A few months ago, I decided I wanted to try making jam. Because I didn’t want to give anybody botulism, I did my research and figured out the best way to get it done. It really wasn’t that difficult…
Let’s get started…
I started with some good recipes.
Then I bought the supplies…mason jars and a canning kit.
Then I went to the farmer’s market and bought some fresh produce. And I was ready to go.
Start by scooping the stems off all the strawberries. And stick them on a cookie sheet with a rim. You’ll need that to contain all the juice.
Working in batches mash the strawberries. You can leave some chunks, but you’ll want most of it mashed up pretty well.
Measure out the mashed strawberries and stick ‘em in a separate bowl.
Then I cut up some rhubarb.
I cut it into long strips first
Then cut each strip into smaller pieces, about the size of a sugar cube.
Dump the rhubarb in with the strawberries and add a bit of lemon juice.
In the meantime, measure out your sugar and set it aside.
And prepare your equipment. Stick the mason jars into a separate pot with warm water and allow them to simmer on low heat while making the jelly.
Place the lids only, not the screw rings, into another small pot and simmer them as well.
Place your fruit into a large pot over medium heat.
Add in pectin and stir until it’s dissolved. Pectin is a naturally occuring fiber in fruits and veggies. Adding it in here allows you to cook the fruit for a shorter amount of time, which keeps more vitamins in, and allows for better taste. Pectin is what makes jams and jellies gel. Trust me, you need it if you don’t want to be cooking for hours and hours before your fruit thickens.
Bring the fruit to a good boil over medium heat.
When the fruit is boiling strongly, dump in the sugar all at once.
Stir until the sugar is all dissolved.
Then bring the mixture back to a vigorous boil. A vigorous boil is one that doesn’t stop boiling even when it’s stirred.
Once it reaches a vigorous boil, continue boiling for one minute more.
After one minute turn the heat off, skim off any foam on top of the jam. (Sorry, didn’t get a pic before I skimmed off all the foam. Forgive me.) Remove your jars from the pot and dump out any water in them. You don’t need to dry them. Set them on a dish towel or cutting board on the counter.
Place your funnel into the jar, and ladle in the fruit.
Keep going til all the jars are filled.
Insert a knife into the jar around the edges a few times to make sure all the air is out. Check the head space and add more fruit as needed. Then wipe clean the rims of the jars.
Using your handy-dandy magnetic lifter….
take the lids and stick them on the jars. Put the screw bands on and just tighten them until resistance is met, do not overtighten them.
Place them onto a canning rack and lower them into your canner. Bring the water to a boil and process them for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Allow jars to sit for 5 minutes before removing them.
Remove jars and set them on a dish towel on the counter. You shouldn’t just set them on the counter, because the jars are so hot setting them on the counter could cause them to shatter. Putting a dish towel down first prevents this from happening.
Let the jars sit for 24 hours. Listen for the pop, pop, pop as the jars seal. It’s a very satisfying sound. After 24 hours, remove the screw bands and check the seal. There should be no give at all in the lid and you should be able to lift the jar by the lid without it falling off. You can store the jars without the screwbands, but if giving them as gifts, I recommend leaving the bands on, otherwise there really is no way to close the jar.
Homemade jam, if processed correctly, will stay good, unopened, in the cupboard for up to a year.
Once opened, because there are no preservatives, it’ll typically only last a few weeks in the fridge. But it’s so tasty it usually doesn’t last that long. Trust me, this stuff is so much better than the store bought stuff.
I had so much fun making my strawberry-rhubarb jam, that I tried a bunch of other flavors….triple berry (strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry), plain strawberry, maui wowie (mango, pineapple and strawberry) and I even made apple butter. Mmmm so good.
So here’s the giveaway… I’m giving away 2 jars of my homemade jam to 2 lucky winners. You can choose 2 of the same flavor, or mix it up and pick two different flavors. To be entered into the contest, just leave a comment here saying which flavors you’d choose if you won. Your choices are…strawberry; strawberry rhubarb; triple berry (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry); maui wowie (mango, pineapple, strawberry); or apple butter.
Here’s the rules….
Leave a comment here on this post by noon on Wednesday to be entered. Comments left on the facebook page do not count. Sending a friend this way who leaves a comment and drops your name gets you an extra entry. If you’re not already a facebook fan, become one and then leave a comment here saying that you’re a new fan and I’ll give you an extra entry. Comments must be left by noon on Wednesday and winners will be announced Wednesday night. Don’t worry if you’re not local either. I can ship the jam safely.
Good luck! And come back the rest of this week, I’ve got more contests planned for our one year anniversary!
***Want homemade jam, but don’t want to make it yourself? Check out the shop tab up at the top of the page and visit the flicker-doodles shop on Etsy to get your own jar of flicker-doodles jam.***