Savernake Raspberry Jam

July 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

Walking on Savernake Forest this week with my Jack Russell my eyes lit up at the sight of so many luscious raspberries undiscovered by the birds. The rain has made them swell and the shy sun has eventually ripened them. This morning I gathered about 2lbs worth (yes I deal in old money) and took them home, rooting out an ancient tome from my Domestic Science A level days (yes really!) entitled Domestic Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables costing 6s 0d and first published by The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1929. My version is dated 1966 but no – I’m not even THAT old! However, the principles of jam making don’t change much – all you need are clean jars, and apparantly an equal amount of fruit and sugar. Oops I gathered from various bags of caster and granulated and emptied the sugar bowl achieving barely 1lb. Undaunted I set the fruit to bubble and when softened added the sugar and boiled vigorously in a heavy pan. The way the text of the recipe is written makes it sound as if the thickening and reaching setting point is almost instantaneous and can be missed and the jam spoiled. This isn’t true..it took about an hour of gentle simmering (and a drop of lemon juice to make sure there was enough pectin to set the raspberries into jam). The ‘cold plate test’ where you drop a teaspoon of hot jam onto a cold plate and push it with your finger when it cools to see if it wrinkles and has therefore reached setting point, takes me right back to my Mum’s kitchen. As does the wonderous aroma of jam making. Comforting and nostalgic. Afternoon tea and homemade jam. Setting point achieved, I poured it into 3 little jars and left to cool and then to screw the lids tightly and save until at least Autumn tea time, with homemade scones. (Okay I admit I’ve put a little aside in a ramekin for tasting this afternoon). Seems it’s okay to use half the sugar to the quantity of fruit after all – perhaps a little healthier! Although it may not give the same longevity to the jar of jam. Don’t think it will last long in this house anyway!

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garden bloomin’ lovely discerning dog

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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