Take barberries that are perfectly ripe. Pick them from the stems; and to each quart of berries, allow three-quarters of a pound of clean rich brown sugar. Mash the barberries, and put them with all their juice into a preserving-kettle, mixing with them the sugar, and stirring it well in. Boil and skim till the scum ceases to rise, and the jam has become a thick mass, which it will not be in less than an hour Put it warm into stone or glass jars. Cover them immediately and paste down paper over their tops. It is a cheap and good sweetmeat for family use, either on the tea-table or in tarts.
Barberries in bunches may be put loosely into jars, and sufficient cold molasses poured in to fill up the vessels, which must be kept tightly covered. Frost grapes, also, can be kept in this homely manner.
Fill a stone jar with fine ripe damsons that have been washed in cold water but not dried. Cover it, set it in an open kettle with water which must not quite reach the neck of the jar, and place it over a hot fire. Let the water boil round the jar, till the stones of the damsons are all loose, and falling out from the pulp. Then transfer the damsons and their juice, to a broad pan, and carefully pick out all the stones. Next mash the pulp with a broad flat wooden ladle, or with a potatoe-masher, till it is all smooth and of an even consistence throughout. Then measure it; and to every quart of the pulp allow a pound and a half, or three large closely-packed pints of the best brown sugar. Stir the sugar and pulp well together, till it becomes a thick jam. Put the jam into a clean preserving-kettle, and boil it slowly an hour or more, skimming it well. When done, put it into broad flat stone jars, pressing it down, and smoothing the surface with the back of a large spoon. Cover the jars closely, and put them away in a cool dry place. If more convenient, you can put the jam into tumblers, pasting thick white paper closely over each.
IT properly made it will be so firm that you may cut it down in slices like cheese.
Plum jam may be made as above; but damsons are better for this purpose, and also for jelly, as the juice is much thicker and richer than that of plums.
It is an old-fashioned error to use unripe fruit for any sort of sweet-meat. When the fruit is thoroughly ripe it has more flavour, is far more wholesome, and keeps better.