce less sweet jam?

Iris - it largely depends on the strawberries - how ripe or watery they might be. I get the juice from my redcurrants by steaming them and add the juice directly to the strawberries that way, but I have seen recipes which add the redcurrants whole in with the berries - so it's personal choice really. For 1kg berries you would need at least 500 - 750ml redcurrant juice - but this is just a rough guess because it's hard to say unless you know what your strawberries are like. See this recipe: http://recipewise.co.uk/strawberry-jam-1861-recipe

Here is a recipe using both together: http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/my-signature-jam-st.....z37U1QdnOl

You could try Googling 'using redcurrants in Strawberry Jam' and see what info might pop up.

I noticed that you use Pam Corbin's recipes. Which of her books do you recommend?

I use River Cottage Handbook No.2 - Preserves. but another good book I go back to time and time again is Vivien Lloyds 'First Preserves'. Excellent for marmalade recipes (and jam).

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

Sun 20-Jul-14
2:55 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Mon 23-May-11
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Thank you for your trouble, Maura.  Now the repairs to our damaged shed have been finished and the house is almost straight after the floor repairs and carpet laying, I shall be getting the maslin pan out again.  The strawberries I use for my jam are picked from our polytunnel so I have control over their ripeness. I always pick them on the under rather than overripe side and the variety produces juicy but not overly watery fruit. 

I have made strawberry and redcurrant jam in the past but it didn't sell as well as straight strawberry jam.  I ended up giving it away!  However, I thought that using redcurrant juice would be a good way to utilise all the fruit I have in my freezer.  Perhaps people didn't like the thought of more pips in the jam or imagined it would be more tart than plain strawberry jam.  I shall give the recipes a go.  I shall also add the two books to my birthday wish-list!  Thanks again.

Sun 20-Jul-14
3:37 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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Thats ok Iris - I am always surprised by what sells and what doesn't. You know a different name on the label will sell exactly the same thing that was not popular before. I have called one of my chutneys 'Scrumpy Chutney' and it sells out every time - same ingredients, all listed on label but called Apple & Ginger Chutney hardly moved. I also now offer a taster on a mini bread stick and that really made a difference.

Think of some catchy names and I bet it will sell - just make sure your ingredients are on label and tell your customers what is in it.

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

Sun 20-Jul-14
6:39 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Mon 23-May-11
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Thanks for the tips. The first time I sold jam at our village fair I laid out taster pots with plastic spoons etc but people were just sending their children to sample the wares and not buying!!  Changing the name on the label is a good idea.  Red Fruit Medley or some such might encourage the punters.  I think palates in this area are not as sophisticated as they might be if I sold at a Farmers Market. I always put all the ingredients on my labels to conform with regulations, along with my postcode, net weight and BBE date.  I also point out that most of my jam, chutney and pickle is made from fruit grown in our garden.   People seem to appreciate that and are willing to pay the extra as compared with supermarket, mass produced products.

Mon 21-Jul-14
9:38 am
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mauramac
Kent

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Red Fruit Medley is good - or Summer Medley maybe. People are fickle as you say - you probably get asked as many weird questions as I do. My local EH lady told me not to put tasters out with spoons as you would need to either keep changing the spoons or washing them in soapy water and she wasn't keen on having the pots open either - all of which I can understand. So we keep the tasters in little 1 or 2 oz jam jars with lids on. I have a tupperware box with lid on of mini breadsticks and they are not allowed to take a bite and then go back for another unless they take another breadstick. We have a sign up saying Try before you Buy and if the kids ask then we normally just say sorry it's for Mums and Dads - we do give them a taste sometimes - depends on the kids and the parents!!!

One woman asked me how did I manage to control the flavour of the jams what_the_heck eventually after much questioning I worked out what she wanted to know was did all my strawberry jam for example taste the same. I said no - it was home made jam not commercially mass produced and every batch would probably taste different.....for goodness sake! Sometimes I despair but I am always polite and try to give as much info as possible. She did buy about 7 jars in the end so it was worth it but I do wonder how they get on in the supermarket.

Just out of interest how do you work out the weight?

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

Mon 21-Jul-14
10:45 am
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OlgaO
Suffolk

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I have seen somebody display small mouthfuls of scone with butter and jam samples on top- it seemed like a great idea ! Also, somewhere online I found somebody selling "Merry Marmalade"- thought it a brilliant name for a booze enriched one!

