This came up on my Facebook newsfeed this week:
This is the story of my first foray into jam making.
The story starts exactly seven years ago, with a mum of one and a breadmaker. Why a breadmaker? That’s a good question. The breadmaker introduced me to jam making; but that very question, ‘why a breadmaker?’, was something I came in time to ask myself as well.
The breadmaker was about five years old, it lived happily on the kitchen surface, happy that it wasn’t one of the many breadmakers long forgotten about and pushed to the back of cupboard never to see the light of day (there were, sadly, other appliances that had suffered that fate, but the breadmaker wasn’t one of them).
The breadmaker was bought because a sister and a good friend both had one and their bread was amazing. So I got a basic one, and started making my own bread. The bread was nice but never quite the same yummy bread my sister and friend made (this was solved by getting a Panasonic breadmaker a few years later, the King of Breadmakers). One day whilst just looking over the different programmes on the breadmaker, I spotted one that said jam. Curious, I decided to give it a try.
I got all the ingredients and set to work. It was a small batch of raspberry and apple jam, so there wasn’t much prep needed. It was a strange sight seeing the fruit bubble away. I couldn’t help but wonder whether my bread pan would ever see the light of day again, with all that sugar being boiled to death inside of it. But there was no going back, so I had to go on. Sadly, I don’t have many pictures to show you how my journey went from some humble whole fruit in a plastic bag to lovely, thick unctuous jam in a glass jar. I guess I had no idea that years later I’d be writing a blog about it.
I had a plate in the freezer to test for a set. I now know there are a few different methods to test for a set, but back then I only knew of the plate test and I still use it. Once I was sure I had a set (or at least I thought I was sure, as I had never done it before to be really sure!), I filled the jars I had sterilised and waited for it to cool down.
The final result, spread on my toast for breakfast, was really something special. Home made jam on home made toasted bread became a regular start to my day, something to take a few minutes out for and treat myself with before I launched myself into my hectic busy days running around after my young son. And both began from the same place, the breadmaker sitting on my kitchen surface.
The breadmaker also had a cake setting, which had always seemed strange. Here the breadmaker is basically just acting like an oven as you still need to mix everything before you put it in the breadmaker. So why not just use a normal oven I had always thought? I came to the realisation that the breadmaker with the jam setting was also a bit limiting, as you could only use a maximum of 600g of fruit. With jam on the hob you could use a kilo or even more of fruit. So I tried making jam on my cooker in a standard heavy based pan, putting my breadmaker to one side, at least when it came to jam making.
As I was making more, I had a little spare to give away to family and a handful of friends. I soon discovered that people really liked my jam. They started to ask when I’d be making some more, or whether I’d made any recently. So I started to make extra to give as gifts. I didn’t make jam that often but I loved doing it when I did, and so it seemed did others, including the judging panel in a jam competition six years later.
And that’s it really (for now at least). That’s the story of how this mum (now of three) started making jam.