We’re Jamming (and I hope you like jamming too).
While berries are still in season, I wanted to make sure I learned how to properly can things, so that by the time fall hits I’d have reserves of jams and jellies for the rest of the year. While I had made jellies at some point before, I had never sealed them in jars, I had always put it in the fridge and began using it right away.
Like most people my age I first went to the internet for instructions. While there were many great websites dedicated to canning and preserving, most were geared towards bigger batches, and involved a lot of equipment I didn’t have. Luckily before I could get to eBay or amazon.com, my dad’s friend Mark called me with some advice. He suggested that unless you are making dozens of jars, there is really no reason to get most of the equipment. As long as you have the jars with lids and seals, a big pot (I used a lobster pot) with a lid, and a good set of tongs, you should be all set. He also gave me a few safety tips (above all, be careful when transferring boiling hot jam into the jars). He also told me to except that the jam would be thinner than what I was used to. My Mom’s friend Missy, who has been making amazing jam for years, said that liquid pectin can be used to make jams thicker. Since I couldn’t find this at any nearby stores, I just used the powdered pectin, and stuck pretty much to the recipe inside the box. Here is what I did:
Peach Berry Jam
(makes 4 pints or 8 1/2 pint jelly jars)
Ingredients and Equipment
1 box pectin
3 cups crushed blackberries, raspberries, or both
2 cups finely chopped peaches (about 4 or 5 ripe peaches)
6 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 pint jars, or 8 1/2 pint jars with lids, and new seals
1 large pot with lid
1 set of tongs (canning tongs are available online or at Agway or other garden supply stores)
1. Sterilize jars and lids by running them through the dishwasher
2. While jars are being cleaned, fill pot with water, bring to boil.
3. In a large sauce pan, mix crushed fruit and lemon juice.
4. Stir in Pectin, bring mixture to boil. (add 1/2 tsp butter to reduce foaming).
5. Add sugar, stir until dissolved. Bring mixture to a full boil.
Once jars and lids are done take them straight out of the dishwasher (they must still be hot to fill with a hot liquid), being careful not to touch the inside of the jars or lids (they have to stay sterile).
6. Ladle fruit mixture into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top.
7. Quickly wipe rim of jar with towel dipped in hot water to remove any seeds or jam.
8. Center the hot lids on jars and apply bands.
9. Place filled jars in pot of boiling water, making sure they are covered by at least 1-2 inches. Cover.
10. Process jars for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Let stand for 5 minutes.
11. Remove the jars, place on a towel to cool for at least 12-24 hours.
To see if jars have sealed, after 24 hours, check to see if lid flexes up and down. If not, it’s sealed! Sealed jams can be stored for up to a year. If jars did not seal, just refrigerate and the jam will stay fresh for about a month.