Retro Towers Favourite Homemade Preserves

By that I of course mean Jams, although we have pretty much preserved in every way possible at some point. I have a bit of an obsession.

However, it is usually jam, and I've made ALOT of jams in the past. Its still one of my favourite ways to use up "bargain fruit - be it supermarket cheapo or free foraged.  Using jam sugar (so no need to add pectin and all that stuff) it really is so easy. Just stick to a 50/50 mix with the sugar and fruit, get it all boiling away for 5 minutes and done. We not only all the delicious jam we could need for lazy weekend breakfasts, but we've given loads in the past for gifts over christmas  and so forth. There's been loads of feedback on flavours, so we came up with the list of the top 5 jam flavours we have done.

  1. Black Forest - I used a frozen black forest fruit mix, the kind they advertise as "for smoothees" as I'm lazy it was cheaper and easier than making my own medley. A cinnamon stick, some finely grated fresh ginger (about a tablespoon to the bag of fruit) and a glug of Kirsch gives it a bit of a kick and turns it into something special
  2. Blackberry and Elderberry - The exact mix varies on what I can find in the hedgerows, but its usually about 250g blackberries to 100g elderberries. In the words of Mr O. "what do you mean its all gone!?!"
  3. Plumpocalpse - After a friend suffered a glut (or plumpocalpse) of plums from their garden, we devised this. It's basically victoria plum and a fair wack of stem ginger (get the stuff soaked in whiskey if you can, if not add a glug maybe?). Stew up the fruit and check the ginger kick is to your taste before adding the sugar - I like the ginger just tickling the back of my throat.
  4.  Strawberry and Elderflower - the usual 50/50 mix, to which I added an some elderflower cordial, at 1 tablespoon per 100g of strawberries. Perfect with clotted cream on scones.
  5. Marmalade - OK, so not exactly a quick one, but not exactly rocket science either - just takes time. Nothing beats home made marmalade, and you can mix up what citrus you use - Blood Orange and Bourbon is a favourite of mine.
Have you made any fun Jams this year? Or do you make other preserves? We tend to stick to the sweets in this house as we don't eat enough pickle to make it worthwhile, But I'm always up for trying something new. Any tips? It really is prime hedgerow foraging season right now isn't it, so happy foraging! 

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