It's that time of year when you feel the sense of change in the air, evenings smell and feel different and the evening sunlight has that glow to it of autumnal evenings, I have also noticed how early the leaves on the tree's are starting to change colour. My thoughts have turned to comfort cooking and baking, autumn walks amongst the leaves and Christmas. All my cookery magazines are full of autumn goodies and I know that next month I will have to start thinking about making my Christmas cake, but for now my task is to forage the hedgerows for as many goodies as I can whilst the weather is still enjoyable enough to get out there.
I do get teased a little about my love of cooking and for my love of foraging, but there is no better feeling than spending time outside in the countryside picking beautiful things and coming home and turning them into some yummy delight, whether it be jams, pickles, syrups, wines or cordials, the choice is endless and as a very wise and loving friend once said to me "what does it matter what others think, if it makes you happy, its all good", and she is right.
I started the Summer off with Elderflower Syrup, Cordial and Champagne which for me summed up the taste and smell of summer in a glass, now I am making jams and soon I will be out there picking sloes for sloe gin for Christmas. I do love the seasons and I love the delights that each season brings.
For my recipe below I didn't have any lemon juice, so I took a chance and left it out, but added 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead, the jam has turned out just fine but I think for the next batch I will either add more vanilla or add it nearer the end of the cooking so that the flavour doesn't get boiled out. This jam is just so yummy, perfect on toast, on scones or in a victoria sandwich cake, I just know that I will have to make another batch soon as it never stays around for very long.
Makes 1 Litre
1kg jam sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 x 250ml jars or equivalent
Place a testing saucer in the deep freezer.
Put the fruit, sugar and lemon juice into a preserving pan or other large, wide pan, and let the sugar dissolve over a low heat. Turn the heat up and bring to jam to the boil. Keep the jam at a rolling boil until setting point is reached.
Setting point can be found by placing a small amount of your jam on the saucer in the freezer, after a few seconds push the jam with your finger, if the jam surface wrinkles then it has reached setting point and is ready, alternatively you can use a cooking thermometer if you have one.
Allow the jam about ten minute to cool and then transfer to your sterilised jars.
To sterilise your jars, first wash the jars in hot soapy water and then rinse in clean warm water. Allow them to drip dry, upside down on a rack in the oven set to 140c/275f/gas mark 1. Leave for at least half an hour or cheat like I do and wash them on the top self of your dishwasher on the hottest setting.