I made my own jam once. And once was enough. Never again. Jam making is not for me.
I thought that making jam was an inspired idea. The jam was going to be a thoughtful, personal, tasty gift to share with my loved ones. It would be easy and cheap to make. Everybody would love it. They’d be making requests for my jam for years to come.
A jammy disaster
However, the results didn’t look as wonderful as the pretty Pinterest images that I’d fawned over and I’ve now vowed never to make my own jam again. So if you’re currently researching ‘homemade Christmas gifts’ or ‘thoughtful presents to make’, then listen up: you might find that the process isn’t as straightforward as you’d expected.
I don’t grow my own fruit
I don’t own a raspberry tree. Or a gooseberry bush. Or an apple tree. So where was I going to source the fruit from?
I couldn’t think of anywhere that I could forage for fruit and I knew that fruit picking at my local farm would prove expensive for the quantities that I needed. So in the end, I’m ashamed to admit that I bought my fruit from the supermarket. Fresh fruit. Frozen fruit. A mixture of both.
I don’t know what I was thinking really. I mean, if you have a raspberry tree in your garden, then yeah, I suppose it makes sense to make some jam with the surplus. But I don’t, so I’m not sure why I thought this would be a good idea.
It’s not just fruit costs that you need to factor in. You’ll also need the following items:
- Sugar. Heaps of sugar. A disgusting amount of sugar
- Jars. And lots of them
- A strainer
- A thermometer
- A funnel
- Jam seals
- Rubber bands
- Gingham covers (your jam needs to look pretty and homemade)
Now you may have some of these items already. You may have thought ahead and have a collection of glass jars waiting to be filled. But you may not, which means that you have to factor all these extra costs into the jam-making process.
You can buy it for cheaper
As I like to track the cost of my homemade projects, I know the exact cost of my jam-making endeavours. It cost me £24.63 to make twelve jars. So each jar cost me around £2.05 to make. And that was with me keeping costs down.
I can honestly say that I’ve had raspberry jam from Sainsbury’s that tastes just as nice. And at 80p per jar, it’s considerably cheaper. You can also buy homemade jam on Etsy and those sellers make it better than I ever could.
It was messy and laborious
The jam-making process takes time, it’s messy and you’ll end up with lots of washing up.
I had to sterilise my jars, make the jam, get the jam into the jars, create labels, store it and gift wrap it.
The initial process took me the best part of an afternoon and it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable process, so I won’t be jam making again. If an activity doesn’t bring you joy, then what’s the point?
It wasn’t anything special
As I used any old fruit in my jam and I went off a basic recipe, so it might not surprise you to learn that it didn’t taste amazing. It was average at best. Nobody told me it was particularly special or tasty, because it wasn’t. I always thought that homemade was better, but not on this occasion.
Is it worth it?
I think I’ve already answered this question. In my opinion, making jam isn’t worth it. At all.
Perhaps you make your own already and you enjoy it. In which case, I’m happy for you.
If you grow your own fruit and you have surplus that needs using up, then perhaps it’s worth trying. But if, like me, you lack a strawberry bush and you’re looking for a thrifty, tasty gift to make, then don’t waste your time.
In this instance, the reality did not live up to the Pinterest vision.