I’m all about a generous layer of jam spread over toast at breakfast time (or lunch time, or dinner time – let’s be real), so making jam at home has always peaked my interest. I have fond memories of my dad making jars upon jars of the stuff from the fruit-laden plum trees that dotted the garden of the house I grew up in, but always assumed it was an overly technical business requiring boorish implements of the sugar thermometer and strainer variety.
It wasn’t until I read the Preserves chapter in Unna’s amazing book My Garden Kitchen that it clicked how darn simple jam-making is: 3 ingredients, 3 steps, many delicious. Armed with blackberries, sugar, and half a dozen jars picked up from my local homewares shop, I jumped into the kitchen recently for my first jam-making endeavour (whipping up a small batch of almond and coconut flat breads to accompany it in the process). To the amazement of everyone, no body parts were burned in the making of this jam.
To get started, pop a couple of teaspoons in the freezer (this will make more sense later), then place a kilogram of blackberries and a kilogram of sugar into a large pot and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Add a knob of butter and bring to a rapid boil, then leave on the boil for 4 minutes.
The internet is jam-packed (sorry) with tips on how to test whether your jam is set, but Unna likes the fuss-free ‘wrinkle test’, so that’s what I rolled with too. Grab a teaspoon from the freezer and dip it into the jam, then push your finder through it – if it wrinkles it’s ready, if it doesn’t pop it back on the heat for a few more minutes. Once it’s thick and gloopy, take off the heat and pour into jars, then pop into the fridge once cool.