Have you always fancied yourself as the type of person that makes jam at home? Or asked yourself “how long does homemade jam last?” Then read on… It’s jam season here in the UK! Between June and October every year, British fruit is at is ripest and most sweet, making it the perfect time for turning into jam.
How To Make Jam At Home
Sure you could head down to your local supermarket and pick up a pot of ready made jam, but where’s the fun in that? Making jam at home is fairly simple AND you can use your imagination to tailor your preserves to your own specific flavour palette. Like your jams more tangy and sour? Not a problem if you’re making them at home! The process of jam making is fairly similar no matter what fruit (or fruits) you end up using.
Step 1: Clean your jars. In order to create jam that is food safe, the jars that you use to store it must be totally clean in order to stop any bacteria from flourishing. This is especially true when storing jam, as bacteria loves to feed off the sugar! The easiest way to sterilise glass jars is to rinse them in hot soapy water and then put them upside down in the oven at 140 degrees Celsius until thy are dry. Make sure to remove any rubber linings that sit within the jar as these will melt or look misshapen once they emerge from the oven!
Step 2: Wash (and peel if necessary) your fruit and place it in a pan alongside jam sugar, in equal quantities. Keep it at a low heat and stir until all of the sugar has completely dissolved. If your fruit doesn’t have a lot of moisture, you may need to add some boiling water to loosen it. Keeping the mixture at a low temperature is very important, as you do not want the sugar to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Depending on what fruit you are using, you may need to add pectin (a thickening agent) to your mixture in order for your jam to have the right consistency to be able to set properly.
Step 3: Once all the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture up to a rapid boil for 3-5 minutes until the jam reaches a stage where it can set. You will be able to know when to take it off the heat when you see the mixture thicken and boil more slowly.
Step 4: Test if your jam is ready to set. You can do this by taking the mixture off the heat and spooning a small bit of it onto a cold plate or saucer. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then push your finger into it. If the jam ‘wrinkles’, it’s ready to be put into jars to set! If it’s not quite there yet, just put it back onto the heat for slightly longer and keep testing it until it’s ready.
Step 5: Spoon your jam into your sterilised jars and place airtight lids on them whilst the jam is still hot. As the jam cools and sets, it will dip the seal of the jars to create a pressurised atmosphere inside. That’s why you get a distinctive ‘pop’ when you open a jam jar for the first time!
How Long Does Homemade Jam Last?
Homemade fruit preserves can last for up to year or even longer if it is unopened and stored in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or kitchen cupboard. However the flavour and texture of your jam will start to deteriorate after around 6 months, even if you keep them tightly sealed. Once you’ve opened a jar of jam, then you will need to move it into the fridge and consume it all within 3 months ideally.
How To Make Your Jam Last Longer
- Process your jars and jam in a hot water bath (known as canning) to reduce the risk of bacteria growing.
- Use an equal amount of sugar to fruit in your recipe. Sugar is a preservative, so the more you use, the longer your jam will last!
It is difficult to give a definitive answer to this question, so you will have to use your best judgement and common sense when you’re deciding to eat your homemade jam. If the jam is discoloured, has visible mouldy patches or a strange smell, then it is best to leave it!
The Best Homemade Jam Recipes
The Vegetarian Society has a fantastic, comprehensive list of all the fruit and vegetables that are in season each month, if you’re undecided on which flavours to use in your jam. If you’re stuck for inspiration, why not take a look at 5 of the best, most luxurious homemade jam recipes we’ve found online?
1. Cherry & Cinnamon Jam
This would be a great jam to make now and keep for Christmas, as the cinnamon flavours are very evocative of the festive time of year! This jam would taste incredible if it was spread into a chocolate cake…
Ingredients: cherries, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice, sugar and pectin.
Find the full recipe at BBC Good Food.
2. Blackcurrant Jam
Blackcurrants are one of this country’s greatest fruits – so spare a thought for all the poor Americans that have never tasted them before (we didn’t find this out until recently – who knew?)! Blackcurrant jam tastes incredible when spread on a scone alongside clotted cream, or on a big slab of doorstep toast with lashings of butter.
Ingredients: blackcurrants and sugar.
Find the full recipe at Farmersgirl Kitchen.
3. Strawberry, Long Pepper & Lime Jam
Long Pepper (sometimes known as Indian Long Pepper or pippali) has a very similar to black pepper, but is more floral like cinnamon. It gives a good kick to this strawberry and lime jam recipe! Spread it on your morning toast to wake you up on weekday mornings.
Ingredients: strawberries, jam sugar, salt, limes and long pepper.
Find the full recipe at Great British Chefs.
4. Fig Jam Scented With Earl Grey Tea & Star Anise
This is one to save for your poshest guests. The combination of these luxurious, rich ingredients makes this preserve ideal for serving alongside sandwiches and scones for afternoon tea. You could even give out pots of this jam to your friends and family, as it makes a thoughtful, yet inexpensive birthday or Christmas gift!
Ingredients: earl grey teabags, ripe figs, jam sugar, lemon juice and ground star anise.
Find the full recipe at Delicious Magazine.
5. Plum & Mulled Wine Jam
This is another jam that will go down a treat at Christmas. This jam tastes lovely when used sparingly on toast or when it’s spread into a stacked sponge cake.
Ingredients: red plums, red wine, mulled wine spices, (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc), orange zest and granulated sugar.
Find the full recipe at The Women’s Institute.
Glass Jam Jars For Home Bakers
Here at Ampulla, we specialise in providing high quality packaging for big businesses and individuals alike. Thanks to our flexible ordering system, you can order as little as one unit of each of our products! Our tired pricing means that regardless of the quantity you have ordered, you will be getting the best possible value for money. If you’re looking for glass jam jars, then you’ve come to the right place.
Our range of glass jam jars encompasses capacities from 30ml up to 500ml, which all come with the option of adding colourful twist off lids. We’ve got jam jars in all shapes and sizes, that are perfect fro use by both home bakers and big businesses. Check out our full range today.