Deborah Ross: 'Making your own jam will save you having to go to the corner shop to buy it, which can take nearly two minutes'

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The Independent Online

If you ask me about making your own jam – it is "very back in fashion", according to a Sunday magazine – I will tell you that I've looked into it and have discovered that all you need are the following: jars, lids, thermometers, a funnel, a ladle (all sterilised), a preserving pan the size of a garage, oodles and oodles and oodles and oodles of fruit (with pith, stalks, leaves and pips removed) and something called "jam sugar" which isn't normal sugar, because it is jam sugar, and therefore the best sugar for jam.

As far as I can gather, you then have to do a huge amount of stirring at 105 degrees (the jam, I think, not you) while ensuring that no burning occurs (still the jam, not you) and while not wearing open-toed sandals (you, not the jam) in case of hot splashes. In the light of all this, I can certainly see why more and more people are thinking: "What a great idea, and it will save me having to go the corner shop to buy a jar, which can take nearly two minutes, and may cost me 75p. Why do that when I can splash about hotly while not wearing open-toed shoes?" Or: "I know! I'll give my homemade jam to friends, so they can shove it at the back of a cupboard and then never look me in the eye again. Why have I never thought of making my own jam before?"

According to the same article, even "the MTV generation are getting into the act", although when I asked someone from the MTV generation if this was so, all he would say was: "Go away. Get out my face. And don't ever come into my room again without knocking." Why? What might I find you doing in there? Making jam? "And shut the door behind you," is all he would add.

(Next week: How to put many hours and a great deal of effort into growing your own carrots when you could just get them from Tesco. The week after: How to bake your own bread because, what, Greggs isn't good enough for you, all of a sudden? And the week after that: Nope, can't do the week after that. I'll be too busy building my own power station. It won't be easy, but it's much more satisfying to make your own power, rather than just buy it in.)