Making Jam and Chutney at the Make LoungeSaturday, November 05, 2011
I figured that I can't possibly get married unless I can make jam like a proper Afrikaans House Wife. I'm not entirely where I got that from, especially considering that I'm neither Afrikaans nor a House Wife, but I suppose everybody's wedding anxiety manifests itself in different ways.
So, when I saw that the lovely folks at The Make Lounge were offering a jam and chutney class, I signed up. I've made cranberry jam before (delicious!) and sweet chilli jam (one of my favourite sweet/savoury combinations) but I wanted a bit more hands-on experience with some of the theory - like how to best sterilise jam jars if you plan on giving them to someone else.
The class was a good size - nine people - and was taught by Chloe Coker who was incredibly friendly and oh-so-charming with lots of info. The one thing that really stood out for me at this class is how thoughtful the organisers are: they arranged drinks, snacks and bread for tasting the jams. They gave everyone an apron, and provided loads of different fabrics to choose from as a part of the 'decorating' aspect of the class.
The class was three hours long, which is just enough time to make four very large pots of jam and chutney in industrial quantities so that we could each take home four little pots of our own. Just before bottling our jams we got to choose fabric for the top of our jars from about twenty or so different prints. We cut them in circles about an inch and a half bigger than our jam jar lids, secured them with elastic bands. We also chose coordinating ribbons to cover up the elastic bands, and pretty gingham printed labels so you can tell which jam is which (because no jam is complete without a gingham label, of course!).
As you can see from my (many) photos, we made Plum and Orange Jam (with cinnamon), Blackberry and Apple Jam, Caramelised Red Onion Chutney and Sweet Chilli Jam. I want to make rhubarb jam (yum) and pineapple and granadilla jam (which I really miss from home!) so I'll have to wait for the right fruit season. I really like the idea that you can make your own preserves and know exactly what has gone into them - I'm definitely going to knuckle down and make some when we get back from the wedding!