Jam is easy to make, and oh so ever rewarding. Jam has many uses in the kitchen and brings culinary Shangrilah during winter months when produce is out of season. I hear frequently from people they are afraid to try, because they have never done it before…..For all you folks out there who share this sentiment: Just do it Anyway! You will be so glad you overcame your fears and took a chance. As this recipe bears out, mixing berries creates a wonderful blend of flavor that tastes “Oh so Good!”
You will need a large stock pot in which to cook the jam and water bath process the jars . Water bath processing is placing filled and lidded jars into boiling water for exact periods of time to process contents preventing spoilage during non-refrigerated storage.
Traditional water bath canners may be purchased at hardware stores, Walmart, groceries, dept stores, farm stores, etc. They are large stock pots with a lid and jar holder rack which typically holds 7 quart jars. You do not need a canner if you have a large stock pot and a jar lifter, but if you plan to preserve your produce by canning on a regular basis, you should consider investing in a good water bath canner.
canning jars/lids (typically referred to as Mason Jars)
Ingredients for 5 pint jars or 10 half-pints
1 pint blueberrries, crushed
1 quart red raspberries, crushed
7 cups sugar
1 box or bottle of pectin OR follow directions for bulk pectin
Crush berries. Measure 4 cups of crushed berries into large pot. (Add water to make 4 cups if necessary). Berries can be crushed with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. If you want to remove seeds, push through a strainer with a spatula or use a sauce maker with a berry screen. A sauce maker is very fast and can be used with other fruits and vegetables to make juice/sauce. I use a Sauce Master food strainer by Norpro.
Add sugar and pectin. Stir to dissolve sugar and pectin using medium high heat and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. (Rolling boil means you cannot stop the boil when stirring) Remove from heat. Do Not Shortcut the sugar amount. Sugar is the preservative that keeps jam from spoiling after processing, while stored in the refrigerator during use.
Remove foam if necessary from top of jam. Pour jam into clean mason jars, leaving 1/4 -1/2 inch head space. (Head space is the distance from the product to the lid)
Wipe rims to remove any jam from jar lip with damp wash cloth. Any food residue left on the lip, or rough/cracked lips interfere with jars sealing properly.
Boil lids and using jar lid lifter, place a sterile lid on the top of each jar. Adjust lid with metal ring band until hand tight.
Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water bath; then remove and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. *Begin timer when the water begins to boil after the jars have been loaded into canner. You will hear the “ping” of the lid sealing as the jars cool. After 24 hours check each jar has sealed by touching each lid with your finger. If sealed the lid will be depressed. If not sealed, the lid center will pop up and down when depressed.
Label jar lid with contents and year. If storing for extended time, remove metal band to prevent it from rusting onto the jar. For short term storage, gift giving, or if transporting, bands should be left on jars.
Jam making is quick, easy and delicious. I hope you give this simple life pleasure a try today!