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The Essentials on Making & Selling your Own Jams

There’s nothing tastier than homemade food, and jam is not only a simple dish to make by yourself, or with the kids, but it’s also fairly cheap to produce. Not only is it great to make jam for your own enjoyment,  it is also a great gift for friends and family and can be a great product to sell if you want to start up a small business venture from home as it can be sold for a good price.

Making your Jam

You will need a few basic ingredients to make a delicious strawberry jam namely:

1kg of Strawberries

1kg caster sugar (or granulated sugar)

The juice of half a lemon

A small knob of butter

You will need to remove stones, pips, seeds and hard cores before you begin the first step. This includes checking for any spots and removing them as well as not using any berries which are over-ripe or bruised.

The first step to making jam is to cover the strawberries with half the sugar, 500g. You need to then mix this in carefully as to avoid bruising the fruit, ensuring you coat the strawberries properly. You then need to cover these with cling film and leave them in the fridge overnight.

When it comes to the next day, place a saucer in the freezer – this is to check the jam is ready to set and will be used later in the process.

You will also need to sterilise your jam jars. This can be done by washing them with soap and water and leaving them to drip-dry in the oven (upside down) at around gas mark 1 (275F/140C) – leave them for around half an hour. Note: Place your Jars in the oven as it heats up, or they may crack.

Add the strawberries, the remaining sugar and any residual juices into a large pan, stirring smoothly over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once it has started to dissolve add the lemon juice to the mixture. Note: A preserving pan is ideal however not necessary

Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the strawberries to the boil – remember this will rise so make sure to use a big enough pan – and check the setting point every 10 minutes. It may take up to half an hour to reach your setting point, so patience is key to this step. Just ensure you are keeping a close eye on the jam and you will be fine.

To check the setting point use the plate from the freezer (placed there in step 2), bring the jam off the heat, drop a little on the plate and push it with your finger – if the surface wrinkles it is ready if not, put the jam back on the heat.

When your jam has reached its setting point, add the butter and skim any scum off the top. Leave to cool and thicken for 10 minutes. This ensures the strawberries won’t just sink to the bottom of your jam jars.

Remove the jam jars from the oven and ladle in the mixture. Note: Try not to touch the insides of the jars either with your hands or oven gloves. This may introduce unwelcome bacteria.

You then need to cover this with a wax paper disc – which should cover the whole surface of the top. Press this down to create a complete and then cover with the lid. Wiping down the jars with a wet cloth to remove any stickiness.

Note: Do not place any labels on the Jars until they are cold, as the heat will prevent them sticking properly.

These steps can be repeated with any fruits, or if you’re feeling adventurous, even chillies.

Making the finished product

Once your Jam is ready, the next stage is adding a personal touch and making it look professional. Whether you are wanting the jam for personal use, to give away, or to sell on, once you have got this far in the process it is always nice to finish it off properly. Creating stickers to place on your Jam can be a great way of telling apart your flavours, as well as adding a nice personal touch by putting creative fonts and pictures on your label. This can turn some homemade jam into an attractive product almost instantly.

For those who want more than just a home hobby, you will need to conduct some research before you attempt to sell your jam in terms of how you package and present your product, how much you sell it for, where you do your baking and how you will promote it from having a website through to handing out flyers. For example, your jars will need stickers with information such as what flavour the jam is and the date it was made. It may even be necessary to place on health and allergy information depending on where you want to market your product.

Good quality, freshly made jams can be sold for a reasonable price and as it is inexpensive to produce, it offers a cost effective product to sell on to make a profit. While selling homemade jam can be a lucrative business venture, there is a lot to consider before you begin to ensure you get it right.

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