Question: I have notice plenty of flowers on my soft fruit so looking forward to the fruit. I’ve not made jam before but have heard you need Pectin to achieve a good set. Can you buy or make your own?

Answer: For many, there will be a glut of fruit at this time, all staring at you saying, ‘jam me!’ Do remember that you can tray freeze fruit and use later on which takes a bit of the pressure from jam making night and day! Jam needs pectin to set and some fruits are very low in this so you’ll need to use jam sugar and/or lemon juice or pectin. Strawberries are very low, but gooseberries are high so if you combine. the two then the gooseberries will provide the pectin.

Pectin stock – once made this will keep for a week in the fridge or freeze it for up to three months for future use. Roughly chop 900g (2lb) cooking apples including cores, peel and pips. Boil and then simmer for around three quarters of an hour or until extremely soft and then strain through a jelly bag over a bowl. This can take two to three hours to go through the bag. Then boil the juices again for around 20 minutes to reduce the volume by a third. Allow to cool and either freeze or store in the fridge as above – defrost before use. A teaspoon of this will improve the set of a jam.

This article extract was taken from the June 2024 edition of The Country Smallholder. To read the article in full, you can buy the issue here.

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