Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tis the Season... for JAMMING!

I can't tell you how many people has asked for my jam recipes.  Usually it happens after someone has tried some and fallen in love with it.  I must admit, I LOVE all the ooohhs and yummmms I hear when people taste my jam.  It makes me so happy.

There really is nothing special to my recipe for any Jam.  I (basically) follow the Sure-Jell Low-Sugar recipe (contained in the box of Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin), with a few modifications.  All of the "processing" directions I follow pretty closely.  It's the ingredients that are altered.

So.. for example, Strawberry.  My personal favorite.

The recipe says -
6 cups of crushed strawberries
4 cups of sugar

I make my jam with -
9 cups of (mostly) crushed strawberries (I use a potato masher to bust up the berries, leaving some almost whole and others pulp)
~ 3 cups of sugar (I scoop out four "almost" cups... I measured with my most recent batch and my cups are more like 3/4 cups)
I use butter with the fruit - about 1/2 Tbsp.
I don't skim off any foam (tho usually, I don't get much, if any) before ladling the mixture into jars

That's it!  Those are the only differences.  No magic, or ancient family secrets.

However... there are a few things I've learned over the years that help make REALLY YUMMY jam -
- Fresh fruit.  I try (tho it doesn't always happen) to make jam from perfectly ripe fruit.  My strawberries were processed within 24-hours of being picked.  I use "seconds" for nectarine/plum/apricot because I don't care what they look like, I just want tasty fruit.  (I also try to only use locally-grown fruits.  Nothing from the supermarket, just farm-fresh fruits.)
- Let your "rolling boils" roll... give them a little time to build.  Don't rush to add the remaining sugar or hit the 1-minute timer.  I've found that it's really hard to overcook jam.
- Don't worry about EXACT amounts of fruit or sugar.
- I use the "inversion method" to seal the jars.  After filling and screwing on the lid/rings on the jars, turn the jar upside down and let sit for 5-7 minutes.  Once that's done, flip them back to their upright position and let them sit for the next 24-hours.  Listen for the "pop" and cheer when you hear it - your jar is sealed!

Hope this helps.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions about jam-making.  I'm no expert, but I've been doing it for a while and may be able to assist.

Happy Jamming!


Anonymous said...

Wow-how delicious-I make marmalade, but I think you are prompting me to get those jars out again and make some strawberry jam. Makes lovely gifts for people, even if I can't eat it myself (strawberries give me migraine!)

Laura said...

I want to try jam making this year - thanks for the tips!