G20 Processing food – jam making

Food SecurityFood Processing
  • When fruit is plentiful, some of it is often wasted. All kinds of soft fruit can be used to make jam if plenty of sugar is available. Use ripe soft fruit, chopped into small pieces – for example guava, mango, cape gooseberries and strawberries all make good jam. Try mixing them to give different flavours.
  • Jam is best kept in clean glass jars with lids. Jam will bubble up a lot as it boils, so a large pan is needed.
  • Don’t make large quantities until you have perfected the technique!


  • Why is it essential to practice very good hygiene for all processed foods – such as dried fruit, jam, chutneys or juices? What sort of care should be taken?
  • Do local people use jam? Would there be a good market for jam?
  • If possible, use a recipe book which will tell you exactly how much fruit, sugar and water to use for each different fruit.

For every two cups of chopped fruit, use just a 1 /2 cup of water (less if the fruit is very juicy like pineapple).

Cook the fruit in a large pan until very soft – usually about 15 to 20 minutes. Then add one cup of sugar for every cup of fruit. Stir well and allow to boil for 15 to 20 minutes until it will set. If there is a lot of froth, add a small spoon of butter or margarine.

Test for setting by dropping a small amount of jam onto a cool plate. After a few minutes push it with your finger. If it wrinkles and forms a skin, it is ready. If it does not, continue boiling and add some more sugar.

Pour the hot jam into very clean, dry glass jars, first wrapping each jar in a damp cloth to prevent cracking. Cover with a clean lid.

  • This recipe is just a guide. Generally, soft fruit needs a shorter cooking time and less water. It is better to use refined sugar. However unrefined sugar can be used for strong tasting fruits such as orange and lemon. Citrus fruits need longer cooking. For every two cups of chopped citrus fruit add 1 /2 cup water and 1 1 /2 cups of sugar. Tie the citrus seeds into a piece of cotton and cook with the jam to improve setting.