Homemade Jams (strawberry, gooseberry, crab apple)

Location: Wolverhampton
Era: 1930s onwards

“My mum would always make jam and preserve fruit – bottle fruit. I particularly remember her raspberry jam. I make crab apple jelly now, maybe that recollection of childhood is something that impacts on your interests as an adult. My crab apple jelly involves taking the apples, boiling them and putting them through a muslin. It is quite a lengthy process as you don’t want to squeeze too much otherwise you get the pulp coming through. With the leftover pulp you can make crab apple cheese which is much coarser. If you get crab apple jelly right it is a beautiful translucent jelly and perfect with cheese. Foraging for crab apples is great fun.”

Vivien Small


  • 1lb of fruit
  • 1lb of granulated sugar

Prepare your jars by cleaning them well, drying thoroughly and then put them in a hot oven to sterilise.

Place the fruit and sugar in a large pan over a very low heat, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved.

Now bring the mixture to a fast hard boil for 3-5 minutes until the jam reaches setting point (it will thicken and start to boil more slowly).

Test setting point by spooning a little of the jam onto a cold saucer, then when cool, push it with your finger – it’s ready if it wrinkles.

Ladle it into the jars and firmly seal with sterilised lids.