The Science of Jam-Making and a Blueberry Jam Recipe

Jam is an easy thing to make yourself and it will taste so much better than the store-bought equivalent. All you need is fruit, sugar, lemon juice or citric acid and some of jars. The real beauty is that you can adjust the flavour and texture to your own taste. You don’t like it as sweet, add more lemon juice. You don’t like actual chunks of fruit or seeds, blend it up and strain out the seeds. You can even add some spices such as cinnamon or start anise. You know what’s in it and it is completely free of all kinds of chemicals.

I know this might not be everyone’s jam (sorry, I had to) but homemade jam is a real game changer once you get the hang of it. The price of store-bought jams often make me question whether they contain any natural ingredients at all. The price of homemade jam is definitely higher, but at least you know what is in it. The flavour is a lot better as you can adjust it to what you like. You can throw in spices or different flavour extracts to enhance the flavour profile. You can change the texture from smooth to chunky. Once you start making your own jam you may never go back to the store-bought kind. All you need are three basic ingredients, a large pot and some jars to get you started.

The Science Behind Making Jam

Jam is a fruit preserve that is a staple on many breakfast table or even desserts that requires only three ingredients to make. With some fruit, sugar and citric acid at hand the process can begin. It is completely natural with added preservatives, food colouring, flavour enhancers of gelatin. The sugar and citric acid preserve the jam and pectin, a natural starch that naturally occurs in the walls of fruit and vegetables, helps the jam to thicken up. Some fruits contain more pectin than others meaning that they will need more cooking time of additional pectin to set. Softer fruits contain less pectin than harder fruits, therefore berries will need more cooking time than for instance apples that contain more pectin in their fibres.

Basic Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:
• 500 gr blueberries (fresh or frozen)
• 250 gr sugar
• 5 tbl lemon juice
• ½ tsp lemon extract

Instructions:
1. For a smooth jam blend all the ingredients up in a blender before transferring the mixture into a large pot. For a chunkier jam you can mix all ingredients in the pot directly.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. The mixture will splatter so be careful.
3. Reduce the mixture until it coats the back of a spoon, then test a drop on a cold plate. The jam should no longer drip when cold, but settle in place. Be careful not to cook it too long or it might turn into a jello like consistency.
4. Fill the jam into a sterilised jar.
The ratio of two parts fruit to one part sugar is important to preserve the jam. A quick jam made for direct consumption can be reduced in sugar, but it should be consumed within a week. It makes a great cake filling.

Categories Food, Vegetarian/VeganTags , , , , ,

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