Allyson Gofton - Pretty Preserves

Publish Date
Friday, 13 February 2015, 1:47PM
By Allyson Gofton

In a jam:
The smell of raspberry jam cooking  – sweet and intoxicatingly fragrant  - as it bubbled away in my Mum’s tiny kitchen is a smell that wafted its way permanently into my many favourite child hood memories.

Today, with our smaller family unit there is not need to make large quantities of jam as our requirements are so much less, and also we can get so many frozen berries allowing us to make some jams all year round. But given that fruit will taste its best in season, and be cheaper to buy, now is the time to break out the jam pan and capture the true taste of  seasonal summer fruits  - like berries and stone fruits - in a jar before the summer sun sets.

Tips for great jam, jelly, conserves and fruit pastes:

  • Fruit must be ripe, but not over-ripe. I picking you own, pick on a nice day and avoid days after rain, as fruits  especially berries will absorb water, making them harder and less likely to set.
  • Choose fruit that is blemish and bruise free or has no brown rot.
  • Prepare the jam soon after picking or buying the fruit , leaving fruit in a warm kitchen will cause it to ripen further.
  • If the fruit requires light washing before being prepared, do this quickly and do not leave it to soak.
  • Try to make quantities of about 1 kilogram of fruit into jam or jellies  as it reaches setting point quickly and the colour and flavour are retained.
  • Do your prep work before beginning.
  • Have the fruit and sugar measured. Have lemons and a squeezer at hand in case you need lemon juice to assist with the setting. 
  • Have the jars washed and rinsed in clear water. Place in a 120 degrees Celsius oven to dry and preheat so that when the jam is added the jars will not break from the heat. Do not place hot empty or filled jars on a cold or wet bench as they will crack.
  • Have clear time to start and finish the job as jam is best made without a break in proceedings.
  • Use a large, wide jam pan or similar as the jam boils up very quickly.
  • Once the sugar has been added and has dissolved , the jam needs to come to a full rolling boil until it reaches setting point.
  • Have plenty of dry cloths at hand to hold and deal with very hot pans, jars etc.
  • Fill hot jars with hot jam or jelly to about 0.5cm of the top of the jar.
  • Cover all the jars with a light throw or paper towel and seal with a paraffin wax and or a lid when cold.  If covering with cellophane covers, cover when the preserve is hot. If storing for a long time, pour melted paraffin on to prevent shrinkage and air getting in to the preserve, before covering with a lid or cellophane jam cover.
  • Store jam in a cool place away from light , heat and moisture.
  • After storage if any mould appears on top of the jam, scoop off the mouldy part and a little beneath only. The remaining jam will be fine to eat.

Apricot And Apple Jam
This is the perfect recipe to let us enjoy lovely summer apricots all year round.

Serves: Makes about 1.75 litres or 7 cups.

1 kg cooking apples
1 kg apricots
2½ cups water


  1. Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut the apricots in half and remove the stones.

  2. Place the fruit in a large preserving pan with the water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the fruit is pulpy.

  3. Very carefully (as the fruit is hot) measure the pulp and return to the pan with 1 cup sugar for every 1 cup fruit pulp. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then boil rapidly until the jam gives a setting test.

  4. Pack into sterilized hot dry jars and seal when cold.

Triple R Jam (pictured)
Sensual rosewater adds an exotic nuance to this raspberry and rhubarb jam. Gorgeous served in small, sweet pastry baked tarts and accompanied with softly whipped cream.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 8x 350 gram jars

1 kilogram raspberries, fresh or frozen
250 grams rhubarb, trimmed and finely sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1.25 kilograms sugar
2 tablespoons rosewater


  1. Put the raspberries, rhubarb and lemon juice into a large stock pot or jam pan and bring slowly to the boil.

  2. Once the fruit is boiling, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft.

  3. Gradually stir in the sugar and continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stir only occasionally and boil for 7-10 minutes or until jam gives a set.

  4. Remove from the heat. Using a wide flat spoon, skim off any scum that has collected around the edges. Allow the jam to sit for 10 minutes then stir in the rosewater.

  5. Bottle the jam while it is still very hot into hot, dry, sterilised jars. Seal with cellophone jam covers while hot, or if covering with lids, seal when cold.

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