What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than learning how to make delicious jams and chutneys. And that’s exactly what I did. The Make Lounge is located in Islington, London and has a range of creative workshops on anything from leather sewing or lamp making to cake pops and jewelry. They even have a shop were you can buy all sorts of crafty materials and fabrics, well worth a visit!
It was only eight of us at the jam and chutney workshop which made it really intimate and easy-going. We were thought how to make carrot and ginger chutney, plum and orange jam, blackberry and apple jam and sweet chilli jam. The picture above is the final product – seriously, how cute?
My favorite was sweet chilli jam, it goes really well with hard cheese – or everything else! – so I have written the recipe below. Bear in mind the recipe is only a loose guide, we were encouraged by our teacher to change ingredients and quantities. As long it’s not a major change it won’t affect the jam making process and you’ll get a result more to your taste. Enjoy!
Sweet Chilli Jam
Makes approx 1 litre of jam, or five 190ml jars
2-3 big red chillies, seeds and all
6 x garlic cloves
4cm fresh root ginger
1kg peppers – we only used red but you can use red, yellow and/or orange
1x400gr tin of tomatoes. Tinned cherry tomatoes work very well
250ml red wine vinegar
500gr caster sugar
250gr dark brown sugar
2tsp soy sauce (optional)
1) Place the chillies, garlic and ginger in a food processor and blitz until it’s very finely chopped
2) Wash and dry the peppers and dice finely. You want small even dices so they will all cook at the same speed
3) Place all of the ingredients in a pan and cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
4) Reduce the temperature and simmer until the mixture reaches a syrupy, jam-like consistency with lava-like bubbles. Stir regularly, especially towards the end, to avoid burning. Be careful when you stir the mixture as it will bubble, don’t fill the pan too full!)
5) I highly recommend you get a cooking thermometer if you don’t have one. Once the jam reaches 103.5 degrees it may stay at that temperature for 20minutes or so but it will only set if it has reached a temperature above 104 degrees Celsius.
6) When jam reaches the desired consistency add soy sauce (if using) and cook for a further minute
7) Let it sit for 5 minutes and skim off any film. Pour hot jam into sterilized jars leaving a 0.5cm gap at the top of the jar
8) Once they’ve been potted, put the lid on and just turn it so it’s just shut but don’t squeeze all the way. Let it sit for 5-10mins and give it a final squeeze. This makes all the hot bubbles come to the surface and push it’s way out, like a kind of natural vacuum seal
Let them cool and you are now ready to decorate the pots! At the Make Lounge we were provided with cute fabrics and some nice thin ribbon but their promises of tag making never happened. We were given some standard jam making stickers, decorated with some checked pattern. They were OK, but I had something else in mind…
I make tags like these for all sorts of occasions. I use them as name tag for presents, as little message carriers on wrapped baked goods and as jam tags of course! They are super easy and quick to make and require hardly any materials at all. You’ll need scissors, some sort of twine, a hole puncher, cardboard and some pens.
Punch a hole in the cardboard and cut a little tag making sure the hole is centered. Write desired message or jam name and decorate with the pens if you want to add a personal touch. Marry with the twine and carefully tie around the jam pots. Done! : )