Varenye is Russian-style liquid jam with fragrant syrup and pieces of berries and/or fruits. For preparing this kind of varenye one boils berries (fruits) only for 6 minutes. This helps to preserve as more vitamins as possible. There’s also 5-minute jam that is very popular in Russia and the CIS, which is quicker (one boils berries only once, but for 5 min.), but also 5-minute jam is more liquid than this one.
The recipe is very easy, even for those who never dealt with preservation (like me). If you have bought fragrant fruits but they appeared to be unripe or you have too much berries and you aren’t able to eat them in time – 6-minutes jam is the best option that you can choose.
This recipe suits all berries and juicy fruits. I’ve tried to cook 6-minute jam using peaches/nectarines, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, lingonberry and kiwi fruit. I’m not sure about apples – I still didn’t try to cook apple jam this way. Apples contain pectin that works as a thickener, so I can’t predict what result you will receive.
- 1 kg of berries and/or fruit/s
- 500 g of sugar (for raspberry, blueberry, peaches and kiwi, sour berries/fruits may require more sugar, just taste it)
1. If I bring berries from a forest and they are clean enough – I don’t wash them. This type of jam is liquid – the more water will be there, the more fluid jam will be. If you use fruit – remove seeds and dice it (~0,5 cm thick cubes). If you make cherry jam, remember to remove seeds – because they contain poisonous hydrocyanic acid.
2. Put fruit/berries in a pot and top them with a layer of sugar. Blueberries and lingonberries require to be a little bit pressed with a spoon. Leave pot for 2 hours.
3. Start bringing fruit/berries to a boil stirring at medium heat. Let fruit/berries boil for 2 min. and switch off. Leave the pot uncovered for an hour. Then cover it and leave jam for 5-10 hours (depending on your timetable – choose the most convenient time to continue process).
4. Taste jam – if you would like to add more sugar – do it now. And repeat step #3.
5. If you cook a lot of jam – prepare jars for preserving. (My method is in the end of recipe). If you cook only some jam – you can just put it a clean jar and put it in a fridge.
6. For the last time bring jam to boil and let it boil for 2 min. Remember to stir! Pour hot jam in jars for preservation. For fridge-storage the temperature of jam doesn’t matter.
Such liquid jam is perfect for any pancakes, f.e. for thin Russian pancakes:
Well, I like to simplify. I will share my method of preservation with you. It is easy but I’m not sure if this technique will work in countries with tropical climate. For my region it works – my jars still never got swollen caps. You will need:
- Glass jar with screw cap
- Kettle with boiling water
- Dry towel
- Thick newspaper or smth else to put hot jars on it
- Gloves with rubber layer on palms
1. I take only glass jars with screw-on lids, wash them well with cleanser and leave jars to dry. Usually they are stored in this condition on my shelf.
2. Right before filling up jars with jam, I put jars in the sink. Also I put their caps there upside down, so I’ll be able to fill’em with boiling water. Note: my sink is extremely clean. Fill jars and their caps with boiling water. Water should flow out of them for a while. Leave jars for ~5 min.
3. Take clean tongs (I use salad tongs) – jars are to hot to touch them and hands are not clean enough. Start with caps: with the help of tongs take them and carefully pour the water out. Put caps the same way like they were in sink on a towel (upside down).
Now take jars by glass wall and pour the water out. Avoid touching inner sides of jars (exception – clean tongs and jam). Don’t worry if there are some drops left in jars – boiled water won’t spoil anything.
4. Pour hot jam in a jar as much as it can fit there, but be careful and avoid overfilling – the edge of jar should stay clean. Put gloves on and close the jars. Rubber on palm-side of gloves will help you to make it as tight as possible. Avoid touching inner side of caps!
5. Put the jar upside down on a newspaper. When the jar will get cold turn it in the right position and check the middle of cap – it should be indrawn. Put the label on the jar (I write down the year of production and what jam is it) and put it on a shelf.
Note: If caps of jars became swollen – it’s better to throw preserves away as it can be a sign of botulism. Toxin can be dissolved by boiling >10 min., but spores remain.