For this project, we will make strawberry jam. Keep in mind, though, that other similarly pulpy and juicy fruits can also be made into jam.
You will need a total of P2,508 to buy the ingredients for this project in bulk. If you just want to try out making jam, though, you need not buy the whole lot. For instance, you can simply buy 200g of citric acid for P50 instead of paying P110 for a whole kilo.
Most of the utensils and equipment you will need for this project should already be available in your kitchen: measuring spoons and cups, gas stove, casserole, pressure cooker, ladle, containers, mixing bowl, and packaging bottle with lag-type cap (a box of 24 pieces of this costs P150).
STEP 1: Measure the ingredients and put them in individual containers. Then mix all the dry ingredients—the sugar, the food gel, and the citrus pectin. You may also mix the citric acid together with the other dry ingredients. Usually, though, the citric acid is best added after cooking the jam. This is because jams, depending on the quality of sugar and fruit used, tend to become either too sweet or too sour after cooking. So to get the desired taste—whether you want it on the sour or sweet side—add just the right amount of citric acid.
You must also carefully choose the quality of the sugar you are going to use. Keep in mind that commercially available granulated sugar is milder in taste than the finer sugars. Recommended for this particular jam recipe is the refined sugar that’s available in public markets.
STEP 2: After putting all the dry ingredients onto the bowl, mix them thoroughly until all the ingredients could no longer be individually identified. You need to make sure of this because if the ingredients are not mixed well, the citrus pectin won’t dissolve in the mixture. (Citrus pectin also does not dissolve directly in water.) Afterwards, set aside the mixture.
Get the strawberries, wash them thoroughly, and remove their sepals (these are the leaf-like parts on top of the fruit). Press the fruits in a bowl using a spoon until you obtain 1/4 cup of the crushed fruit, including its juice. Make sure that you have thoroughly crushed the strawberries. Set aside.
Pour the water into the casserole, followed by the crushed strawberries, the juice and the mixed dry ingredients. Stir and blend all the ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed.
STEP3: When the ingredients, except for the pieces of the crushed strawberry, have already dissolved, allow the mixture to simmer on high fire. Continuously stir to prevent scorching and forming bubbles. When the mixture starts to boil, lower the fire and allow the mixture to simmer until it achieves a thick enough consistency.
STEP 4: There are actually two techniques for determining if your jam is thick enough and ready to be packed—the plate test and the gelling test. In the plate test, you need to scoop out some jam using a ladle or spoon and then let the jam drip from the edge of the ladle or spoon back into the casserole. If the jam does not drip completely from the edge of the utensil, then the jam is already thick enough. If it drips completely, then you would need to simmer it a bit longer. The gelling test, on the other hand, is done by dripping a drop or two of the jam in water placed in a container. If the jam does not disperse in the water, then it is thick enough.
Add the flavoring and check the jam for taste. If the jam is too sweet, then add a little citric acid and mix. Although the strawberry flavoring is artificial, it has the exact taste and aroma of the real fruit. This is what makes it a “nature-identical” flavor.
STEP 5: You can now pack the jam in bottles. Don’t wait for the jam to cool before packing it; otherwise, the jam would solidify into gel. You may pasteurize the product to prolong its shelf life to up to a year. Pasteurization is the process of heating a substance to kill pathogens that can cause spoilage or disease; it also slows down the growth of microbes in the product being pasteurized. To pasteurize bottled jam, you can use the kitchen pressure cooker, designed to create 10 psi (pounds per square inch) to heat the bottles for two hours.
Don’t use a blender to press the strawberry fruits because doing so would make your jam cloudy instead of clear. Bubbles will form when you use a blender.
Don’t use too much flavoring. Your jam won’t smell good and won’t taste well if you do this.
Use labels that will appeal to your target market. If you’re targeting kids, the labels must be colorful and attractive. If you’re targeting health buffs, it would be good to make the label carry health tips and cite the nutritional benefits of the fruit.
Production cost & pricing
To compute your production cost, divide the buying price per kg of each of your ingredients by 1,000, then multiply result by the volume you actually used in making the product. For example, white sugar is P38 per kg. Divide that amount by 1,000 to get the cost per gram (a kilogram is equal to 1,000 grams). You will get a quotient of P0.038 per gram, which then has to be multiplied by 250g, which the actual amount of sugar you mixed with the jam. Do the same arithmetic for the rest of the ingredients. Add up the results to get your total production cost.
Following the above formula, you should get this equation: P9.50 (sugar) + P0.275 (citric acid) + P0.5 (strawberry flavoring) + P7.20 (strawberry fruit) + P3 (food gel) + P7.20 (citrus pectin) = P27.68. Add to this sum the cost of the bottle, which is P6.25 per piece, and add 10 percent for your overhead costs (electricity, gas and water).
You may price the jam at P80 to P100 per 230g bottle. However, depending on your market, all-natural fruit jams may be priced from P150 to P200 per 230g bottle. You may choose to just add 100 percent profit margin to your total cost.
sources: pickyourown.org, entrepreneur.com.ph, videojug.com, photo from www.freedigitalphotos.net