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Saturday, 5 November 2016


This is a piece I wrote for the wonderful writing class I attended at All Hallows Farmhouse last month. It's about making jam with my grandma, who now enjoys jam made by someone else (aka me).


Do you remember the first time you had homemade jam? I can't. I grew up eating the raspberry jam that my grandma made every year. I remember the first time I made it myself. I was about 15 years old and had been sent up to Scarborough for a week with grandma before she became too forgetful. I insisted we make jam, even though raspberry season wasn't yet upon us.

With the sun streaming in though her big bay windows and the sea sparkling in the distance we slowly, painstakingly picked our way through the raspberries, removing any dirt and discarding those that were rotten. We weighed the ruby jewels before replicating their weight in sugar, which was placed in a warm oven and left to go golden. 

We fetched the large maslin pan, so heavy that both of us had to lift it together. The beautiful burnished copper interior perfectly designed to turn two such simple ingredients into a delight for the senses.

I tipped in the raspberries, squashing them gleefully, their juice spraying across my clothes. They were gently heated to release their sweet flavour before the sugar was shot in. My arm grew tired as I was left to stir. My reward was seeing the glossy wrinkle of the jam setting on the plate. An even better reward was being allowed to eat the just-set jam, sour lemon cutting through the sweetness of the fruit.

That was the last year my grandma made the jam herself. For 5 years we made do with a pale imitation, bought from the supermarket. Last year I discovered the old copper pan, glinting in the darkness of our cellar. We had lots of jam this year.


  1. thank heavens someone else in the family can now make jam! It missed a generation with me...

    1. You got lucky then that we didn't make you learn the recipe!


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