Start saving jars, lots of them!!
Making your own Jam is very rewarding. After all, you can create your own flavours and define your own level of sweetness.
Today it’s Mulberry Jam time.
Mulberries in Australia are not as widely grown in gardens anymore and many people who see our Mulberry Tree at our place or taste our Mulberry Jam are reminded of their childhood times.
If you don’t mind the purple stained hands, pick them by the buckets full and enjoy them all year round with this easy recipe for Mulberry Jam. The Mulberry fruit is similar to blackberries although much easier to pick as they grow on tree branches rather than prickly bushes.
Mulberries are considered a super food, containing high amounts of vitamin c, iron and antioxidants.
There are a variety of Mulberry trees , like Black Beauty with large black fruit, Pakistan Red with long fruit that does not stain, Teas Weeping, with small black fruit or the White Mulberry, which grows tall and wide.
Mulberry trees grow very fast and bear fruit at an early stage. We grew some new plants from seeds, that just popped up in the garden and they started bearing the first fruit in the second year.
The Mulberry Tree bears fruit around mid October (in Australia Spring) for about 3-4 weeks. At the time of writing this post our tree is about 5 years old, pruned every year and already bears more fruit than our family of 4 can eat. We eat the mulberry fresh, make clafoutis, ice cream, jam, we freeze them and give them away in the 4 weeks of Mulberry Heaven.
Our Mulberry Jam is popular with friends who can get their hands on one of our jars. The term Jam trends to cover a variety of fruit preserves, made from fruit and sugar. The recipe we use for our Mulberry Jam is more a combination of a conserve and compote. We leave the mulberries quiet whole and use less sugar than the traditional jam you would normally buy at the supermarket. We do not use any extra pectin, therefore the jam is more liquid and not so jelly like.
Who connected us?! We love having edible plants in the garden and to fill a gap in between us and the neighbours we were advised to plant a mulberry tree as mulberries are fast growing. Fast-growing indeed. Within a couple of years, the mulberry tree was bearing more fruit than we could eat. Hence we looked fo a good way to preserve the fruit and started making Mulberry Jam.
You will find blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries in (Australian) stores, but if you like Mulberries, you will have to find a tree and pick them yourself. We are lucky that we have a well established Mulberry tree in the garden, bearing heaps of fruit in the October Spring month.
When picking Mulberries, make sure you wear your oldest cloths, ripe mulberry juice stains won’t vanish.
Given the effort of making Jam, we pick at least a kilo, preferably more. For this recipe we work with one kilo of fruit.
- Mulberries: 1kg
- White Sugar: 1/2 kg
- Lemon: 1
- Jars: 3-4 medium size with metal lid.
- Clean the Mulberries. Lithely rinse the mulberries and take off all the stalks. This will take you about 30 minutes per kilo fruit.
- To be prepared for when the jam is ready, disinfect the jars. Put the jars and lids on a tray in an oven at about 150C for about 20 minutes to sterilise.
- Put all the fruit in a large pot. Use a heavy based pot if you have one.
- Wash the lemon thoroughly, squish the juice and put the juice and the lemon halves in the pan. Don’t add any water.
- Start on low heat. The fruit will soften quickly, stir frequently to distribute the heat evenly so all the fruit softens.
- Once there is some liquid in the pan, mash the fruit. I use a potato masher.
- Now that there is a lot of liquid in the pot you can turn up the heat.
- Not long until there will be impurities (looks like foam) on top. Scoop of the impurities and discard in a seperate bowl.
- Keep stirring and scooping of the impurities.
- If there is a lot of liquid, remove some of the liquid. Safe the liquid as this is perfect for adding to some yogurt or smoothies.
- Stir regularly while cooking until the consistency is like a custard. The jam will firm up when cooled down. To test if the consistency is right, take a cold plate, scoop a little jam on the plate and run your finger through the jam. When the jam separates you have reached a good consistency.
- Add the sugar and stir through. The jam will be runny again. Cook while stirring until you have reached thickened constancy again. You can test again the same way as before.
- Ladle the hot jam in the jars, fill to the top and screw on the lids.
- Clean the jars under running water while still warm, to get rid of the sticky bits that spilled.
- Wait until you hear the popping sound of the lids which indicate that the jars are sealed.
- Keeps up to a year in a dark cool place. Keep refrigerated after opening.
- Cleaning the mulberries: We don’t spray with pesticides, all is organic, therefore the mulberries only need to be rinsed lithely to minimise the risk of losing any of the healthy juice.
- Metal lid: As you will fill the jars with hot jam, it is best not to use plastic lids. Make sure the jars are in good condition and the lids fit properly.
- Less sugar shorter shelf life: Once you opened the jar, keep the jam refrigerated. The jam won’t last as long as jam with a traditional sugar ration of 1:1, but the taste is so good, it won’t last long anyway :-).
- 300 gram sugar: We sometimes make the Mulberry Jam with just 300 grams sugar per kilo fruit. Less sugar means a purer taste. The shelf life will be shorter when you use less sugar so we suggest using the jam within 6 months.
- Some like it sweet: Play around with the amount of sugar you use. You can taste test the jam while you make it, although keep in mind that when the jam is cooled down it taste a bit less sweet than when it is warm. The fruit is different in sweetness every time, depending on the amount of sun and rain we have. Therefore the amount of sugar we add, is slightly different each time. Play around and you get a feel for it.