Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Recipe: Merry berry cherry jam

Catchy little name, isn't it?  I made this yesterday and it worked so I'm sharing it with you.  It's based around those bags of frozen fruit you can get - mine came from Sainsbury's.  You don't have to use exactly what I used, I am sure: for example, I used one bag of value berry mix because that's what I had in the freezer, it's not absolutely essential to the outcome, although I was impressed by the contents.  It doesn't make for a really value jam but it's great value for a jam of this quality, very delicious and perfect for Christmas presents!
I hedged my bets with the sugar and had half jam sugar because I wasn't totally sure of the pectin levels in the fruit.  Setting was not a problem!

Here's the recipe: it filled nine smallish pots.

1 bag Sainsbury's basics frozen berry mix
1 bag Sainsbury's frozen summer fruits
1 bag Sainsbury's frozen dark sweet cherries
Half a bag of Sainsburies frozen cranberries (the other half will make a sauce for Christmas)
400g jam sugar (with pectin)
400g granulated sugar
60 mls cherry brandy (optional, but it is the 'merry' part of the name)

Emply the contents of the berry mix and the summer fruits into a large pan or a preserving pan.  Add some water and simmer until soft and squishy.  I use my potato masher at this point too.  Then pour and press the fruits and liquid through a sieve and discard the seeds.
Return the fruit puree to the pan, add the cherries and the cranberries and simmer until they are soft.
If it seems too thick, add a bit of water.

OR - if you're OK with loads of seeds in jam (I am not), just bung the whole lot into your preserving pan with some water and simmer untill it's all soft.  You might need to add a little more sugar if you don't sieve out the seeds

Add 800g sugar (half being jam sugar), stir well and leave for the sugar to dissolve.  If you use saucers to test for set, now is a good time to pop them into the fridge.

When the sugar has dissolved, bring the jam to a rolling boil and cook, stirring, for about five minutes before checking for set.  It does set quickly so it's worth taking the pan off the heat while you are doing this.  If it has not reached setting points, boil for another five minutes and try again.

When the jam has reached setting point, take it off the heat (if it isn't already) and add the cherry brandy.  Stir it well and reboil for a minute.

Allow to stand for five minutes or so before pouring into hot sterilised jars and sealing with a waxed circle and lid.

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