Jars of jam with labels and fabric toppers

Jam-making kit – our recommended buys

Taking the time to lock fresh flavours into homemade jam and chutney is a great cooking project whatever the time of year. We've selected our favourite preserving tools to help you achieve perfection.

We’ve picked products we think you’ll love and may earn commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust BBC Good Food reviews.

Whether you have a glorious harvest crop or a batch of summer berries, reducing all that vibrant flavour into a concentrated jam, chutney, pickle or preserve is one of the most satisfying kitchen endeavours you can set upon (jam pun, intended).

Advertisement

Getting the right results is a science, however, and precision, skill and safety are all necessary requirements for success. Don’t embark on a preserving session without the right cookery equipment.

Here, we round up the best equipment for making jam and other preserves at home, plus find jam recipe ideas as well as top tips and a video tutorial. For more round-ups and best buys, visit our reviews section.

The best jam-making equipment to buy

KitchenCraft stainless steel 9l maslin jam pan with handle
Jam pan

Give yourself plenty of room for manoeuvre with a bespoke jam pan. This one holds up to two gallons of liquid and has handy measurements up the side. A maslin pan has a spout and a carry handle, and can also be used for making stock – or serving mulled wine at a party. The handle means it can be hung from a hook for easy storage, too.

Divertimenti wooden spoons

Some jams and chutneys require rapid boiling, so it’s wise to use wooden spoons as they don’t transfer heat. They also prevent scratches and scrapes to the bottom of your pan, plus they’re generally one of the most important kitchen utensils – so it’s worth paying due attention to which you buy. We like these olive wood spoons from Divertimenti, available in various sizes, including a long-handled 35cm version.

Available from Divertimenti (from £7.50)

Kilner jar thermometer

This vintage-inspired probe will help on the health and safety front. Clip it to the side of your pan and monitor the temperature of your preserve to ensure it’s ready for jarring.

Westmark glass jar lifter

Tongs

Instead of relying on a tattered tea towel, grab yourself a pair of specially designed pincers to safely lift steaming hot jars.

Lakeland easy-fill jam funnel

Jam funnel

Dribbles down the side of your jars are never a good look. Avoid a sloppy mess (and minimise the risks involved in handling scalding hot jam or chutney) by using a specialist funnel with a wide neck to transport the mixture from the pan.

Available from Lakeland (£7.49)

Le Parfait clip-top jars

We’re passionate about recycling old glass receptacles, but for gifts, old-fashioned jars look smart and uniform in a hamper – plus they can be used again and again if washed and sterilised correctly. They can also be used for storage once the chutney or jam is used up. The rubber seal guarantees the contents are locked in and are unlikely to taint.

Microplane zester
Microplane zester, jam making kits

The peel of citrus is full of flavour. A hand-held zester enables you to capture that layer without also taking the white pith from below which can often taste bitter. Microplane has a reputation for its sharp, fine zesters which also double up really well for grating hard cheeses like parmesan. 

Pyrex measuring jug
Glass pyrex measuring jug, jam making kit

Made of thick Borosilicate glass, the large Pyrex jug has clear notches for measuring in ml, fl oz and pint metrics. A sturdy handle makes its large capacity manageable, plus the jug’s broad neck is simple to pour into from pans. Dishwasher- and microwave-safe, this is a great bit of kit to have in your kitchen anyway. 

Lakeland jelly and jam strainer with stand

Lakeland jelly and jam strainer, best jam kits

Straining bags come in particularly useful for making smooth jams. This three-piece set clicks together and can hold up to 2kg of fruit. Pop a bowl beneath the washable bag and the contents will eventually separate, leaving you with flavourful smooth jelly without any pulp, pips or peel.

Available from Lakeland (£17.99)

KitchenCraft wax discs
KitchenCraft vintage jar labels, jam making kit

Wax disks in a full jar of jam helps keep the contents fresh by facilitating an airtight seal. Simply rest one of these on top before sealing the jar’s lid. It will peel off easily once opened again.  

Nordic Ware mini silicone baking spatulas

NordicWare mini spatulas

Mini spatulas are immensely practical when it comes to working with jars. The smaller silicone head fits happily within the small glass necks and are flexible enough to scoop all the last dregs from a cooled jam pan. Just wipe and swipe. They also make great baking gifts and kitchen tools for kids because of their smaller, manageable handles.

KitchenCraft vintage-style jar labels

KitchenCraft vintage jam jar labels, jam making kits

Label up your jars filled with jammy goodness and they’ll be easier to identify for fishing out of a busy cupboard. Handwritten labels are also a great personal touch if you’re giving jars of jam as gifts. These vintage-style labels just peel straight off. Make sure the jars are fully cooled before sticking.  

Available from Harts of Stur (£2)

Posca white paint pen

Posca uni-ball white chalk pen, jam making kits

In the interests of sustainability (and a more modern look) a white paint pen is a great alternative for labelling jars. Just write straight onto the cooled, dried glass or lid. 

Salter digital weighing scales

Avoid a disaster by measuring your ingredients to the dot – sugar levels are particularly important when jamming. Ensure accuracy with every recipe by investing in a pair of electronic scales. This set by Salter can weigh up to 5kg and has easy to use buttons.

Available from Amazon (£19.89)

Jam recipes and tips

Our best ever jam recipes
Top tips for making jam
Pickle, jam and chutney recipes
Picture guide to making strawberry jam
Video: How to test jam is ready to set
Video: How to make chutney

This review was last updated in August 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk. 

Advertisement

Are you a keen jam-maker? We’d love to hear your cookery tips and product picks.