I’ve been jamming and pickling like crazy of late – the summer fruit season is drawing, along with the summer itself, to a close and stocking up is the order of the day. I’m not one for new fangled jams – crosses with herbs, spices, roots, with rhubarb and ginger, strawberry and rose. I like the classics – a good plum jam is unbeatable and needs no dressing up. The same goes for damsons – but they require some patience for fishing out the stones.
My fridge is chocker with gooseberry chutney, pickled damsons, pickled cherries, blackberry conserve, greengage jam, mixed berry jam and the last spoonfuls of my mum’s delicious three fruit marmalade from earlier in the year. Fine – I’m a hoarder – but the blackcurrant vodka sitting on the shelf brewing nicely has got dinner party written all over it.
I prefer jams a little runnier, like the greengage jam below. Less sugar means a tarter jam – my preference. If you like it thicker or sweeter add more sugar. Buy a sugar thermometer to get your timing right – or use the old saucer in the freezer trick, detailed in the recipe.