Just to prove I do make other things with fruit apart from huge amounts of booze, I have also recently made some jam and jelly. I have been making plum jam ever since I first got a jam pan. If you are considering making jam for the first time I really would recommend plum, it sets nice and easily! Again, I used Pam Corbin’s River Cottage Preserves Handbook. I used to get my supplies from a colleague when I lived in Scotland, so when I moved to Essex I was worried about my supply chain… Luckily my Auntie has a very prolific plum tree in her garden so my popular plum jam lives on. It’s the first handmade gift I ever gave anyone and if you invite me over for a meal around jam making time you are fairly liable to get a jar.
I also made Blackberry and Apple jelly using the blackberries I picked last week and had stashed in the freezer. It looks so beautiful and is the most incredible colour – I don’t think my jelly bag will ever be the same again… As you can see I don’t own a jelly bag stand so I’ve improvised. I really don’t see the need to pay for a stand when tying it to the kitchen cupboards works perfectly well. The wooden spoons were an improvement suggested by my ever resourceful husband when he popped in to help from finishing off building his log store. It’s totally “The Good Life” over here. Either that or the 1950s come again. I’m planning to give one of these to a great friend to remind her of the jelly her mum used to make.
I had spares of all my ingredients which manifested themselves as a plum crumble (totally delicious!), blackberry and apple pie and stewed apples and blackberries with custard. Very satisfying, and if you are thinking of making some you can’t go wrong with a recipe from Delia!
I think that absolutely my favourite part of making preserves is potting them. As Nigella Lawson says, there is something about making preserves that makes you feel you are “putting down roots, laying down a part of the foundation for living”. Or as my mum would say, it’s very pleasing.