Mixed berry jam
After a new cooking project? Whip up a batch of sweet, homemade jam from scratch. It’s delicious on toast and makes a great DIY gift too.
Making jam is easier than you think. I'm going to show you how to make mixed berry jam and share a few tips along the way. Once you've got the basics, you'll be ready to whip up your own tasty jams to share with family and friends. To get started, juice a lemon and reserve all the seeds. Lemon seeds contain pectin and this is the magic ingredient that helps set the jam. Tuck the seeds inside a small square of muslin and tie them with kitchen string to secure. You'll need a third of a cup of lemon juice. You may need to juice another half of a lemon if necessary. Next, put the fruit in a large, heavy-based saucepan. I'm using a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. If you'd rather use one type of berry, that's fine. You just need a kilo of fruit to a kilo of sugar. Pour the sugar into the pan. And then add the lemon juice and the lemon seeds and give it a good stir, then leave it for 30 minutes before cooking. If you don't do this, the undissolved sugar can burn on the base of the pan when you put it over the heat. As you can see, the berries have released their juices, so it's time to start cooking the jam over a low heat. Keep stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. This is a good time to pop a saucer into the freezer so it'll be cold enough when you're ready to test the jam. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to high and bring it up to the boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and leave it to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you stir it occasionally so the mixture doesn't catch on the base. Try and skim off any of the frothy scum that forms on the top of the jam, 'cause it will discolour the finished product. Here's an important tip. Sterilising your jars and lids means you can safely store the unopened jam in the pantry for up to six months. Take three 375-mil jars and put them and the lids in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water. Then bring to the boil over a medium heat. When the water is boiling, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let it boil gently for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria. Turn off the heat, then carefully remove the jars with tongs and place them upside down on a clean tea towel. Do the same with the lids. Here's how to test the jam has reached setting point. Take the saucer from the freezer and remove the jam from the heat. Spoon a small amount of jam onto the saucer and put it back in the freezer for one minute. Then run your finger through the jam. If it wrinkles and gels, just like this, it's ready. If it doesn't, simmer the jam for another five minutes and test it again. Once the jam's ready, stir in the vanilla bean paste. Grab some tongs and pull out the parcel of lemon seeds. Vanilla goes well with the berries, but experiment with adding other flavours to your jam. You could try adding woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme or some whole spices to give your jam an aromatic flavour. Just wrap them in muslin like the lemon seeds so they can be removed easily. Before you spoon the hot jam into the warm jars, take a large metal spoon and just remove any scum from the surface of the jam. Then carefully fill each jar with jam... ..and seal with a lid. The last step is to turn the jars upside down for two minutes. This creates an airtight seal to help preserve the jams. Then turn them upright and let them cool completely. This mixed berry jam is delicious on fresh bread. Store unopened jam in the pantry for up to six months and pop in the fridge after opening. For the full recipe, see the description below.For another mixed berry favourite, check out our condensed milk cheesecake slice video here.
3 cups (375ml)
Note: + 30 mins standing time
- 1 lemon
- 250g fresh or frozen blackberries
- 250g fresh or frozen blueberries
- 250g fresh or frozen raspberries
- 250g fresh or frozen strawberries, halved
- 1kg white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Juice the lemon, reserving the seeds (you’ll need 1/3 cup/80ml of lemon juice). Place the seeds in a small square of muslin. Bring the corners together to enclose the seeds and tie with kitchen string to secure.
Combine the berries in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice and lemon seeds in muslin. Stir to combine. Set aside for 30 mins or until the berries begin to break down and release their juices.
Place the saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins or until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 mins or until the jam reaches setting point. (To test if the jam is set, place a saucer in the freezer for 10-15 mins to chill. Remove the jam from heat and place a small spoonful of jam on the chilled saucer. Return the saucer to the freezer for 1 min. Run your finger through the jam to test if it wrinkles and gels. If it doesn’t, return the jam to heat for 5 mins, then repeat the test.) Stir in the vanilla.
Meanwhile, to sterilise three 1 1/2-cup (375ml) preserving jars, place jars and lids in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water. Place over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Boil gently for 10 mins. Use tongs to carefully remove sterilised jars and lids. Place upside down on a clean tea towel.
Use tongs to remove lemon seeds from the jam. Discard. Use a large metal spoon to skim any scum from the surface. Carefully divide hot jam among warm sterilised jars and seal. Turn upside down for 2 mins. Turn upright. Set aside to cool completely. Store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. Refrigerate once open.