Dig for Victory Monthly Guides

The Book - Now Available!

Jam & Jelly Making DfV 10

Jam Jelly Making

This dig for victory guide on jam and jelly making gives good basic information on the subject. It’s a guide that you would have expected from the Ministry of Food but they were a little slow to get going on the advice front. Once Lord Woolton took over as Minister of Food  from W S Morrison in April 1940, the Ministry of Food quickly caught up.

Originally this was a 2 page, 4 side leaflet but it fits well onto one web page.




A GOOD jam must keep well, and should be clear and bright in colour, with a pleasant, fruity flavour, well set but not too stiff.


The fruit must be fresh, and is best just ripe. Jam made from over-ripe fruit may not set well.

Most fruits, and some vegetables, can be made into jam, but some contain more pectin and acid than others, and jams made from these set more readily.

Fruits of high setting quality include cooking apples, black and red currants, damsons and gooseberries.

Those of medium setting quality include apricots, blackberries, loganberries, plums and
greengages, and raspberries.

Fruits of poor setting quality include cherries, pears, marrows and strawberries. The addition to these of lemon, red currant or gooseberry juice, or of citric or tartaric acid is often necessary.

Preliminary Cooking

Most fruits require simmering to soften the tissues before boiling with the sugar. Sufficient water should be added to prevent burning, the quantity needed depending on the ripeness and juiciness of the fruit.

For instance, raspberries, blackberries and rhubarb will not require more than about | teacupful to 6 lb. fruit; plums need about ½ pint to 4 lb. fruit; and black currants 3 pints to 4 lb. Fruit.

Cooking should continue until the skins are tender, the time required being anything up to ¾ hour for firm fruits.


The usual allowance of sugar per pound of fruit is : —

  • Fruits of high setting quality ……… 1¼ lb.
  • Fruits of medium setting quality….. 1 lb.
  • Fruits of poor setting quality….. ¾ lb.

Owing to limitation in supplies of sugar, it may be necessary to cut down the amount used for jam, and jams from all fruits can be made using only ¾ lb. sugar to 1 lb. fruit. Unless this jam is stored under the best conditions, it may not keep well, but it is excellent for immediate consumption.

Whenever possible, two batches of jam should be made, one for keeping (using the full amount of sugar), and one for quick use.

The sugar is stirred into the softened fruit until dissolved, and the jam is then boiled rapidly until the setting-point is reached.

Test for Setting-point

A little of the jam should be put on a plate ; if setting-point has been reached, the jam will wrinkle when pushed with the finger.

Another method is to take some jam on a clean wooden spoon, allow it to cool a little, and then let it drip from the edge : if setting-point has been reached, the drops will run together and break away in flakes.

Testing for setting-point should begin after about 10 minutes of rapid boiling. Over boiling darkens the colour and spoils the flavour and may give a runny jam. Under boiling may cause fermentation of the jam in store.


When the boiling is finished, the pan should be taken from the fire, and the scum removed after the bubbles have subsided. After a few minutes, the hot jam should be stirred and then poured into clean, dry, warm jars, filling them just short of overflowing.

Waxed paper discs should be pressed over the surface at once. The covers may be put on either immediately or left until the jam is cold.

Covers recommended are either parchment or cellophane for jars with the full amounts of sugar, and synthetic skin for those with less sugar than usual.

Jams should be labelled, dated and stored away from the light in a dry, airy store.

Typical Recipes

Fruits of high setting quality, e.g., Black Currant:

  • 4 lb. fruit
  • 3 pints water
  • 5 Ib. sugar

Remove the stems and simmer the fruit with the water for 45 minutes. Add the sugar, stir until it is dissolved and boil rapidly until setting-point is reached.

Fruits of medium setting quality, e.g., Raspberry :

  • 6 lb. fruit
  • 6 lb. Sugar

Heat the fruit in the pan until the juice begins to flow. Add the sugar, stir until it is dissolved and boil rapidly until setting-point is reached.

Fruits of poor setting quality, e.g., Strawberry:

  • 4 lb. fruit
  • 3½ lb. Sugar
  • plus either 2 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice, I teaspoonful citric or tartaric acid, or ¼ pint of red currant or gooseberry juice.

Plug the strawberries and simmer them with the fruit juice or acid until the juice begins to flow. Add the sugar, stir until it has dissolved and boil rapidly until setting-point is reached.

Important Details of Jam Making

  1. The fruit should be fresh and firm-ripe. Over-ripe fruit should not be used.
  2. Simmer the fruit gently with a little water to soften the tissues before sugar is added.
  3. After the sugar has been added, the jam should be boiled rapidly until setting-point is reached.
  4. Remove the scum only when boiling is finished. Constant skimming is wasteful and unnecessary.
  5. To prevent fruit rising in the jars, the jam should be allowed to cool slightly in the pan, then stirred before filling into jars.
  6. Pour into clean, dry, worm jars, filling just short of overflowing. Put on waxed discs while hot, and press down over the surface.


Fruit jelly should be clear, bright in colour, well set but not too stiff, and with a good fruity flavour.


Most fruits of high or medium setting quality will make good jellies, the most suitable being apples (cooking and crab), blackberries, black and red currants, gooseberries, loganberries, medlars and quinces.

The fruit should be fresh and sound and slightly under-ripe. Jelly made from over-ripe fruit does not set well.

Extracting the Juice

The fruit should be rinsed, diseased( portions removed, and large fruits cut up. It is unnecessary to remove stems, peel or cores.

The fruit should be simmered with a little water until it is quite soft, which usually takes ¾-1 hour. Juicy fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries, only require about 1 pint water to 4 lb. fruit, but hard fruits, such as black currants and apples, need sufficient to cover the fruit in the pan. The cooked fruit is then strained through a jelly-bag or cloth and left to drip overnight.

A second extraction of juice can be made from fruits of high getting quality, simmered in the same manner with about half the amount of water previously added.


Satisfactory jellies can be made from fruits of high or medium setting quality by using ¾ lb. sugar to 1 pint juice.

For long-keeping jelly, 1 lb. sugar to 1 pint juice is recommended if the fruit used is of high setting quality. If the juice is weak, better results are obtained by boiling it down before adding the sugar.

The strained juice is put in a preserving pan and brought to the boil. The sugar is then added, and when it has dissolved the jelly is boiled rapidly without further stirring until setting-point is reached. This is tested in the same way as for jams, but should be started earlier, as the setting-point is reached more quickly.

Finish, cover and store in the same way as jams.

Typical Recipe

  • 6 lb. apples
  • 3 pints water
  • Sugar (1 lb. to 1 pint juice)
  • Cloves or root ginger (if desired)

Wash and cut up the fruit, removing any bad portions. Just cover with water and simmer for an hour. Add the spices, if desired, while cooking. Strain the fruit and measure the juice. Add the required amount of sugar and boil until setting-point is reached.

Note. A fuller account of methods of preservation is given in Preserves from the Garden (“Growmore” Bulletin No. 3), price 4d., by post 5d., obtainable through a bookseller or from H.M. Stationery Office.

Issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries Hotel Lindum—St. Annes-on–Sea—Lancashire

March 1941