Making jam at home is a fantastic hobby. It it healthy, environmentally friendly, fun for the kids, you know what is in your food and ingredients are available almost all year round. Jam containing fruits high in pectin, such as apples, will set easily. Not all fruits contain enough pectin and your jam may not set without a little help. That is where "pectin stock" is useful; its a liquid rich in pectin that you add to the jam to bolster its pectin levels and ensure that it sets well.

Things You Will Need

Cooking apples, crab apples, gooseberries or red currants.
Jelly bag
Sauce pan
Big bowl

Step 1

Roughly cut up the fruit, but don't peel or core it. The core and skin are both rich in pectin so they need to go into your stock. If you are using soft fruits such as red currants, place them in a big bowl and crush the fruits with the back of a spoon or the end of a rolling pin.

Step 2

Place all the fruit into the pan, with around three quarters of a pint of water for every two pounds of fruit. Place on a stove and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally and continue to cook until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Allow the fruit to cool to body temperature. The exact temperature isn't too critical, but you want it cool enough that it will not burn you if you splash it onto your skin.

Step 3

Place the jelly bag in the large bowl and pour the contents of the pan into the bag - liquid, lumps and all. Raise the bag above the bowl so you can see the liquid dripping from it. Leave it until it stops dripping, but don't squeeze the bag to get more juice.
Set the juice to one side. Return the fruit to the pan and cook it again with half the original amount of water. Simmer for about an hour and then strain the mixture through the jelly bag once again. Add the new juice to the juice you collected earlier and store it somewhere cool. It may be frozen for later use, or used during the next week if stored in the fridge. To use the stock, add about 5 fluid ounces (150ml) of the stock to every 4lbs (2kg) of low pectin jam to ensure a good set.

Tips & Warnings

Freeze the cores and skins of apples used in other cooking projects until you have enough to make stock for free.

There are good collections of free jam recipes available online.