There is a time and place to be fastidious and diligently follow a recipe. And there’s a time to just dive in and hope for the best. To call this a tutorial would be a bit generous – it’s more ramblings about homemade berry jam experimentation. Perfect for using up an over enthusiastic berry crop or clearing out the freezer. They don’t call ‘um preserves for nothing!
I’d spent the last few months infusing gin with berries to create wineberry gin. After straining the mixture ready for bottling I was left with roughly 500g of gin soaked berries. Not being one to waste anything I took this as the perfect opportunity to get jammy!
Having never made jam before and decided to wing it without a recipe – it’s basically just fruit + sugar + water + heat then straight onto toast right? 🍓+ 🍬+ 💧+🔥 = 🍞
Bring it to the boil
There was already A LOT of sugar in the infused berries and I didn’t want to add any more as I like jam to be a bit tart. In hindsight this was a mistake as it affected the texture, but you live and learn!
Because the berries had been infusing in gin there was a fair bit of liquid still in the bottle so I simply put this on a high heat and let is bubble away!
Once the mixture was boiling I let it bubble away furiously for 5-10 minutes until the fruit starts to breakdown. This is where the lack of sugar became a bit of an issue. Wineberries have very small drupelets (new word of the day) this caused a bit of a brainy mess – at least it tasted good!
Pray to the jam gods your mixture will set
Using the ‘plate test’ you can check if the mixture is going to set. To do this you simply dollop an amount of your jam onto a cold plate (straight out of the fridge).
If it oozes – let it boil a bit more👎
If it stays put – you’re good to go! 👍
Transfer to a sterilised jam jar and leave it on the side to cool, the button should pop inwards as the mixture sets. Then all you need to do is spread your homemade berry jam on a lovely buttery crumpet!