I love this time of year. The warm summer days beckon you to the outdoors at least until the heat chases you in again. The sun-kissed washing dries in mere minutes on the line ~ almost before you finish hanging it out. The evenings are so long & beautiful you can't help but be enticed to enjoy every second & as for the the food, who doesn't love summer food?
One of our aims here at Sunnyside is to know where our food is coming from. Sure that's not always possible, but where it is we choose to use it. We are blessed enough to live within an hour of a huge stone fruit producing area and since it's the peak of stone fruit season right now, we purchased a couple of boxes & did some preserving. Peaches, nectarines, pie filling ( this was frozen before any photos were taken) & peach jam were all preserved for our consumption throughout the year. I don't own a pressure canner, but do water bath my preserves ( this does sadly limit what I can do). It was hot work, but always enjoyable & seeing the results lining the pantry definitely makes it worth it.
|The nectarines & peaches ready for the year ahead.|
One of my favourite things to make is homemade jam. Besides the peach jam, I've made apricot jam this year. I also try & make plum jam & cherry jam to get us through the year ( I have plans on making these in the coming days). One day my strawberries will produce enough to make strawberry jam ~ in the meantime we enjoy some that Corinne has made who has an amazing strawberry patch.
|Yummy peach jam!|
I thought I'd share with you today how I make my jam to encourage you just how easy it really is:
|Apricot, cherry & peach jam from my pantry!|
The first thing I do is clean out my jars (Just old jars I've saved ~ check carefully for cracks & nicks before using them). I then place them upside down on a tray & put in the oven at 180 degrees celcius (356 F) for about 20 minutes ( this kills the nasties in them). I also boil the lids while they are in the oven.
To make the jam I use equal quantities of fruit (without stones) & raw sugar. Begin by boiling up the chopped fruit with a little water ( whatever you think it needs to stew nicely ~ I use about half a cup for a large saucepan full of fruit). Stir to prevent sticking. Once the fruit is soft add the sugar, a packet of jamsetta (this contains the pectin needed for setting it) & a tbs of butter ( this helps reduce the foaming on top as it boils). Bring to boil while stirring & boil for 10 minutes ~ keep stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
To check for a set put a saucer in the freezer & when you think it may be set get it out & place a tsp of jam on it, allow to cool for 30 seconds & then push your finger through it ~ if it wrinkles it is ready to bottle, if not let boil for a few more minutes & test again.
One thing I love about jam is that it doesn't need to be water bathed. Just bottle ( careful ~ it is hot) & allow to cool on the bench top. The lids will pop when they are sealed ~ if you cannot get a seal then put it in the fridge & use it straight away.
Once you've made your own jam, you won't want to use the storebrought ones ever again. Why don't you give it a go?
Have a bright & happy day
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