Making jam is a really lovely way of using up fruit, and if you make it in small batches, it's super easy to do. The basic recipe for jam is much the same no matter what fruit you use, so start saving old jars, and you'll be ready to go at a moment's notice.
I've used Conference pears for this recipe, but use whatever you have piled up in your fruit bowl. The important thing is to to make the jam before the pears go too mushy because the levels of pectin in the fruit, which makes the jam set, start to drop as the fruit ripens.
The sugar will harden the fruit when it's added to the jam, so if you're using fruits like apples and pears, make sure they're cooked right down before you add the sugar.
Makes about three jars
2kg pears, peeled, chopped and cored
1kg granulated sugar
1 lemon, juiced
Heat the oven to 180C.
Put the pears and water into a large pan with the water, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the pears are very soft and the water has reduced by about a third.
Warm the sugar in the oven before adding it to the pears and stiring gently until it's completely disolved. Warming the sugar first speeds up this process.
Turn up the heat, and boil the pears rapidly for about eight minutes, then take the pan off the heat and check to see if the setting point has been reached. Keep checking every minute until the jam is ready then take the pan off the heat.
Sterilise your jam jars while the jam is resting, then pot up.