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28/06/2013 at 10:24
morning all,right now this might not sound like a question for G?W BUT im going to have for the first time a nice load of fruit this year to make preserves and jams and such, i know i could learn to do it the old way and will if that turns out to be the best way to do it, but has anyone ever used one of these electric jam makers if so honest opinions please and any advise or tricks of the trade would be good too,my first time on the fruit making scene so need all the help i can get avagooden Alan4711
28/06/2013 at 10:35

I have never heard of an electric jam maker, but it is so easy and quite quick to do and such a labour of love.

I am no expert and only do a few pots a year so someone may give much better advice

I simmer fruit, but not for too long as I like chunky jam, add same weight of normal granulated sugar and juice of a lemon. Sometimes if I am feeling posh I use preserving sugar. Simmer and stir gently until sugar not crunchy under wooden spoon and then blast with heat and boil. When it passes the finger test its done and avoiding third degree burns pour into clean jars. 

Finger test...put blob of jam onto cold plate and push with finger, after blowing on it, if it wrinkles its done. 

 

Apologies if I have insulted your intelligence with the above, but that is how I do jam. 

 

28/06/2013 at 11:14

I don't think they add anything extra to what a large pan on the stove will do. Another gadget to use once and then lie at the back of the kitchen cupboard.

 I have a big copper jam pan I bought  cheap in a supermarket in france.

My mum always uses an old aluminium maslin pan with a big handle on, a bit like a flattened out bucket.

Any large saucepan will do the job.  You have to have it it big enough to allow the jam to rise up as it boils.  A copper bottom helps spread the heat more and avoid burnt spots. I have seen quite a few maslin pans in the charity shops. People throw them out because so few bother to make their own jam anymore.

28/06/2013 at 11:16

Also ask everyone you know to save jamjars, well washed out, with lids stored separately so they don't go mouldy on the inside.

The price for jamjars in kitchen suppliers is ridiculous.

28/06/2013 at 11:45

Never heard of an electric jam maker. I make jam and chutney every year as we have a victoria plum tree and a pear. Got a maslin pan from a car boot for £2.50 and save all our  glass jars all year round. Once its on the boil, make sure you have another job to do in the kitchen to pass the time when the jams cooking. Practice makes perfect, you cant beat homemade jam. I make up mini hampers for friends at Christmas.

good luck its very rewarding!

 

28/06/2013 at 11:56

I make pounds of jam every year with 3 teenagers i need to !!!.  Soften the fruit first ( you may need to add a LITTLE water, then add same weight in sugar on low heat stir until there are no more grains - this is very important or your jam will crystal, add lemon juice ( needed for the pectin - jam sugar has this added ) then bring to a rolling boil, stir to stop catching on the bottom.  Do the finger test - I put the plates in the fridge to get cold drop a tsp of jam on to the saucer if a skin forms on the top its done.  As mention - get people to save jars - plastic top ones are better than metal.

Its great making jam - so easy yet eaveryone thinks you are so clever , I haven't bought jam or marmalade for years

 

30/06/2013 at 21:25

with jam and jelly making its all about taking time and not in a hurry,All ways make sure of how high pectin content of the fruit(you may need to add more)always under ripe fruit ,do not add too much water (plums and currents have a high water content),stir in warm sugar until dissolves,add a small nob of butter to keep scum at bay and keep jam or jelly clear.The right temperature for setting must be had before putting in jars(sterilized jars -a must)a thermometer for cooking is useful but I use a wooden spoon.A big must is a good cook book.good luck.

30/06/2013 at 22:19

...lots of good advice above...definitely sterilise jars - 5 mins fan oven at 170 degrees... then add the still hot jam...

I go against the rules a bit, as I do with gardening inasmuch that I can't stand jam and marmalade that's too sweet so I use a lot less sugar... 2 lbs fruit  to 1 lb sugar, bit more for marmalade but not much as I use Navel oranges not Seville - I also add whiskey to that... I find I have to boil it longer to reach setting point... sometimes 30--40 minutes...by which it will have reduced quite a bit...  

juice of lemon like everyone else... I skim off bits of scum but don't worry too much, I'm not making it for show... I also prefer the taste and colour of organic sugar.. or golden caster... I no longer use white sugar.... just a personal preference...

the worst part with marmalade is preparing the peel...

happy jam making,... it's quite interesting to do, if you have the time...and learn how we can adjust things to our own taste...

 ..sorry Alan I realise none of this answers your question... no I've not used a jam maker... why not try it manually first and see how you get on...?

30/06/2013 at 23:23

Find a good recipe book. I use an old Good Housekeeping book. Some fruit such as raspberry and blackcurrant, has enough of its own pectin and acidity so you only need fruit and equal weight sugar.  Strawberries usually need lemon juice and pectin.

01/07/2013 at 15:32

I make my own chutneys but not tried jam yet.  Picked 2lb of strawberries at the weekend and a kind friend has offered to make the jam for me (in exchange for some pots of the stuff).  Apparently she makes hers in the microwave - has anyone else tried this?

01/07/2013 at 17:19

I was given an old WI book of jams and chutneys, got some really interesting combinations in it. Looking forward to quince, as i was given a tree this year.

 

Never tried doing jam in the microwave though. 

01/07/2013 at 19:16

Nigella Lawson includes an electric jam maker in her Hall of Shame list of gadgets that have turned out to be unused/ useless.

01/07/2013 at 20:25

my first bread-maker had a jam setting. would have made about 3lbs. never tried it

01/07/2013 at 21:03

you can make small batches of strawberry jam ina microwave oven.

Strawbs into a large bowl, high power untill soft, quick bash with a potato masher, add equal weight of sugar and stir till dissolved, then nuke on high until it tries to climb out of the bowl, test on cold plate and into a jar. I don't worry about sterilising jaars as I only make small batches and eat it long before it can go off.

11/07/2013 at 15:49

Yup my bread maker has a jam setting too. Never tried it though.

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