You must have bought packaged jams; I mean, haven’t we all eaten Strawberry and Mixed Fruit jams while growing up? Well, actually, I didn’t. I was never a fan of jellies. And remember, all bottled jams were thick jelly like spreads. And that is the reason, I never ate jams as a child.
I went to Paris to study. My flatmates, most of them were French. Once a month or during long weekends, they visited their family on the outskirts and return Sunday evening with a basketful of homemade goodies.
There would be homemade baguettes, jams and preserves, cakes and sauces. When I commented on the delightful light texture of the strawberry jam made by my flatmate’s mother, she told me that this was normal in France.
Confident in my knowledge, I bought for the first time in my life, a packaged jam from the supermarket and found that even store-bought jams did not not have a gelatinous texture, but actually tasted of real fruit. Alas, in India, nothing has changed. Most big companies still sell jelly in the name of fruit jams. No wonder, they last for years. Keep a bottled jam outside the fridge for 1 year and it won’t turn bad. Just imagine the quantity of chemicals that might have gone into its preparation. Ask yourself – what are you eating – chemicals or fruits?
In 2014, I decided enough was enough. I decided to make my own jams. I started with strawberry, and to my delight, it turned out well. It was lighter and more spreadable. And the best part was it actually smelled and tasted of fresh berries. It made me fall in love with jams again a long time after my first experience in France.
We made and ate a lot of strawberry jam that season. I even made a few bottles to be consumed later in the year. After a couple of months, I opened one bottle to see that the jam has lost a bit of its colour. To say that I was disappointed would be the understatement of the year. I was majorly upset. Commercial jams last for years and years, why did my jam get spoiled in a few months?
That’s when I realised it was a good thing – fresh fruits are supposed to rot. And if my homemade jam has gone off colour or has developed mould, it’s a sign that it contains –
- NO chemicals
- NO preservatives
- NO colour
Of course, the jam has sugar. A little bit of sugar don’t hurt anyone. Just go easy on the quantity, and it would be alright.
I make seasonal fresh fruit jams like Strawberry Jam, Black Grape Preserve and Pineapple Jam. My jams contain fruit, sugar and lemon. Nothing goes in it that you wouldn’t find in your kitchen pantry.
So, the next time, you come across a bottle of jam that loses its colour and flavour after a couple of months, be thankful, that you were not cheated and were given the authentic stuff.
Now, you know why homemade jams don’t last long. The trick is to order homemade jams in lesser quantity and consume it quickly.
- Strawberry Jam and Black Grape Preserve are available from January until February end.
- The pineapple Jam season is from August end until October end.
Get in touch if you would like to order a jar in the season.