how to put together a jam making kit

What You Need In a Jam Making Kit [ Equipment List, Reviews + More]

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Finding the best way to store and preserve the harvest from your vegetable and fruit garden will ensure that you keep enjoying it throughout the year.  You don’t need a huge amount of equipment to preserve your produce, but it’s worth doing a little research to make sure you get the right equipment for making preserves and jams.  Here’s our guide on putting together the best jam making kit, which of course, is also our preserving kit!

A jam making kit aka a chutney making kit will let you make chutney from your courgettes or jelly or jam from the blackberries that you’ve foraged from walks through the woods.  Getting great results when you’re preserving takes a little practice (and I’d advise not starting at 9 at night based on experience) and the right preserving equipment need to make jam.

We’ve also included our favourite preserve and jam recipe books in here because you’ll definitely want to experiment with different recipes once you get the hang of it!

Here’s what makes up the best Chutney Making Kit /  Jam Making Kit UK equipment

Equipment NameWhat It Looks LikeBuy Now!
Maslin PanCheck prices and buy now
Wooden Jam SpoonBuy the BEST wooden Jam Spoon
Jam ThermometerBest Jam Thermometer buy now
Jam FunnelFind prices and buy now
Digital Weighing ScalesBuy the best digital weighing scales here
Measuring JugThe best measuring jug
Glass Jar LiftersBuy these life savers!
Jam Jars and LidsCheck options and buy here

 Jam Making Equipment and Preserving Terminology

Preserving

The canning or making into jellies, jams is known as preserving.  Preserving also includes the pickling and canning of fruits and vegetables to increase the time that you can safely consume them.

The definition of jams, jellies, relishes and chutney’s differs fundamentally between countries and the terms are often used interchangeably.

What is a Relish?

A relish is a product that is cooked and pickled and made of chopped fruits, herbs or vegetables.  It is typically used as a condiment to enhance another food.

What is a Chutney?

A chutney is a savoury condiment.  It is made from vegetables or fruits (or both) that have been slowly cooked with spices and vinegar.  Chutneys were originally from India and are an excellent way of preserving fruit and vegetables for long-term use.  Each country and region have their own specific chutneys.  Indian chutneys today incorporate a wide variety of ingredients – mango, tamarind mint and coconut to name a few.  British chutneys tend to use apples.  We often refer to chutney as a pickle in the UK.

Jam

Jam is a spread that’s made from fruit and sugar.  It sometimes has pectin added to help it set.

Jelly

Jelly tends to be made from fruit juice and sugar.  It often contains pectin to help it thicken.  Jelly is usually strained through muslin to remove solids.

Maslin Pan

A maslin pan often called a jam pan is a solid, heavy pan with a thick bottom.  It has a handle, a handle bail and a pouring spout to help you get the hot preserve or jam into a jar.  Maslin pans were first used in Europe and were originally made of copper.   Today’s maslin pans are made of stainless steel, which is lighter and content tend not to stick as much.  Maslin pans have internal and external measurements.  Modern maslin pans are compatible with all heat sources, including induction hobs.

Why is it called a Maslin Pan?

Originally the Maslin pan wasn’t just used for making jams and chutneys, but for pretty much anything.  It was used for combining all the ingredients for a big family meal – the term Maslin means “mixture” and the pan was used for mixtures.  Easy eh?  And in answer to the question do I need a preserving pan to make jam?  Not necessarily, but you WILL need a big pan, it WILL be easier if you have a pour spout on it, and if you have a pan that is easy to clean you’ll save yourself hours!

Jam Thermometer

A jam thermometer, also known as a sugar thermometer is a specific cooking thermometer.  A jam thermometer is used to measure the temperature and thus the stage of a jam or preserve.  The setting point of jam, for instance, is 105 degrees centigrade, and so it’s important to know exactly when you get to this temperature.

Preserving Kit Essentials

The essential jam making equipment is very simple.   I’m using the terms jam and preserve interchangeably here, as to be honest, I’m not really a jam type of person, but I seriously love savoury relishes and chutneys.  So I call my equipment preserving equipment, but really it’s just the same as a jam making set or preserve kit.  Here’s the essential jam making equipment UK list for any kitchen

Many places offer much of this as a jam kit and they’re usually a really good deal, so we’ve shared details of some of the best jam making kits if we were buying them again, but also, if we were replacing individual items, the best individual pieces of a preserving kit.  This will help you if you want to pt together a make your own jam kit.

What Can you Do with a Jam Making Kit?

