Totally Quackers Blog
1st December 2019
From Scratch………. Jam Making
Peach trees in bloom on the Granite Belt
Hello to you all and welcome to our blog
Where it all began………….
My love of making preserves began in my nana’s kitchen at Cundeltown NSW. Nana had a beautiful garden, full of vegetables, fruit trees and gorgeous flowers, it was her pride and joy. During the day nana also helped out picking peas and beans for local farmers, so on school holidays my sister Ruth and I would be taken along to help. Well I will tell you not much picking went on, because most of the time we played with the farmers kids, sitting under the willows eating the produce. After the day of work, Nana would pile us in the car with a box of farm fresh produce and off back home we would go. No rest for the wicked she would say and we were put to work, cutting up fruit & veggies for the preserving bottles, back then it was the old Vacola pot on the stove bubbling away.
Her pantry was laden with rows and rows of preserved peaches, plums, vegetables to enjoy for the remainder of the year. Have you tried home preserved peaches and ice cream as an after dinner treat, delicious. So I thank my Nana for my love of baking and making delicious jam, chutney, relish and marmalade. We at Quackers Pantry hope you love eating our preserves, as much as we love making them!!
Small Batch Preserves
Quackers Pantry small batch preserves began in January 2019. My husband and I own a B&B, Grovely House Bed and Breakfast in Stanthorpe Qld and I have been making preserves for our guest’s breakfasts during this time. I have been asked what is small batch preserving? The answer is making any preserve in a small quantity, this ensures a quicker cooking time and able to make more varieties for your family to enjoy. A highlight to the social calendar in Stanthorpe is the Agricultural show, held at the end of January each year. So in 2017 I entered with a couple of varieties and was the lucky 1st place winner for my Plum Jam. Woohoo to me!!!! We decided to expand the business and Quackers Pantry small batch preserves began. You may ask where the name Quackers came from, as a few of you know I am a tad obsessed with ducks, I have a collection of many in the B&B. So it was obvious to include ducks in my next venture right?
The Granite Belt
The Granite Belt has four distinctive seasons, my favourite is summer! Why you may ask? The stone fruit, berries, tomatoes and so much more fruit and vegetables of course. We locally source the produce, from our garden, a friend’s garden or direct from the farmers. The plums and apricots are from Eve’s Fresh Produce on Rabbit Fence Road Cottonvale, so fresh, full of flavour, just like they should taste! The strawberries are sourced from Ashbern Farms on West Road Stanthorpe; they are the best strawberries on the Granite Belt.
At Quackers Pantry we make preserves most days depending on the produce on hand. So at present we have an abundance of Strawberries from the farm. It is difficult not to taste test too many, but a few won’t hurt right? Have you made fresh fruit jam? Capture the summer delight in a jar for a loved one to enjoy at breakfast, spoon it on yoghurt, make jam drops; the world is your oyster as they say, so let’s get cracking! The process of making fresh fruit jam takes around 1 hour depending on your fruit of course and it is so easy! Believe me! You can make jam at home successfully by following a few basic factors. Jam consists of a few ingredients – Fruit, sugar, pectin to achieve the right texture, sweetness, colour and flavour.
Lets make some Jam
The strawberries should be a combination of under ripe and ripe fruit, never overripe or damaged fruit! Lemon juice is then added to give balance and pectin for a good set and lastly sugar. A great recipe is from All Recipes Simple Strawberry Jam is easy to make and one we have made. Our strawberry jam when cool is generally runnier than shop bought, as there are added setting agents in commercial products. The jar should be clean and have a good seal, label and date. Ready to eat, enjoy!!
Looking after your jam when it’s in the jar is so important, do everything you can to keep your jar clean. Don’t butter your bread and then dip the knife into the jar of jam, it will introduce contamination, causing mould to grow on your jam. Use a jam spoon to scoop the amount needed.
Jam making is a very satisfying part of our work day at Quackers Pantry small batch preserves. Our kitchen is a hive of activity – from chopping, weighing, cooking, tasting, testing, ladling and labelling. I love the way a box of Strawberries can be transformed into jars of such delight!
We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog on jam making and we are looking forward to our next get together in Quackers Pantry kitchen.
Cheers from Quackers 🦆🦆🦆
Faith and Stacy