Hi Folks, welcome back. Thanks for the great feedback, I have been enjoying reading your emails and keeping up with what you like most about my blogs. Please do keep it up, it continues to spur on my inspiration for random fun creative things, so I can then write about it.
So today I am here to share with you my latest and greatest homely idea, making Jam for Christmas gifts for all our friends and family. I found some awesome old Jars online at http://www.australia.for-sale.com/jar-jam and it inspired me to get busy, it also helped that our neighbours are away and we are helping to look after their place and they have an abundance of fruit trees in their garden that are going to waste.
Designing Jam Jars
So the design of your jars is totally up to your imagination. We made it a family event and decided to hand paint our christmas decoration labels. We worked out the size of the labels that would fit on the old jars, and cut them out of special label paper and then drew everything from santa’s to reindeers and personalised each one with the person's name we were going to give it to. The kids loved this part of the process and we spend the better part of an afternoon on this part of the activity. You could also use blackboard paint and paint a label on and then use chalk to write your labels, then the jars will have an endless life. I wrote another blog about blackboard art if you would like some inspiration.
Idea’s for painted jars
We then all went and picked the fruit that was ripe (making sure not to pick fruit that was going bad or had already fallen from the tree). Thankfully there was a good selection of plums and apples as the apples will make for a natural setting agent for the jam. If you don’t use apples for your jam, you will need to buy pectin additives.
Fruit picking can be a fun activity for the family
When you have finished
Now, when I first started making Jam, I found the best recipe available was the good old BBC site, good food. The recipes are easy to follow, and pretty fool proof, but after some time I started to work out what worked for me, and how sweet you like it. Not it is very important to start out making small batches of maybe 4 jars at a time. As you get better you will get quicker and you can start to make bigger batches.
Firstly it is important to properly sterilize the jars. You can do this a few different ways, the simplest method is to pop them straight into the dishwasher. Firstly remove the lids or rubber seals from your jars and place everything into the top rack of your dishwasher and run it on a hot wash. No detergent or cleaning solutions should be used. Time your dishwasher cycle to finish just as you are ready to fill the jars or leave the jars and lids or seals inside the dishwasher to keep warm until you are ready to fill them.
The other way is to wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Either heat the oven to 140c, then place the jars on a tray lined with a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely, or put them in a large pot of boiling water that completely covers them and boil for 5 minutes. Make sure you time the sterilized jars to coincide with the jam making process, so to bottle the jam when the jars are still hot.
Jam jars for Christmas gifts
This recipe will make approximately 4 small jars and take around 40 minutes.
200 g sugar
Small lime or lemon
Step 1: Rinse and peel the apples and cut out the core. Dice the apples and put them in a sauce pan.
Step 2: If you are using fresh plums, start by rinsing them. Put them in the sauce pan together with the apples.
Step 3: Pour the sugar into the pan. We always start by adding 2/3 of the sugar and then use the last to give the jam the final flavor at the end.
Step 4: Boil the plums, apples and the sugar at medium heat until it has the consistency you like. Normally it takes about 30-40 minutes.
Step 5: Now give the jam the final flavor by adding the last of the sugar. The total amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the apples and your preferences. You can also add a good squeeze of lime or lemon juice, this gives a fresh taste to the jam.
I hope you enjoy making your jam Christmas gifts and don’t forget to send me your feedback and pictures.