In the spirit of jam week…
Years ago, Professor X’s sister and brother-in-law taught me how to make cooked jam. I am certainly no expert, but I have enjoyed this now annual tradition with berries I picked, or purchased at farmer’s markets.
I am no culinary expert, so I’ve been surprised by the number of people that I know that are intimidated by making cooked jam. I’ve created this “cheat sheet” of instructions based on my blueberry-jam-making from last weekend.
Open your packet of pectin and determine how many “cups” of jam your berry will make. Put that number of 1/2 pint canning jar into large pot filled with water. Boil to kill any bacteria. Let boil until cooked jam is almost complete.
Crush berries in a flat pan with a potato masher. Not all berries need to be crushed completely. Pour into measuring cup. Continue to mash until you have the number of cups of crushed berries as pectin packet instructs.
Cook measured, crushed berries over medium heat along with water, lemon juice (if needed), and powdered pectin. Cook until mix reaches a continuous rolling boil while stirring (always takes longer than I expect).
Use tongs to take all of the canning jars out of the boiling water. Pour some of the hot water in the jars into a bowl with the canning lids (they need to get hot for the rims to adhere properly). Pour the rest of the hot water back into the water pot, as you will use it again.
Put a canning funnel over the mouths of the jam jars. Using a ladle, pour cooked jam into the jars until it almost reaches the top.
When all jam jars are full, place the flat adhering lid over the jar mouth (I use a magnet to get it out of the hot water). Twist the twisty lid rim tightly onto the jar using hot hands.
Put the jam jars back into the pot of hot water. Keep the jars immersed in the water until the water has been gently boiling for about 10 minutes. This step continues to kill any bacteria and gets the jam ready for storage. It takes at least 30 minutes for this step on my stove.
Remove jam from the hot water. Let them sit on the counter overnight. As the jam cools, all of the flat lids should pop inwards with the vacuum that forms from the cooling air.
When the water has cooled completely, do the green ‘thang and pour the water into the plants outside. It is clean water that was only used for boiling.
I use my jam as Christmas gifts for family members and we use it for the next 12 months in our home. Nothing is better than homemade jam. 🙂