Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Preserves for Reserves

Merry Christmas 
with lots of love from the Bowerbirds

The big Bowerbird can now whip up a jar of raspberry jam with her eyes closed.  This one is Raspberry and Alpine strawberry jam. Place 1/2 the amount of sugar to the weight of berries in the microwave with a slice of lemon and cook for around 30 mins, checking every 5mins or so until set. This is a wonderful flavoursome and reliable recipe. Sadly the raspberries are starting to slow down, perhaps another week of berry bliss before we talk about the halcyon crop of a long lost summer. We think at least 12kg of berries have been happily picked from sprawling canes. 

Have my mum and dad with me at the moment for Xmas.  Mum helped me make some vanilla bean and apricot jam and some black currant, rhubarb and apple jam.  So much jammy goodness and the shelves are heaving and looking beautiful in all their glorious shades. Warms the heart to see them filled. We also had a session sorting jars into smelly/non smelly (those chutneys really leave their mark), cleaning off sticky labels, fitting on the correct lids, and throwing away any jars missing lids.  I am all set for a summer of preserving.

Apricot jam
Cook 3kg apricots and 1/2 a cut vanilla bean in 1 cup of home made pectin until well stewed. Add 2.5kg sugar and cook until set.

Black Currant, Apple and Rhubarb Jam
Cup black currants (all we had on our bush)
2 apples
600g rhubarb
1/2 cup home made pectin
600g sugar
Cook without sugar until soft, add sugar and cook until set.  It's amazing how dominant the black currants are - this jam tastes like lollies.

Raspberry, Apple and Rhubarb Jam
2kg raspberries
600g chopped apples
600g chopped rhubarb
1 jar home made pectin
2kg sugar
cook rhubarb and apples until soft (add a little extra water if required - only enough to help cook and stop sticking), add berries and sugar, cook until set.

Set test.  Put saucer in freezer.  Place teaspoon of jam on saucer when it seem to be thickening. If the jam stays separate after you run your finger through it then it's ready.

Home Made Pectin -
I made this before I started blogging, with Christine at Slow Living Essentials.  You can use the bought stuff as a substitute but it's been great to have masses of the free stuff made out of apple peel and cores in jars ready to go. It has been taking up room in my cupboard for quite a while, however has been proving it's worth of late. Great for low pectin jams like berry and apricot.  For instructions and more about the wonderful apple day we had follow this link: 
or these directions from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial


  1. They look fantastic! I am so jealous of those heaving shelves of homemade jam! I'd love to give it a try one day! Tell me more about 'homemade pectin'...?

  2. Oh how I adore jam making time.
    I was just thinking today that I'd better get into it soon.
    We have currants and strawberries and raspberries and gooseberries awaiting. Enjoy yours jams full of yum.

  3. Yum, yum, yum! Your jammy jars of goodness look absolutely delicious.

    I've been jam making too! Apricot/brandy, your lip-smackingingly good apple/rhubarb/raspberry concoction and today a pot of four berry jam (raspberries, strawberries, loganberries and blueberries)to use up leftovers from Christmas.

    How special to have your mum in the kitchen with you for a jam making session. xx


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young