There are few things in life as delicious as warm buttery toast with homemade jam. I remember helping my mom make jam every fall before school started and enjoying it on toast, PB&J’s, and paired with rice pudding. A good jam can’t be too sugary, because you’ve got to be able to taste the fruit.
You’ve got a few options when it comes to jam. You can make it canned, or you can opt for freezer jam. I know canning seems a little intense and scary, but I promise it’s worth it. I also really enjoy a good freezer jam, the downside is that it usually takes up a decent amount of freezer space. For freezer jam you just need pectin and freezer safe containers. For canning, you need a little bit more: large pot, dish towel, jar lifter, and mason jars.
Step 1: Sterilize your jars by boiling them for 10 minutes each. Spoon in the hot jam, making sure that you leave a little space at the top (look at the recipe). Clean off the rim.
Step 2: Put the lid on the jar and screw the band on. Just tighten it enough to hold it in place, but not enough that it’s tight. You’ll tighten them up in the next little bit.
Step 3: Put your kitchen towel at the bottom of your pot and fill with about 4″ of water. Bring the water to a nice simmer, then gently put your jars into the pot. Each jar should be about 1″ apart. Make sure that the water covers the jar at least an inch. If you need to, add more boiling water. Simmer the jars for 10-20 minutes (recipe dependent) then remove them using the jar lifter and set onto a towel. Allow it to cool.
Step 4: Check those lids! Once the jars are cool, press the lid to test the seal. These shouldn’t move at all, meaning that no air can get in or out of the jar. If that’s the case, tighten those bands, label, and store for up to a year!
Important things to know:
- All canning recipes need to be official and checked so that they don’t encourage or cause botulism.
- The seal is crucial. If the jar isn’t sealed, it’s not good to store outside the fridge.
- If you find your jam a little too sweet, then go ahead and add a dash of acid (like lime or lemon). It will help cut the sweetness and bring out the fruit.
- 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled
- 4 c. white sugar
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
Process: Crush your strawberries until you have 4 cups of well-mashed berries. The finer you mash, the finer your jam. In a good saucepan, mix the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Once that happens, increase the temperature to high and bring to a good boil. Keep stirring while the mixture boils until it reaches 220F. Carefully transfer to sterile jars making sure to leave 1/4-1/2″ of headspace. Then seal and process in a water bath if you plan on keeping it for a while. Otherwise, just refrigerate and enjoy!
- 12 peaches, pitted and chopped
- 4 1/2 c. white sugar
- 1 package dry pectin
Process: Crush your peaches until you have reached your desired consistency. Pour into a saucepan and put the heat on medium-low. Bring it to a low boil and continue to stir and cook for about 20 minutes. The peaches will liquify a bit. Pour this mixture into a bowl and then measure out 6 cups back into your pan, tossing in the sugar and bringing it to a boil on medium heat. Slowly stir in the pectin and boil for an additional minute. Pour into your sterilized jars leaving 1/2″ headspace. Process in water bath for 10 minutes, then let cool and enjoy!
And there you have it! Happy canning! Which homemade jam will you make?