Jams are a must pantry storage in today’s world. With more and more women getting into careers, bachelors living alone, kids at home with working parents away, this is one food category which can make your life easy. I’m sure many of us depend on Jams and preserves for their breakfast and evening tea. Early days it was always home made jams and preserves. When revolutionization started things began to change. As the years progressed, commerical production of Jams, jellies and preserves consumerised the whole world.
Things are changing again. Due to several factors like health awareness, fresh and organic food, people are returning to home made food again. Home made jams are preferred by my kids and they are happy to have that as daily breakfast which is not the case when it comes to store bought ones. The history of jams and preserves start with the history of food preservation which was invented few centuries ago.
Abundance of fruits in many parts of the world might have led to its preservation. History shows that jams were made in first century among Romans. This is stated in one of the earliest cookbooks named Culinary Matters which was released in Rome. It is believed that the British crusaders carried it from them from the Middle Eastern countries where sugar was in plenty. Jams were made with these sugar or honey. The Spaniards bought the technique with them to West Indies where fruits were in abundance too. The basic idea was to preserve the fruits and provide the nutrients needed all through the year.
The berry season is nearing an end and I thought it is the best way to keep hold of these healthy fruits in the form of Jam. Strawberry, blueberry and blackberry are used in this jam. Strawberry contains a considerable amount of pectin which helps in thickening of this jam. Since its a Jam, I’ve added some natural fruit pectin to get that store bought effect. Since its my first post on jams, I’ve done the basic jam with refined sugar. Later on I’m planning to do the healthy versions of this.
The cooking part is nothing but to cook the berries without overdoing it. To get that deep maroon pinkish color, I coated the strawberries with sugar crushing it into chunks. Cook the berries till its just done and soft. Overcooking will change the texture, color and flavor of the jam. Taking out the scum is very important. If the scum remains the look and texture will not be pleasing and there are chances of the jam getting spoiled soon.
Once all the ingredients are added, put on high flame and boil down to 6-7 minutes to attain the correct consistency. I’ve shown as how to check whether the jam has the right texture. Pour a spoonful on to a plate and keep it in fridge for a minute or two. Then just run your finger backwards, if you get folds or shrinks, then its the right consistency. I have added less amount of sugar than the store bought jams in this recipe. If your prefer to have more sweety ones, add a cup or two more of sugar.
So try out this recipe and do let me know how it turned out. No added color or preservatives. Simply fresh berries and sugar. You can have it any time of the day without thinking twice !!!!!!!
Wash and drain the berries thoroughly. Sterilize the bottles you need to store the jam and dry it and keep ready.
In a mixing bowl, add the strawberries and a cup of sugar. Mix up by crushing the strawberries into chunks. Rest for half an hour.
Heat an heavy bottomed pan. Add the strawberries along with the other berrries and heat up. Once it becomes soft, start mashing it to the consistency of your preference. Since I love some chunks, I keep some. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the berries are just cooked and soft. Check out for the scum and keep taking it out till it is completely cleaned.
Add the sugar and combine and boil for few minutes. Now add the pectin and lime juice and inetgrate well. Cook for further 5-7 minutes until you get the right texture. Transfer immediately to the jar you are storing the jam and seal tight. You can use it after 24 hours.
If you prefer a smooth jam, sieve it by pressing well so that all the pulp comes out leaving the residue. Transfer immediately to the jar and seal it.