Thursday, 12 July 2012

Summer in a Jar

'Would you not just go to the supermarket and buy some frozen berries if you want to make jam that badly?'

This was the question posed to me yesterday evening as I picked berries in the rain.

Good question?

I suppose if your not interested in gardening, why would you go to the trouble of buying, planting, growing, training and protecting fruiting plants just to pick a few berries for jam, ice-cream, smoothies, etc.

Is it not easier to drive to the local mall or supermarket and buy some frozen berries, or even just buy ready made pots of jam, tubs of ice-cream, etc?


There are soooo many responses to this question, where do I start.

Firstly, I'd like to say that I am a great fan of artisan jam makers, there are small cottage industries all over the UK and Ireland making delicious preserves.

There is a certain excitement to having bought local producer's products at the market knowing they will taste better, and your supporting local people.

As for the growing your own, it is hard to describe the pride one feels when tasting things straight off the plant or freshly lifted from the soil, particularly in harder years like this.

I really think the strawberries we've munched on recently taste all the sweeter because we have had to battle for each one (okay- slight exaggeration but you know what I mean) 



Of course, not to mention the exercise we get from the 'fun' of digging, hauling, lifting, bending, slipping & sliding our way through the year. So last night when posed the question, I simply asked the person to help making the jam and stay for a taste, which they did.

The recipe was simply - I had managed to collect together a kilo (2.2lbs) of fruit, primarily strawberries and raspberries, with some added loganberries, black currants and a sprinkle of blue berries; put in sugar; bring to boil for 7-8 minutes and pour into jars (previously used, washed, dried and sterilized in the oven); put lids on jars.


Done.

I put a small amount into a bowl, which cooled while we cleaned up. Any homemade jam receipt has to include brewing tea or coffee afterwards and having it with some tasty bread covered in the freshly made jam.

Delicious.

Question answered!