Small-Batch Jam

>> Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guess what I learned this summer? Raddichio looks like red cabbage except a lot smaller (my argument - it was under the red cabbage sign. I just didn't look up in the top row). That and how to make jam when you only have one jar. Ok so I have acquired more jars since then but back when I picked fresh strawberries, I wanted to make jam. I went and bought a box of pectin before discovering some fruits naturally have pectin in them, mainly berries and apples. Pectin in strawberries can be found in the green tips of not-quite-ripe strawberries. Lemon juice also helps the gelling process.

Link for YouTube

I always considered jam a special technique because you have to make sure everything is steralized and cooked to prevent mold and illnesses when storing. Because the whole jam making process scared me, I decided to do my research. I found a very, very, VERY helpful video on YouTube, which I have posted above.

If you need jam jars, check out flea markets and yard sales. I usually find ones with lids for about 25-50 cents. I've also seen boxes and boxes (and more boxes) of jars without lids, but you can purchase lids separately at the store. It is recommended to replace lids every so often. Jars don't need replaced unless cracked.

Ok so I don't have any pictures of my jams, but I can assure you this recipe works for strawberries and black raspberries. Don't worry about fancy equipment either. I used a giant pot for my boiling water and tongs to grab the hot jar. Just make sure you have a lid that breaks into two parts: the lid itself and the rim you screw on.

The video above uses an 8-ounce and a 4-ounce jar. I adjusted the measurements for a 6-ounce jar.

For 6 ounce jar:
2 cups berries, sliced if needed
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Make sure jar has recently been washed with soap and hot water. Don't worry about drying because it will be going back into water. Place jar and lid into a pot of boiling water. Make sure it is deep enough for the jar to stand upright completely submerged in water. Or cheat like I do and turn it on its side. Probably not recommended but it works for me.

2. Place a small dish or bowl into freezer.

3. Once the water is boiling, leave the jar in there until ready to use. Meanwhile, place berries, sugar, and lemon juice into a somewhat-deep skillet. Heat and stir until it reaches a rolling boil. Keep stirring until it thickens, usually 10 minutes. When it seems like it is gelling, get your plate/bowl out of the freezer. Put a small drop onto the plate/bowl and let sit for 30 seconds. Tilt it. If it slides too fast, keep cooking. If it barely moves, it is done. Just make sure you don't overcook it, even if you have to test every minute or two. Turn off the heat.

4. Remove the jar and lids from water. Keep the water boiling. I usually put a paper towel on a hot plate so it can sit there for about a minute. Spoon jam into jar. Some suggest using a funnel, but the chunks might get stuck. If you do use a funnel, make sure it is steralized in hot water as well.

5. Wipe excess jam off the rim of the jar so it doesn't mess up the sealing process. Place the middle part of the lid on top. Screw on the lid rim. You may want to use an oven mitt so you can hold the jar still.

6. Place sealed jar back into the boilng water and boil for 15 minutes. Make sure it is submerged in the water. Remove from the water and let dry on a heat-resistant surface for 18-24 hours. Once cool, press down on the lid. If it stays down, it is sealed. If it pops back up, put in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.


Walden 5:13 PM  

Very nifty! Thanks so much for the link. Will have to try this out.

Steph 7:35 PM  

I made jam in my food and nutrition class in high school. I don't know if the strawberries would actually make it into the jam before I finish them up!

Reeni 9:28 PM  

I've never made jam! It looks fun! Thanks for the video!

Megan 9:29 PM  

I love canning jam but I admit, it's kind of scary to me. I'll have to give this recipe a try. Which reminds me, I have a jam exchange coming up. I better get on it!

Adam 8:41 AM  

I really like canning too, even though I rarely do jam. I'm more of a pickling guy. I'll admit that homemade is alot better though, and there's no weird sweetners :)

jillbert 10:09 AM  

Thanks for the video! The process doesn't look as intimidating as I would have expected.

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