Well for a start you can make jam!  And chutneys and relishes.  And then I end up using my jam making wooden spoon for everything else that I cook too.  Don’t you always end up with a favourite wooden spoon?  Or is that just me?  My first maslin pan was a revelation.  I’d thought that I could manage my chutney making efforts with a big old tin pan that I’d bought years ago, but it was just too tall, and not wide enough. And I made a huge amount of mess.  My life changed with the maslin pan.

Is no secret that in our first year of growing fruit and veg – when we picked the easiest veg to grow, we grew WAY WAY WAY too many courgettes and tomatoes. We’re  but more controlled now.

A jam making kit lets you preserve soft fruit and vegetables that might otherwise not last very long.  It’s a great way of extending the lifetime of what you grow in the garden.  We’ve made piccalilli, chutneys, jams, relishes both for ourselves and also as gifts.  Home-made jams and relishes are awesome gifts for family and friends.

Why Do You Need a Jam Making Kit

It’s not that you need to buy a specific jam making kit, it’s just that you need some essential pieces of equipment in order to preserve your fruits and vegetables.  Many preserve specialists put together fabulous offers on a collection of pieces of preserving equipment, that, to be honest, are REALLY good deals, and so it’s worth taking a look at these kits because they can save you a lot of money.

What do you need in a Jam Making Kit

Here’s what makes up a jam and preserve making kit with an explanation of what each piece of equipment is and what you use it for.  Of course, it’s easy to buy these individually as well as part of a kit.  We’ve found its easy to make your own jam making kit up from all the items you’ll find below.

A Maslin Pan  / Preserving Pan

As a general rule, most saucepans aren’t deep enough to cook jam or chutney without it either sticking or going everywhere.  Once we got a 9-litre maslin pan it was SO much better.

And this pan is awesome because it has both imperial and metric measurements on the inside and outside of it.  The handle is also essential for easy lifting!

A Jam Funnel

If you’ve ever tried to pour scalding hot liquid from a large container into a small one you’ll know that this is an essential piece of jam making and preserving kit.


First of all, it’s going to stop all the dribbles down the outside of your jars.  Secondly, it’s going to minimize the risk of handling burning hot chutney or jam.

Digital Weighing Scales

A set of digital weighing scales will help you ensure that you have the exact ingredients for the chutney, relish or jam that you’re going to make.

Glass Jars for Chutney, Jam

At the beginning of our preserving odyssey, we started collecting jars.  We had clean and empty salsa jars, jars from curry sauces and all sorts.  They all were weird and wonderful sizes and it didn’t bother us one little bit.  However, when it came to making chutney and jam as gifts for the family for Christmas, we decided to splash out and buy some jars, we designed some jam jar labels and surprised everyone with our almost professional-looking homemade gifts!    We decided to print out chutney jar labels, but you can easily get write on ones.

A Glass Jar Lifter

This for me was essential. I tried without it, by using a tea towel, but ended up making a mess and burning myself, this really is one of the most useful pieces of preserving equipment.  We also use it when pickling beetroot.

A Wooden Spoon

Many chutneys and jams need rapid boiling.  A wooden spoon is a must, as they don’t transfer heat and they don’t scratch or scrape the bottom of the pan.  I love wooden spoons and ladles so much more than plastic or metals ones.

You’ll want a spoon with a flat edge, to get right into the edges of the pan and extra out every little bit of jammy, gooey, preserved goodness.

A Jam Thermometer

A jam thermometer usually stays inside your maslin pan during the entire process, so you can test the specific temperatures that some recipes have.  The setting point of jam, for instance, is 105 degrees centigrade.  You can read some of the best jam thermometer reviews here.

Jam, Preserve and Chutney Recipe Books

The right recipes for your fruit and vegetables are essential, especially when you’re getting started.  We’ve included our favourite recipe books for chutney and jam here, as well as what we think its the best jam recipe book.

Whilst we’re talking about books – our guide to the best vegetable gardening books can be found here.

Jam Making Courses

If you want to learn from the experts, in either hands-on jam making course, or take part in an in-person chutnry making class – or even take an on-line jam making course, then here are our recommendations:

Final Words on Jam Making Kits

If there is anything more satisfying than growing your own fruit and vegetables it’s making something with them.  That may be a recipe that incorporates what you’ve grown in the garden but for me its also the making of relishes, chutneys and jams.  Getting your own jam kits together means that you can do this more easily.  This means that the produce from the garden can have its useful life extended.  Enjoying a homemade chutney months later, or giving it to family and friends as a Christmas gift is immensely fulfilling – and they’ll love it too!  (it’s one of our 14 simple tips on how to save money with your veggie garden) So what are you waiting for?  Let’s get preserving!

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