Then I got thinking of jolly jellies, cheeky chutneys, glam jams....  

Mon 21-Jul-14
12:24 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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Great names Olga - I love them laugh

We did try the scones at a couple of venues but no luck. We tried giving them away and selling them at a very low price and sold a few to people who were hungry but didn't want to by jam. The mini breadsticks are the only thing to have worked for us but it does vary from area to area.

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w70/pollensavan.....end063.jpg

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w70/pollensavan.....rneVH1.jpg

Couple of shots of our table at small local markets.

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

Mon 21-Jul-14
2:38 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Super photos of your stall, Maura.  

I have toyed with the idea of scones topped with jam for tasters but dismissed it.  I used plastic spoons and kept a bowl of soapy water handy to wash the used ones.  I had ramekins covered in clingfilm with the jams etc in but only did this on the first occasion.  I found that I used too much jam so it wasn't cost effective.  Would be even more of a drain on profits if I factored in scones! I man my stall from 9.00 am to sometimes 9.00pm depending on the weather/customer numbers as the fair is held in our street so it's quite a long day.  

My OH has made me a mini staircase affair which he painted white.  It has two tiers so I can arrange the preserves 3 deep on the shelves and still use the table top below.  It is helpful to be able to see the labels.  However, as you say people do ask the daftest questions.  I put labels on the shelf in front of the various flavours, typed in large font to make them more visible but people don't see them.  I charge the same price for large jars of jam and a lesser price for small jars no matter what flavour they are but people still ask  how much per jar confused.  As for working out the nett weight, I use my scales to weigh an empty jar complete with lid then weigh the filled jar with lid and deduct the first weight from the second.  I use standard 1 pound jars so it is easy.  I only use irregularly sized jars for preserves which I am giving away so they don't have weights on them.  I suppose I could weigh these odd jars with their lids before filling them if I chose to sell them but it's a bit of a faff.

Mon 21-Jul-14
3:32 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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Blimey Iris that is a long day frownMy hubby works along side me now he has retired and does all the setting up and putting away as well as helping out with the sales. I only use 2 sizes now - 8oz and 12oz as I found the larger sizes were hard to make much profit from and not as popular as the smaller sizes. I went to a Hotel locally and asked for their used breakfast jam jars (mini 1oz size) and bought new lids for them. I use these as taster pots so it doesn't use up too much jam and keeps better with the lids on. People still try to buy these from me as well! The longest day we do is from 10am to 5pm at the local Fetes and we do two monthly events with a Farm and our local community hall. Just been asked to do a weekly one in a village hall about 3 miles from us - will see how that one works out. And of course we do a lot of school fetes and fairs - especially at Christmas. 

The rewarding thing is writing the cheques out - just about to send £150 off to Great Ormond Street Hosp and £100 to one of the Animal Rescues we support. Definitely couldn't make a living out of it but it does make a difference to the charities. We might be having some extensive changes to kitchen and utility room soon though and I don't really know how I'm going to keep up the jam production with all that happening doh

You know we seem to have taken over this thread - maybe we should shuffle off and hope no one has noticed whistle

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

Tue 22-Jul-14
12:08 pm
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Ambersparkle

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Great pictures of you Stall, Maura. We are all doing our bit for Charity, I make Cards, and Soap, used to make Face Creams etc, but a bit beyond me now. Well done, both of you.  I still make a small amount of Calendula Ointment, for my old Customers.wave

Tue 22-Jul-14
3:02 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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Calendula ointment sounds wonderful - do you send it out by post wink

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

Wed 23-Jul-14
9:49 am
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Ambersparkle

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Sorry, no, Maura, but I could send you the Recipe. I grow my own Calendulas, but there are still plenty in Gardens. You can also buy them dried.

Wed 23-Jul-14
10:52 pm
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brambleberry
Toronto, Canada

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I noticed several of you freeze berries for future preserving. I tried that with strawberries, but found when I defrosted them today to make strawberry rhubarb jam, they were very mushy. I boiled the jam a bit longer than usual to reduce the juice. so hope it will set all right. Any other suggestions?

Home is where the heart is.

Wed 23-Jul-14
11:43 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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Never use strawberries?

I'll try that again!

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