I do love homemade jams and jellies and try to make couple of different ones every year. I just finished making strawberry jam – all 22 jars of it. I know – we can’t possibly eat all of that, but just imagine what a great gift your homemade jams and jellies will make at Christmas time! You can decorate the jars, make an assorted basket or a gift box… what a way to shop!
Even if you never made jams or jellies, there is no need to be afraid of trying it. Here are a few simple directions and tips for you, plus my favourite strawberry jam recipe:
- Always wash your fruit and discard all bruised and spoiled portions
- Remove hulls, caps, stems, pits or seeds and leave fruit whole or cut it up depending on what the recipe calls for
- Measure fruits after cleaning it up and preparing it
- If recipe calls for juice, prepare it first
- Measure sugar accurately and if you are not using pectin, usually 3/4 cup of sugar to cup of juice is added
- If you are using juice that is not tart enough, it means it doesn’t have enough acid and needs lemon juice added – about 1 tablespoon er cup of juice
- Cook your jams or jellies in smaller batches – do not double recipes
- If youa re using pectin, follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly
- if you are not using pectin, stir sugar until it dissolves and then boil the mixture without stirring it until it reaches jellying point
- When finished boiling, quickly skim the mixtre to remove foam, spoon boiling hot into prepared (sterilized) jars and let jars stand to cool
- You can also wipe the jar clean as soon as you pour the hot jam in it, put the lids on and close it tight. You will hear the lid pop in a little while – that means it is sealed. This is the method I use and it never failed me.
- For jellies, you might want to use the parafin was method – leave about 1/4″ headspace and then cover immediately with hot parafin wax. rick any air bubbles that form and let jars stand undisturbed overnight or until cool. Then cover with paper or metal lids.
How to Check Jellying Point:
With a Thermometer: Check boiling point of water with candy thermometer. Boil your jams or jellies until the temperature reaches 8F above the boiling point of water.
Spoon Test : Dip a cool metal spoon into boiling syrup, raise and tilt spoon until syrup runs from the side. When jellying point is reached, liquid will not flow in a stream, but will divide into distinct drops which run together and fall off the spoon as one sheet.
My Strawberry Jam Recipe:
- 9 cups of crushed strawberries
- 6 cups of granulated sugar
- Combine crushed strawberries and sugar
- Bring slowly to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves
- Cookj rapidly to almost a jellying point – depending on whether you prefer soft or firm jam.
- Pour boiling hot into sterilized jars and seal
Hope you will enjoy making jams and jellies – send me your comments, suggestions experiences and pictures if you can – your input is very welcomed and much appreciated!