I’ll start this post by explaining that I don’t consider myself to be, even slightly, talented in the kitchen. Quite the opposite in fact. I know enough to get by, and can make a few dishes from scratch, but there is definately room for vast improvement. However, last year I was given a huge haul of apples, with which I decided to have a go at making apple chutney. It was really good fun, and the outcome was delicious. I ended up making more and giving some as gifts last Christmas, which were well received I think! My brother even came back for a second jar, so it can’t have been bad. Here’s how they looked before I gave them away.
This year, I’ve been given plums, greengages, pears and apples and have decided to have a go at making Jams. For my first attempt, I used some plums and greengages. These were from a friend’s garden here in Wiltshire, and were deliciously sweet and ripe. Into the pan with just water to stew down, then the stones and skins were strained out and to the remaining liquid, I added the sugar. As simple as that! Plums are naturally high in pectin (I read somewhere) so I didn’t need to add anything else in order to get a good set. I can’t tell you how good my kitchen smelt during this process, but trust me, it was heavenly. The finished result was very tasty indeed, with a satisfying plummy bite to it. Here it is, on my toast. Mmmm.
Next, I decided to try a combination of plum and apple. These plums were from my ex-husband’s garden, the apples were two very large bramley’s (from Sainsburys, lol). Again, just stewed down with water, strained through, then sugar added. I didn’t have quite enough sugar as the recipe advised, but decided that the fruit was probably sweet enough, so the mixture only got about 2/3’s of the recommended amount, but the result wouldn’t have given the game away – a really delicious, almost marmalade-y, delicate jam, probably my favourite of the two I have made so far. A really beautiful orange colour, too.
I still have some apples, pears and a HUGE bag of the sweetest smelling greengages to use up before the end of the week. Its a lot of fun, now is the best time to give it a go too, with all that lovely natural produce to be found locally and cheaply. There’s something very satisfying about seeing all those jars of jam at the end of all that cooking, and it makes the house smell fantastic.