I remember foraging for rosehips in my Mum’s hippy phase (along with shaggy ink cap mushrooms, blackberries and all manner of hedgerow stuff with Richard Mabey’s “Food for Free” as our guide). My Mum made rosehip syrup to imbue us all with giant quantities of Vitamin C. It fermented so Mum added brandy to halt the fermentation process. Naturally she still made us drink it…which could explain a lot. I’ve never made the rosehip jam which is a store cupboard staple in Romania so I was super excited to be offered five litres of fresh rosehip paste to play with.
The fresh paste was way sweeter than I expected so I decided to add some lemons and lemon zest. I kind of followed my recipe for quince paste/ redcurrant jam where I add an equal amount of sugar to the fruit pulp or I make a 40:60 ratio. Here I combined 2.5kgs of fruit paste with 2kgs of sugar so in fact that’s roughly 45:55 ratio. It was easy to cook up and the colour is a lovely rusty red. Cant wait to use it in my Almond & Sherry Tart. A small tip: my grandmother always insisted that to make good jam you need to make small quantities and she was
right. Unless you have a classic copper jam pan you risk having a small surface area for rapid boiling and jam that is “too deep”. Then the jam doesn’t set fast and you also risk having a temperature differential between the top of the jam and the base so your jam burns. So like many things in life the best come in small packages.
Made approx 18 medium jars
2.5kgs rosehip paste
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Gadgets & Gizmos: Just your best quality saucepan with the thickest base possible and a sharp wooden palette to check the jam is not sticking.
Clean jars in the oven at 100C and lids soaked in bicarbonate of soda
- Combine the paste and the sugar and the lemon juice and either leave overnight for the sugar to dissolve or put on a low flame until the sugar is fully dissolved
- Place a few saucers in the freezer
- Put the jam on the highest flame until it achieves a “rolling boil”. This means that its really boiling fast and can spit extremely hot ham globules so really be careful
- After seven minutes do your first test with a small amount of jam on a frozen plate – does it stop “running”? does it wrinkle when you push it with a finger? If no boil a little longer until this point is reached, if yes switch off the flame
- Now add the lemon zest and stir through carefully
- Pour the jam into the hot jars and put the lids on as fast as you can. It pays to have a friend around. When you are sure the lids are on tight take a tea towel (in case you have a leak and boiling jam spills over your hands) and carefully and gently invert each jar and return to standing. This “inversion” sterilizes the air gap and is very important.
Leave to cool and enjoy the “popping” sound as the jar lids contract!