Jams & Jellies Making 101

There are numerous methods of preserving fruit. Each method has its own technique and its own way of unique way of preserving, which leads to different products with various appearances. The main methods of preservation are detailed in the following article.

Jams are whole fruits which are preserved with sugar. The fruit are boiled in sugar syrup until they reach their ‘setting point’. The setting point implies that the jam will set at room temperature. The skins and seeds are often incorporated into a jam.

A preserve on the other hand is quite similar to a jam, except that it’s cooked for a shorter period of time, so that the fruit remains a more solid form. Preserves generally contain less sugar than jams.

Jellies are also prepared similar to jams, except that the fruit are boiled in acidulated water (water with an added acid, like lemon juice) until the fruit turns into a pulp. This fruit pulp is then strained so as to produce a clear fruit liquid. Sugar is then added to the liquid and it gets boiled again until it reaches the setting point of the jelly. This procedure produces a clear fruit-infused jelly. Apples are often used as a base, since it contains pectin, which the jelly needs to set. Fruit jellies can also be concocted from a mixture of various fruits, wines and even some herbs.

Let’s have a look at the some recipes.

Redcurrant Jelly:


  • 900 g redcurrant berries
  • 300ml water
  • 75g sugar per 100ml liquid


Firstly, wash and trim the red currants. Afterwards, place the berries in a heavy-bottomed pot along with the required amount of water. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a slight simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes. It is also advisable to mash the fruit against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, so as to form a fruit pulp-mixture. Pour the mixture into a sieve lined with layers of muslin cloth and allow the clear mixture to drain into a bowl.

After the pulp has drained thoroughly, discard the fruit and measure the volume clear jelly liquid and add 75g of sugar for every 100ml of fluid.

Place the juice and sugar in a pot, heat through and stir until all the sugar have completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it cook rapidly for around 15 minutes.

Test the jelly’s setting point by placing a clean plate in the fridge – Then spoon some jelly onto the plate and allow it to set. If a creased skin forms, the jelly is ready. If it does not set, continue to boil it for a further 5 minutes and test again. Skim any impurities from the surface and then ladle the liquid into sterilized jars. Allow for 1cm of head space then tighten the lid and store the jelly in a cool, dark place.

Blackcurrant Jam


  • 1.35kg sugar
  • 900g blackcurrant berries
  • 900ml water


Firstly, wash and trim the berries of any leaves or stalks. Place the berries into a heavy-bottomed pot along with the required amount of water. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

Afterwards, add the sugar to the pot and stir the mixture until all the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook rapidly for approximately 15 minutes. Test for setting exactly the same way as with the jelly.

Making Jams and Jellies are extremely easy, one simply needs a recipe. One can also add various herbs and spices to flavour your jams and jellies.

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This article was provided by food lover and travel enthusiast, ScribeZA, for top South African Canned Jam Manufacturer.

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