Self-Sufficiency and Jam

The Good Life

Maybe it was that quirky TV sitcom from the seventies; The Good Life, that led to my hankering for a life of self-sufficiency. It’s a hankering that’s existed for the longest while and one I feed frequently with articles about growing your own fruit and veg, preserving it through the winter and stocking your own pantry with all manner of homemade paraphernalia. Of course this has never actually translated into reality. I have skirted around the edges of self-sufficiency with great aplomb, but actually living off the land completely doesn’t really sit with my very cosy suburban life. So I practice supplementary living, where I supplement bought goods with homemade ones, which includes jam! If you’d like to join me in making your own jam read on.

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What you need to make this Jam

Making jam in my house is a decided low-waste affair. I foraged blackberries from a spot a few yards from my house in Dublin 14 and always seem to get some donated bramley (cooking) apples from a neighbour, and of course being a zero waster I have an endless supply of empty jars stockpiled, so all I had to supply was some lemon juice and sugar.

Blackberry & Apple Jam Recipe

This is my version of a recipe for blackberry and apple jam that I found on-line.

Blackberry and Apple Jam
  1. Firstly steep the fruit overnight so that any hidden mini beasts can be identified and removed.
  2. Then drain and remove any debris
  3. Weigh your blackberries
  4. Add the clean blackberries to a large wide pot.
  5. Peel, core and chop the same weight of bramley apple
  6. Juice one lemon and mix with the fruit. You will need 1 lemon for every 1kg, or so, of fruit.
  7. Add 75ml of water per 1kg of fruit.
  8. Simmer mixture for 15 mins
  9. Pop a couple of saucers into the freezer to chill.
  10. Add the same weight of sugar as fruit, stirring to dissolve. You can use jam sugar but I’m a cheapskate / lazy so just used granulated.
  11. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes or until the sound of the mixture starts to change to, what I call a ‘lava plopping’ sound. Remove from the heat.
  12. Put a teaspoonful of jam onto a chilled saucer for 1 minute. Drag your finger lightly over the jam. If it wrinkles, it has reached setting point; if it doesn’t, boil for a couple more minutes, then turn off the heat and try again with another chilled saucer. Set aside to cool for 1 hour.
  13. If you have greaseproof or baking paper cut some seals to put on directly top of your jam after it’s been jarred. It helps prevent the growth of mould.
  14. Thirty mins after jam has been set aside to cool, sterilise your jars. To do this preheat the oven to its lowest setting and while it heats wash the jars in warm soapy water. Then place the jars and lids in the oven, facing upwards on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.
  15. Stir the jam and ladle into each jar.
  16. Treat yourself to a nice slice of bread with warm homemade jam!

More Staple Food Recipes

You can find some more of my staple food recipes here

Also if you’re not into cooking this freezer jam recipe might interest you.


Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

3 thoughts on “Self-Sufficiency and Jam

  1. Jam sugar isn’t necessary if you throw in an apple like you or other high pectin fruit. I’m super uncomfortable reusing jars because they aren’t tested for boiling temperature, which I prefer to do when canning jams, but I know Irish people think I’m mad for that :).


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