Summer Berry & Thyme Jam ~ Gifts from Afar

summer berry and thyme jam
Let’s all be honest.. one of the best things about birthdays and Christmas is the gifts
I know we all wish we were better people (well I do) that say we wake up on the mornings of these occasions and think of anything BUT gifts… but then I’d be lying…

BUT don’t worry! It ain’t all gifts for me… but also the fun and joy of giving gifts to others.
And oh the absolute satisfaction and excitement you get when you pick out the perfect present for someone that you just can’t wait to give. THAT’S the good gift feeling.
(and crossing every finger that they won’t have to put their actor hat on and pretend to love it when we all know, they’re just hoping the gift receipt is somewhere tucked in there so you can return it… oh the honesty hurts)

As a lover of gift giving (and gift receiving.. cause… duh.. i’m not a robot) I always try to make sure I add a personal touch to make sure the receiver really knows how much a value them. (man I could go all levels of deep here).
I love the large tangible sort of gifts, that aren’t necessarily too expensive, but speak a volume of words of memories and understanding of what the other likes.

summer berry and thyme jam
So you can understand my enthusiasm when a family members birthday pops up on the calendar! Ooo boy it’s time to impress.
This time, it was Dad’s birthday. An absolute crack-up and a foodie fiend with a sweet tooth just like me. (thanks for that dad by the way.) So when it came time to get a present, there’s nothing that seemed more obvious and special…

To back track a little, if I mayyyyy;
Ever since we were little tackers, eating croissants for lunch was a sunday tradition. ALWAYS accompanied with jam. Without a doubt. I mean the thought of a plain croissant was simply ludicrous! And as always, Dad (like myself) believed in the firm philosophy of having croissants WITH our jam. (just like he has his vegemite on toast… but that’s another story…).
About a year ago, I made a huge batch of jam (I’m talking a good gang of jars) which dad single handedly finished polished off himself. Not even breaking a sweat. Please, give the man a challenge.

So coming up to his birthday I thought, let’s replenish the jam supply and give him something he loves, and a little flashback to me cooking right beside him while we’re on opposite sides of the earth.
Something we both enjoy the simple pleasures of.

You guessed it…. JAM!
Jam for the man!

summer berry and thyme jam
Also, man, I love getting gifts in the post. The whole anticipation of receiving a parcel is also half the fun of the surprise! Oh the joy when I see something waiting at the door! It’s like unwrapping a present times 2! Gotta love a little mystery.

So, this was just like the joy I had when Kylee Newton’s book ‘The Modern Preserver’ arrived in the mail!
And how much more serendipitous does it get when I use one of her jam recipes as a gift to send back in the post!
Coincidence? I think not.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Kylee’s beautiful cookbook then this is the perfect time! (after all it tis the gift giving season).  And nothing says homemade with love more than a lovingly made preserve wonderfully based around seasonal produce and the waste-not want-not mantra. With beautiful pictures and recipes for any level of preserver this is a little gift guide gold mine. Get round it yo. Kylee you’re a legend!

There’s nothing quite like homemade jam. And once you make it from scratch… I warn you, you’ll never stop. (But don’t worry, your neighbours and gift receivers will love you for it).

recipe by Kylee Newton ‘The Modern Preserver’

1.5kg mixed berries (strawberries – halved , blackberries, raspberries)
20ml water
70ml lemon juice (around 1 large lemon)
900g jam/caster sugar
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or the recipe calls for lemon thyme although this wasn’t available at the time)

You will need:
Plates in the freezer for wrinkle test
Sterilised jam jars

1. Put the berries in a large pan with the water and soften for 10 minutes on a moderate heat.
2. Add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar then bring it to the boil at around 104C, stirring intermittently, for a further 20 minutes. Use the wrinkle test*, as needed, to check when it has reached a soft setting point.
3. When it is ready, take off the heat, skim off any scum from the surface and stir through the thyme leaves.
4. Leave to sit for 5 minutes then ladle into warm, dry sterilised jars and seal.

Keep unopened for up to 6 months. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 4-6 weeks.

*To do the wrinkle test, place a small plate in the freezer at the beginning of making the jam, then when ready to test, take the jam off the heat and place a small teaspoon of jam on the plate, leave to stand for a minute or so. Then push the blob of jam with your finger, and if it wrinkles the jam is done, if not leave on the heat for another 3-5 minutes until the jam wrinkles.

Thanks for stopping by!


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