aquaprofunda: Lemons (lemons)
[personal profile] aquaprofunda
Berries   berries starting to soften   Jaaaam! First batch of crackberry.

This one is known colloquially amongst friends as “crackberry jam", and I have to say it definitely is the best in my repertoire of preserves. Often people seem very impressed with the fact that I make my own jam, and express awe as if it’s a great effort - it isn’t! It’s enormously easy. Easier than cooking most meals. And the recipe basically comes off the back of the pectin packet. Here’s my version of it.


  • 1.5 kilos of washed berries - any variety, any blend. I usually go with about 750g of raspberries or blackberries, and have the rest a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries/blackberries. Strawberries will need hulling and quartering.

  • 1.25 kilos of sugar

  • 50g (one packet) of Jamsetta - which you can find in the supermarket, often around the baking supplies or sugar

  • ¼ cup of water

  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice - about 2 lemons’ worth


  • A big saucepan - think stock-pot sized

  • A jam funnel with jar fitting will make your life easier/kitchen cleaner, but isn’t critical

  • About 8 warm jars with lids, clean, dry and sterilised - there are many methods for sterilising jars, the easiest being a dishwasher. Here’s another way, and googling will find you more. NB: It’s always better to overestimate how many jars you’ll need, instead of under-estimating.

  • Ladle

  • Sticker labels

  • A big heat-proof bowl

  • A few freezer-proof saucers


boil vigorously   crinkling jam   ladling into jars

Start off by putting your saucers in the freezer and pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees.

  1. Put berries in the saucepan with the lemon juice and a ¼ cup of water. Cook on a low-medium heat (essentially simmering) until soft. “Soft" can be pretty subjective - so cook it until it looks like you want the consistency of your jam to look (e.g. whole pieces of strawberry? or a raspberry/blackberry soup?). This should take between 30 minutes and an hour.

  2. Put your sugar and Jamsetta into the heat-proof bowl and put in the oven for 6 minutes to warm it. When warmed, pour it all into the saucepan with the berries. Turn the heat up and stir until it’s all dissolved.

  3. My favourite instruction: “boil vigorously" for 5-10 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Warning: your kitchen may start looking like a crime scene. Around this stage, make sure you’re working on sterilising and/or warming your jars - there’s about 20 minutes to go before you need to use them.

  4. And now the fun part. Spoon a teaspoon of jam onto one of the cooled saucers. Wait 30 seconds, then drag your finger through it - if it “crinkles" the jam is ready, i.e. will set once it cools. If the jam doesn’t crinkle, keep boiling it vigorously for another 5 minutes. Keep trying this with the saucers until it’s crinkly, then turn the heat off.

  5. Let the jam cool for 5-10 minutes, then line up your jars and lids, ready for your JAM JARRING PRODUCTION LINE! Just ladle the jam into each jar, leaving about a cm of empty space at the top. Screw on the lid tightly and turn the jar upside-down, leaving to cool. (Turning it upside-down will mean the heat of the jam at the top sterilises the seal.) Repeat until you’re out of jars.

  6. Once the jam has cooled you’ll see it’s set beautifully with a gap at the bottom (apparently this is something characteristic of my jam that helps friends identify it in their pantries). Label it with the contents and date (and name if you’re giving it to someone!).

  7. Oh, and don’t forget to let your housemate lick the spoon.

    licking the jam spoon

    (And then I promptly added it to my chocolate cake.)

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