In a Jam

Very occasionally, Hairy Farmer Wifey does Farmer Wifey type-things. The regional agricultural show has rolled round again, and it is time to Strut My Domestic Stuff. I missed out on my sheaf of red rosettes last year due to child being unable to read the post-it note in my knickers reading Stay In, You Daft Bugger. 

The spirit of competition is generally alive and well in Maison Hairy – Hubby never forgets he is a younger twin, with everything to prove. And there’s always a frisson of fear and excitement when you take on the local mafia. I haven’t made jam for a year or two, so I thought I would limber up beforehand with some plums my MIL had scrumped and despatched to me, with her compliments.

Method as follows:

Wait for child to nap. Poorly child refuses to nap. Eventually select non-mouldy plums from their squishy friends and wash listlessly.  

Feel sorry for self and sore throat. Divide and extract stones. Reach 5lb and stop, because you have run out of saucepan room. Ring Hubby and instruct to borrow MIL’s jam kettle. Grind to halt for next 8 hours.

After protracted 2 hour screaming bedtime with miserable child, return to kitchen and chuck plums into jam kettle. Place on low heat and wander off absent-mindedly to read blogs.

15 minutes later. Curse. Scurry back in a panic and add 1.25 pints of water. Prod with wooden spoon. Return to blogs.

After 10 minutes, lose patience with stubborn large chunks of plum and lob the blender in. Press button. Entirely fail to avoid hot splashes. Curse. Prod with wooden spoon and pronounce sufficiently simmered. Add 5lbs of sugar. Attempt to open cupboard in order to return remaining 12oz in the bag to storage. Trip over child’s trike. Curse. Kick trike in temper. Curse loudly.


Whinge about foot. Can no longer be bothered to open cupboard. Chuck extra 12oz of sugar into jam.

Complain to Hubby that his expensive Nikon not bloody working again. Hubby takes photo successfully. Is smug. Meh.

Dissolve sugar. Crank heat up and watch jam reach rolling boil. Wrest camera from Hubby and take picture of luscious dark bubbles.

Watch bubbles in mesmerised fashion. Spoons off plum scum. Yum yum. Realise have forgotten to add knob of butter before turning up heat. Curse. Add it anyway. Hubby wanders in to observe spottling nuclear reactor core that is jam kettle. Suggests that naked jam-making would be exciting adrenaline sport. Appears dejected when no clothes are removed. Departs again.

Remove spoonful of bubbling jam from reactor core, at great personal risk, and add to chilled plate. Scrutinise intently whilst prodding with finger. Repeat until jam is wrinkly and fingertip blisters. Curse.

Hubby responds to innate mysterious inner voice telling him that something is approaching edibility, and hovers. Takes photo. (Does not notice that jam has unfortunately made its sticky way onto his Nikon. Does not, in consequence, lose mind.)

Ladle jam into clean, dry, sterilised rinsed jars. Lost the lid-closer-contraption off one jar. Curse.

Stand back proudly to observe jars of glistening sticky liquid. Tastes residue in kettle with one finger. Gums recede back from teeth as sickeningly excessive sugar level registers. Curse.

Vow to buy Hartley’s in future.

9 Responses

  1. Oh my goodness. That was very very funny. You cook like I do- like it’s a particularly hazardous contact sport!



  2. I love all the pictures! That was fun and I felt like I was there watching you make plummy jam and cursing. My husband would have been right there with yours saying I oughta cook naked (he suggested that when I was making bacon this weekend-can you imagine??).

    I hope you don’t give up, seems like you know what you’re doing and I’d love to see you win a big ole trophy for best jam or something. 🙂

  3. Sounds like my Mum making something.

    Mum’s Method for making Lemon Meringue Pies
    -buy premade pies that need baking
    -bake pies
    -drop one pie on floor
    -encourage dog to eat floorpie in an attempt to avoid cleaning it up

    Still, you DO seem to know what you’re doing, so I hope the next batch goes much more smoothly although decidedly less sweetly (on the jam’s end anyway).

  4. Bless you. I cannot even endeavour to make a couscous salad for my lunch every day, let alone bloody jam. All this with a sick kid? Seriously? You just may be my hero.

  5. Ooooh I LOVE homemade jam… good luck taking on the local mafia!

  6. I’ve recently found your blog and have to tell you I have a hard time not peeing a little with laughter. Damn baby induced incontinence.

    The cursing, blog reading, forgetting, cursing some more, tripping over toys, husband asking you to cook naked … we could be twins. If we were related and came from the same mother. And were born at the same time.

    I can hardly believe there is another soul in this world who cooks like me. We must never, ever be together in a kitchen. Ever.

  7. Just come over from Pru’s blog – I’m always happy to find another Brit blogging!

    The jam saga sounds a lot like my scone making the other day, in which 12 egg yolks were substituted for 2 eggs. They were VERY yellow, but fortunately tasted okay, as they were later eaten at my little sisters’ 21st birthday party.

  8. I’ve also giggled along with your plum jammy adventure as it reminded me of why I gave up jam making when I had small people hanging around underfoot. They are now very large people hanging around underfoot so this year I gave the jam making a bit of a go again. Results? The apricot was a stunning success and I remembered why strawberry is a crap idea when (a) it boiled over three times in as many minutes (b) leaving sticky glue like mess on my hotplates requiring industrial strength cleaning material to remove and (c) refused to set for what seemed like seventeen thousand hours of boiling.

    So well done on the beautiful jars of jam and I’ll start the bidding off with a first prize rosette all the way from Australia.

  9. Can I interest you in a swap of one jar of runny strawberry for a jar of plum?

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