Well I am anyway. So one of the trees in our garden which looked pretty rubbish, straggly and old has turned out to be useful, so it can stay. Greengage plums no less. I love plums preferably Victoria plums and tend to eat them straight from my parents tree in their garden, as does our great big dog (the dog also helps herself to fresh tomatoes from Dad's greenhouse). So I sent my other taller half up the ladders yesterday and what a crop we got. Shame as there are tons still left but the branches are just too high.
Washed and ready to start (we have the same amount again which I put in the freezer).
I had a look at a few recipes on line and decided to just keep it simple and do 1kg plums to 1kg sugar. As the fruit was ripe I took the time to de-stone and quarter them before I put them in the pan. I've never made jam before (well I helped my mum once when I was little) so it was a bit of an experiment but I got a few tips from my mum and little L was busy with her Daddy (don't think small child, molten fruit and stressed mummy mix well).
I was instructed to heat the fruit (no water or sugar) until it was nice and soft like stewed fruit (this took some time and do keep stirring or it might burn). Then add the sugar and keep stirring to dissolve it and then crank the heat up. I had already put some saucers in the fridge to chill ready for testing the jam. So I turned it up to the second to highest setting on our stove and let it bubble away for at least 5 minutes then started to test it (drip a blob onto cold saucer and see if it sets or a skin forms on it). By this point I was absolutely boiling it was like a sauna in the kitchen and the jam just wouldn't set. So I held my nerve and whacked it up to full heat for a few minutes. It started to go a bit brown and I thought it was burning but I tested it and it had set.... phew turn the heat off.
Next bottling... a spoon no the jam is going everywhere, a ladle no still going everywhere.....hhmmm I know a funnel made from cutting up a tonic bottle. Yep this worked until it started to bend with the heat and I poured molten jam down my hand arghhhhhhhhh yes that hurt. Anyway eventually I got it in the jam jars and it tasted good. A messy job though, the kitchen looked a wreck there was jam on the floor (from my burning hand incident), jam on the side, the cooker, numerous saucers and spoons, my arm, my trousers and the phone (I had to make an emergency call for advice).
I think before I make the next batch I will treat myself to a jam funnel and maybe a thermometer. The jam cost 30p per jar in sugar and who knows the cost of the gas (probably £5 knowing my luck) so it is cheaper I think as decent jam especially better flavours are £1.50-2 a jar. Next time I won't boil it as much to start (so there are some lumps left in it) and I will be quicker to turn it up to the max so it shouldn't take as much gas.
So much fun, burnt hand, kitchen a mess and a mini facial at the same time but at least we have jam.
Bye for now x