Saturday 20 June 2015

Jam Time And Worm Time

In my opinion nothing beats home made jam, Yesterday morning I made up a batch of Strawberry batch, unfortunately it wasn't with our Strawberries we didn't have enough this year as my plants are only young plant from runners that I brought with us on moving and there isn't enough of them.
The strawberries were only £1 for 400g and British 
Making jam is so easy, 1200grms of fruit to the same weight of sugar, 
keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved 
bring to a rolling boil and continue boiling until setting temperature has been reach 
pour into sterilised jars leave to cool and enjoy on fresh bread with butter.
Now the sugar I used was a Jam Sugar with added pectin, strawberries have low pectin and need that extra to get a set, while I was stirring the jam I was reading the back of the packet like you do there instructions for strawberry jam were slightly different and I must say if you were a complete novice you would probably fail to get a set and be disappointed and probably be put off jam making, they said more or less the same but when you get to a rolling boil just boil for 4 minuets then pour into jars, I have never had a set reach in 4 minuets so I tried it I took a spoonful out after the allotted time put it on a saucer, I knew it wasn't going to set, it didn't, I use a thermometer and the set temperature hadn't been reached in 4 minuets, it didn't set I continued until the set temperture had been reached and got a perfect set, if you are new to jam making invest a couple of pounds in a thermometer and your jam will be a success.

Now the worms, I invested in a wormery before we moved, and it was transported active with the worms doing there thing when we moved here, put in the corner of the garden and was duly forgotten about as there was other things to get on, sometimes I would spot and think I must do something with it and get it going again, the seasons came and went yesterday was the day I finally got round to doing something with it, my plan was clean it out re-site and order some new worms  and get it all up and running. Upon opening it up
I found a lovely worm compost and best of all it still had worms
the bottom basket
although being very wet was also compost and had worms, it was very wet because the tap underneath was turned off and the reservoir was full to the brim, so that was down to my neglect.
I re sited the stand and place the top basket on the bottom, tipped the bottom one out into a container and took out as many worms as I could find in it to give the wormery a fighting chance
I took out 3 large handfuls of worms added them to the empty basket that is now on top along with some cabbage leaves and few other bits.
It has now been sited behind the shed and is once again up and going, there are two more baskets yet to be added as and when they are needed, the compost I have taken I am going to mix with sandy top soil I have left and use it for potting on some plants.
The idea behind getting the wormery was to reduce the amount of compost I buy in and the liquid taken off from the bottom was to be used as plant feed. I hope now to keep it running properly.

I mentioned cabbage there 

here is Sol guarding our first harvested cabbage.


  1. Dawn, I hate looking at worms, as a gardener I know their worth, but they look horrible, I can't pick them up, I always have to use a trowel to move them. We are going pick your own strawberries soon for jam, which I have not made for years, so please what is the setting temperature?

  2. I love jam making and strawberry is the best, good find on £1 strawberries.

  3. Feel a bit squeamish about having a wormery. Not sure why, but like other things I have done since becoming a smallholder, no doubt I would get used to managing one eventually. It's a good idea, especially because of not having to buy in compost. So, maybe......

  4. I always find jam takes longer to reach setting point than it says in any of the recipes I use. Strawberry jam is my absolute favourite - yours looks great.

  5. I love strawberry jam. I make a small batch with less sugar for hubby as he's diabetic. It's a little runnier but still tastes good.

  6. I finished our last jar of strawberry jam today - now no more until next season! I must be in the minority - I love worms. My son loves the feel of them and always wants to pick them up when we find them.
    Wonderful cabbage!

  7. Thanks for the reminder - I need to sort out my wormery also.. :)

  8. I better pull my socks up, I love strawberry jam, there is a pick your own strawberry field a few miles away, I will have a pootle up there tomorrow and have a look see. It is probably too soon yet but you never know your luck.

  9. Strawberry jam - scrumptious! I have always found it takes a lot longer to set, as does most soft fruit. The fastest set was th quince I made last year. I'm going to make damson this year with Mum's damsons :) I think I may have to invest in a wormery because I use a lot of bought compost.

  10. hello,
    i love jam making and strawberry jam love my family.
    have a nice week,

  11. I must pluck up the courage to make some jam. DH has done it previously - very hot pans and all that!

  12. Sol looks very proud of his cabbage!!! Strawberry jam is the best isn't it! You have lots of jars of yumminess to enjoy! xx

  13. Yum yum, strawberry jam. I don't think we'll have enough strawberries this year to make jam from, we really need to get a new bed set up. I might just visit a pick your own farm so that I can make some jam though.

  14. Hi Dawn the jam looks lovely.

    I have never found a recipe that sets in 4 minutes and it varies considerably from batch to batch as well. It must be very frustrating for new jam makers not knowing whether or not the jam had reached set. I always keep a lemon at the ready and as well as the set test on the saucer I use the flake test on the back of a spoon. I tend to crush the strawberries with a potato masher as well. I am hoping to go to the Grow Your Own farm up the road in a week or so. It would be something nice to do on a Sunday.

    We have had a wormery in the past (we have also had worm hunts on the lawn by torchlight). OH is a fisherman! He has just started going fishing again after a three year absence. I might suggest getting a wormery as it would help with the composting. Might be a little project for him. We have to arrange for a new shed in any event so might tack this on with that.

    By the way the cabbage looks fab. I love fresh cabbage finely shredded and steamed and when cooked a knob of butter run through. Its one of our favourite veggies.

    Take care



  15. I wonder if they give dodgy instructions on the jam sugar packets so you will have another go at jam making and dash out and buy some more of their sugar!!


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