Using up a glut of fruit that you get cheap or is just isn’t getting eaten can be tricky. It’s almost a bit cliché to say that cooking it down into a jam is the solution but I found that preserving fruits is a fantastic way of lowering your food waste. And what’s more, it took me less than 30 minutes to make my Apple, Plum and Sultana Jam.
This jam has a fantastic colour because I keep the skin of the fruits on. It’s almost a ruby red colour and the jam is almost jewel-like when the fruit has broken down. Not only does keeping the skin on provide colour but the skin of apples in high in pectin, a gelling agent which sets the jam. It’s actually starch and it forms a gel when its cooked to a high enough temperature.
Since apples are so high in natural pectin, I used very little jam sugar (which has added pectin) in fact I ended up having a 3:1 ratio of fruit to sugar. It’s important, however, to taste the fruit before you put it into your jam so you can get an idea of whether you might need to add more or less sugar to compensate.
To store your jam, you will need to sterilise some jars. The easy thing to do is to wash your jars in hot soapy water and then put them in an oven heated to 120˚C to dry and heat up.
This is an adaptation of the filling that I used for my Apple and Plum Turnovers, the recipe for which you can by clicking here.
2 eating apples, such as Braeburn but I just a few funsize apples leftover, cored and chopped into ½ inch cubes
8 plums, destoned and chopped into ½ inch cubes
2 tsp mixed spice
200 – 300g jam sugar
Over a medium high heat, cook down the apples and plums with the mixed spice and water for around 6 – 7 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in the sultanas and allow to boil and cook away for 5 minutes. You should see the fruit begin to break down, the sultanas absorbing some of the liquid and the liquid turn a dark ruby colour and begin to turn syrupy.
Add in the jam sugar and stir to dissolve. Leave the fruit and sugar to cook on a medium heat, stirring it occasionally, scraping down the edges. At this point place a small plate in the fridge.
When the contents of the pan begin to bubble and looks and feels thick, spoon some of the liquid onto the cold plate in the fridge. Leave it to set for a few minutes and push up against the jam with your finger. If it has set and is thick enough such that it ripples when you push your finger against it, you know your jam is ready. If not, continue to boil, testing after another 2 minutes.
Once it has reached the right set, remove it from the heat and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
Transfer the jam carefully into your sterilised jars, sealing the lids on tightly once filled. Label the jam once it has cooled down and keep in a cool place for up to 3 months, refrigerating once opened.