Follow these jammy guidelines from Marjorie Paulson, World Jampionship Winner and you can’t go wrong!

  1. Good quality, just ripe fruit, makes the best jam – especially for competition level.
  2. Avoid washing fruit in lots of water as this is likely to dilute the pectin and fruit acid. Ideally, simply wipe with damp kitchen paper.
  3. A heavy based preserving pan or saucepan is essential.
  4. It helps to actually warm the sugar before use. This can be done whilst the fruit is gently warming and will help it to dissolve more quickly, once put with the fruit.
  5. Once the fruit and sugar has been brought to the boil, boil rapidly and stir occasionally. The quicker the jam sets the better the colour of the end product.
  6. “Setting point” is a term that crops up in all jam making recipes. This is the moment during cooking when the preserve has been boiling for long enough, so that, when cold, it will solidify to a spreading consistency.
  7. A jam thermometer is a good idea for new jam makers but ensure it does not touch the side or bottom of the jam pan!
  8. There are various ways to test for setting. A favourite all round test is to put some small saucers in the freezer. When you think the jam is ready, remove from the heat and put a small amount on one of the saucers. Let it cool and then push gently across the surface with the tip of your finger. If it wrinkles, setting point has been reached. If not, return to the pan for a few minutes more and test again.
  9. A jam funnel is a very worthwhile investment! It helps to prevent sticky drips down the side of jars.
  10. Jars should be washed and sterilised before use. Even new ones. This can be done by washing and drying, then putting in a preheated oven (180C/350F/Gas Mark 4). A good time to do this is when the jam is cooling (usually about 15 minutes before ready for transferring to the jar).
  11. Fill the Jars as full as possible while the jam is hot.
  12. You can then seal immediately with a wax disc, with the waxed side down. Then leave to cool completely before using cellophane and a decorative fabric cap.
  13. Or use a screw top lid, preferably plastic coated.
  14. Always label jars with content and the date of potting.