Frugal Grandma’s Jam Explosion

Miss Thrifty12 March 30, 2012

jam explosion I’ve just spent a week down in Essex, introducing Thrifty Baby to the massed ranks of his nearest and dearest.

We spent a couple of days staying with Frugal Grandma and Grandad. They may be in their eighties, but they are pretty good with technology – and mad keen to press it into use when it can save money. There are solar panels on the roof and Frugal Grandma regularly skypes me from her laptop to see for herself what Thrifty Baby is up to. (There hasn’t been a baby in the family for 20 years; I should probably stop calling him Thrifty Baby and start calling him The Worshipped.)

At the same time, as long time readers will know, Frugal Grandma remains a devotee of the old school thrifty ways. Very little goes to waste and one example of this is her fabled jam cupboard. I have mentioned this before: it is an old kitchen cupboard that my Grandad has fixed up in the garage. The shelves inside are stacked high with jars of glinting jams and jellies. The jars have all been saved and pressed into service time and time again; much of the fruit for the jam comes from her garden, her friends’ gardens and the brambles that dot the sides of the local lanes and highways. Frugal Grandma makes a lot of jam.

Every time I see her, I leave with a couple of jars. Recently though, I’ve been gobbling jam like it’s nobody’s business, as keeping Thrifty Baby fed means that I am eating far more than usual. (What this is doing to our grocery budget is the subject for another post…) The other week the unthinkable happened: we actually ran out of Frugal Grandma jam and actually had to go and buy some. The horror!

As it turned out, a crisis of a different kind had taken place at Frugal Grandma’s at the same time. Her giant freezer had broken down. The food inside was thawing, fast – and it included a lot of fruit that she had frozen with the aim of turning it into jam at a later date. So the kitchen became an impromptu jam factory, with saved jars hurriedly retrieved and all the heavy-bottomed saucepans pressed into service.

The result? A jam cupboard filled to bursting. Frugal Grandma was very concerned that I had actually been out and bought jam, so this time I came away with a box of jars of different flavours, some of which are pictured above. They are delicious. Greengage, blackberry and apple, marmalade, plum… But my favourite is the mysteriously labelled “Raspand”. This is FG shorthand for raspberry and… In this case, the stands for all the bits and bobs that came out of the freezer, from blackberries to plums and gooseberries.

The marmalade, in case you were wondering, is often made by Frugal Grandma from the tiny oranges that grow on an ornamental plant in her conservatory. They are horribly sour when fresh (yes, I have tried them), but make delicious marm.

Thank you Gramps! Hopefully there’s enough here to keep me going for a while…

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12 Responses to “Frugal Grandma’s Jam Explosion

Yum! Lucky you. I had a dabble at jam making for the first time last year – I was given a huge bag of damsons from my neighbour’s garden. First attempt a resounding success. Then I got ahead of myself and attempted Hedgerow Jelly. Well the syrup I ended up with tasted lovely poured over porridge anway…

March 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Jill Wilson says:

I’ve had fantastic success with a Tefal jam maker. it only makes three jars at a time but it’s fairly foolproof and not such hot and steamy work as traditional jam making. you can buy from Lakeland but they occasionally come up on ebay. if you like to make your own it’s a good investment.

March 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Lulu says:

Just tried to comment, but not sure it worked!

Just found your blog-it is great!
So well written and fab content:)

Will definitely be a regular readaer in the future!

Lulu x

April 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Pizimac says:

There’s a tefal jam maker?? cool! I had good success with Rosehip jam, the fruits are a little bit fiddly, but less well-known than blackberries – so less competition come late Autumn 😉 Apparently it’s very high in vitamin C too! And it makes a great gift, everyone is happy to receive real jam as a gift 🙂

April 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

@Prudence – What a shame; hedgerow jam sounds delicious!

@Jill & @Pizimac – Yes, I too am intrigued by this Tefal jam maker. It sounds like the jammy equivalent of my slow cooker, i.e. not labour intensive! Will keep my eyes peeled on eBay.

@Lulu – Thank you!

@Pizimac again – rosehip jam sounds good. I may have a go come the autumn. (Or take the shortcut and ask Frugal Grandma if she is planning on making any… 😉 )

April 16, 2012 at 7:33 am

Pizimac says:

At that time i also tried to make elderberry jam, but the fruits didnt have enough pectin in it and so came out more like a syrup. But the rosehips set very well with just regular sugar a regular pot and regular boiling.

April 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I must have made over 50 jars of jam last year and today I opened the last one for the childrens breakfast. You are very lucky to have a jam factory of your very own. I love the way that you can taste summer every winters morning and know it is not costing the earth. more recipes please, plum?

May 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Pizimac says:

I just made (and posted about) some very easy rhubarb and ginger jam, hope you try it!

May 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

Jordan Ellis says:

When I was young the ornamental orange tree fruits were the ‘dare’ of the street, I think I managed three once! Far more sour than a lemon!

September 5, 2012 at 10:15 am

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