Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jam jam jam

It's that time of year again - fresh fruit perfectly ripe on market stalls at silly prices. Jam time!

If you don't make jam, please please please give it a try. We've met people who think it's a huge, time-consuming, complex undertaking. Making jam is very straightforward and as long as you sterilise things, pretty safe. And there are three big advantages of homemade jam over shop-bought.

You can make it the way you like it. As with bread, pizza or any other food product, making it yourself means you can make it your way. You can try wacky flavour combinations, add nuts or spices, mix different fruits and go for exactly the sweetness level you want. We got so sick of shop jams with no pieces of actual fruit in, and now really enjoy making jam with big whole strawberries and chunks of peach floating around.

You know exactly what's in it. Homemade jam is fruit and sugar, and you control how much sugar you use. (We also add some lemon juice to help the set.)  There's no colourings, flavourings or preservatives, and if you want to, you could make it organic.

It's cheaper. This kind of surprised me, I figured that commercially-made jam would benefit from economies of scale and would work out cheaper than homemade, but no. It varies from fruit to fruit, of course, but our jams come in around €3-10 per kilo. That's with fruit from the market or the supermarket, I imagine it could be even cheaper with homegrown fruit.

Jam-making is a perfect Sunday afternoon activity, and we'll enjoy the sweet fruity taste of summer in the colder months.

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