Autumn delights

With its short and rainy days, autumn is maybe not the best time for construction, but definitely is the best time for using all the beautiful fruit and making jams and jellies. This year we’ve had quite some fruit and we decided to preserve some of it for winter in forms of these sweet delights. There is quite some work involved, but it’s all worth it when you start your day by eating delicious home-made jam. Still… if you’re not sure whether you want to start the adventure of jelly making, here are our experiences, time required, quantities and recipes. And please let us know if you have some recipe of your own!

General remarks

When you’re making jams (with pieces of fruit), especially if you first add water to the fruit, it is good to start cooking at high temperature so the water evaporates quickly. Later it’s better to turn the fire low to avoid sticking. For this reason you should also stir the jams and jellies quite often. The amount of sugar you add depends on your personal preferences, but the more sugar – the longer preservation time. You can also add rum or some similar alcohol on the top of the jar (just a few drops) to protect the jam from bacteria and molds. How do you know when the cooking is done? Well, once again it depends on your preferences, but usually you will know that you’ve reached the right consistency when you take a bit of the jam (or jelly), put it on a plate and draw a line in it with a spoon – the two parts should stay separate. When the jam is cooked, pour it into hot jars (previously boil them for about 15 minutes to sterilise them, then dry them in the oven), put the lid on and turn the jars upside-down so they cool down naturally.

Cookin plum jam

Plum

Perhaps the most common jam made by all Slovenian grandmas… Relatively easy to make, all you need to do is collect plums, open them up and take out the pits and put them to cook with some sugar. When the jam was done we added just a bit of rum to each jar.

Plums

We used about 20 kg of plums, which we were cleaning for about 3 hours and cooking for 5 hours, and we got 14 jars of jam (7 big ones – 720 ml and 7 middle ones – 370 ml).

Blackberry

Very yummy jam and very easy to make. The trickiest part is collecting blackberries. But once this is done, mix them with sugar and leave them for about 2 hours. Then add some lemon juice and red wine and cook for about 40 minutes.

Blackberries

We used 1,20 kg of blackberries, 0,6 kg of sugar, 0,5 dl of lemon juice and 0,5 dl of red wine. This was enough for 4 small jars (314 ml).

Dogwood

Dogwood

Ufff… This is not an easy one. While collecting the berries is still relatively easy, separating the “meat” from the “bone” takes some time and patience. But the result is absolutely gorgeous! So, what you need to do is first cook the berries covered with some water to soften them up a bit. Then, use all the tools available to squeeze out the juice and meaty part of the berry – we tried the tools normally used to mash tomatoes, cheese grater and a colander and in the end used the combination of all. Perhaps it’s better to use just one tool and then cook what remains in some water with sugar (and maybe a few drops of lemon juice) and drink it as syrup. But we really wanted to use everything for jelly! After that, cook it again, add sugar and you have your jelly ready to be put on toast.

Cleaning dogwood

It took us 4 hours to collect 10,5 kg of dogwood (2 people), 6 hours to get the mass out, 3 hours to cook (2 before the separation from the pits and 1 after). We added 2 kg of sugar. We got 6 big jars (720 ml) and 6 medium-sized ones (370 ml).

Rose hip

Difficulty level: about the same as dogwood. But the jelly is full of vitamin C and very tasty. The procedure varies from person to person – some say you should first clean all the berries, take out the pits and all and only then start cooking, while others say it’s enough to just cut the berries in half, cover them with water and cook a bit and then mash them like the dogwood. We went for the second option. According to some, in the end it is good to push the jelly through some filter to remove the little hair, but we didn’t bother with that.

Rose hip

With 3,5 kg of rose hip and 0,5 kg of sugar we got 4 medium-sized jars (370 ml). It took in total 3 hours to cook it, and about 6 hours to separate the fruit from the pits.

Quince

Perhaps my favourite one, maybe also because it’s the easiest to make. You just need to cut the quince, remove the pits, cover the bits with water and cook and stir. At some point add sugar and that’s it!

Quince

From 11 kg of quince and 1,5 kg of sugar, after 3,5 hours of cooking, we got 14 big and 4 medium-sized jars.

Pear

Same procedure as with quince, but takes a bit more to cook (at least that’s how it was with this particular sort of pears).

Pears

We had 3,5 kg of pears and we cooked them for 7 hours. The result was 2 big jars (720 ml), 1 medium (370 ml) and 1 small (314 ml).

Grape

When it comes to grape, my advice would be to make juice or wine, not jelly. It takes some time to get the juice from the grapes, and then you have to cook it and stir it for hours until the water evaporates in order to get jelly. So eventually you feel like you are left with quite a small amount, given the amount of grapes you started with. Another possibility is to manually remove all the pits from the grapes and then make jam. Although such jam is very very good, I’d rather not go into that.

Grapes

It took us 1,5 hours of squeezing juice and 4 hours of cooking, and from about 5 kg of grapes (and 0,25 kg of sugar), we got just 3 jars – 1 big, 1 medium and 1 small.

In the end, all it takes when it comes to jam / jelly making is a lot of time. But it sure is worth it!

Breakfast

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