The first Plums, Currant-gluts, Blackberries precociously fruiting on the briars… Take hold of that Ladle, that Maslin Pan, tether a thick Apron around the waist, ‘tis time to make Jam.
The following recipes are very simple, unadulterated and quite revoke my tendency towards frippery in the kitchen. Two staunch Summer Jams and a rather flippant Jelly.
Bring 3lb of Blackcurrants to boil in 400ml Apple-Juice. Simmer for twenty minutes. Take off heat, add 3lb Sugar. Stir until dissolved. Return to heat, bring to Setting Point*. Pot immediately in Sterilised Jars**.
Bring 3lb (Halved and Stoned) Plums to boil in 400ml water. Simmer until fruit is soft. Remove from heat and add sugar, as before. Return to heat, Set*, Pot**.
The recipe for this Redcurrant Jelly, originating in the French town of Bar-Le-Duc might indeed be considered frivolous if concocted as intended: The strands of Redcurrants are plucked early from the bushes and each currant is cut from the stalk, so as not to damage the fruit. The seeds are removed from one by one, using the sharpened Quill of a Goose. The fruits are then placed in a boiling sugar syrup, and potted to create a Jelly of seeded Redcurrants in suspension, not unjustly compared to Caviar in appearance, and cost.
When trying this at home, forget the Goose Quill... The recipe I used was shared by Jules Jackson, local charcutier extraordinaire, who did suggest replacing the water with a Dry White...
Make a sugar syrup of 3kg Sugar to 1lt Water (or Wine!), bring to 110C. Add 1kg Currants, and take to Setting Point*. Cool slightly and stir before potting - vital for fruit suspension. Pot**.
* Setting-Point is reached at 105C, or when the liquid when dribbled on a cold-plate forms a skin and dimples to touch.
** I sterilise jam-jars by putting them (clean) in the oven at over 100C for at least twenty minutes.