Making Jam - A family tradition

I have a confession to make.  My children have not eaten store bought jams or jellies while at home.  They are completely spoiled with home-made jams and jellies, most often made from the fruit that we have grown or picked at a local farm.  There is nothing like the flavor of a good home-made jam.

Unfortunately, this year of fruits was sub par and we were unable to harvest the mass quantities to eat, freeze, and can.  In fact, we were only able to freeze a couple bags of blueberries compared to our 15-20 normal bags.  Add to that, that we just finished the LAST jar of jam from last year and I knew sadness would come to our home soon. YES, the box base sits empty in my pantry.  We have re-used this box for years as it seems to be the easiest way to keep my jars from crashing into the floor or each-other.  Isn't the emptiness just sad?

We add our jams to plain yogurt and top with granola for breakfast. 
Spread the yummy stuff on our PB&J's and
even top our vanilla ice cream with it for desserts. 

No jam - what to do, what to do, what to do?

I will admit, I almost bought jam from the store =)  Then, I saw some peaches that just called out "MAKE ME INTO JAM!"  Of course, you cannot ignore the pleas of peaches, and so, I made jam!

My mom taught me to make jam while I was in college and I hope to someday pass on the tradition to my kids.  They are too young to even join me in the kitchen during jamming, so I usually end up making a batch late at night.  Start to finish, one batch usually takes me about one hour.  Although I love the look of chopped fruit with a knife, using a food processor cuts the time down by at least 5 minutes! 

Have you made jams before?  It really isn't as hard as it seems (I don't even own a canner, but ooh, how I wish I did!)  If you have the fruit, the jars, surgel, pectin, and a large pot with a metal circle cooling rack that fits inside your pot - then you can do it! 
My suggestions for canning for the first time.

1. Read through the recipe first
2.  Set out EVERYTHING you need before you begin.
3. Walk through the process once in your mind before you actually do it.
4.  Invite a friend or spouse to help you the first time - two in the kitchen is helpful for canning (in my opinion)

In response to readers questions on FB -
Here is a really quick video of the Hot Water Process I use for my jams and the reason why I can store them in the pantry, not the fridge! 

For those wanting a little more step by step of the whole process.  I think this video may help!

This is the book that I have and use as a refrence.  It has a good section on how and why you do the different steps of canning, some recipies, and picture tutorials.  For the price, I think it is a great starting book and I reference it often.

What have you canned before??? Any tips you would share???


Vanessa Wilson said...

We love making homemade jam too. This was our first year and we made about 3 batches of blueberry jam. I use Pomona's Pectin because I can't stomach the large amounts of sugar required by some more traditional recipes. Pomona's uses calcium to active it (included in the packet) so you can make the jam with little to no sugar if you want. The instructions include info on a sliding scale you can use. I usually go with 1/2- 3/4 cup of evaporated sugar cane juice for a whole batch of 5-6 half pint jars. :o)

The Educators Spin On It said...

Sounds like it is worth a go =) I am always up for trying new things! Yes, the traditional jam does have a lot of sugar, but then, we only use it sparingly! I've wanted to try and make jam without the surgel - but am usually on a time constraint. Hopefully this winter will be better for our fruits and I can experiment more =)

Kim @ The Educators Spin On It said...

My grandmother was the best at making jam. I sure wish I had all her recipes now. You've inspired me to try this out Amanda. Thanks for posting! I just might be stopping by for a little sample this week too LOL.

The Educators Spin On It said...

There is home-made bread in the oven right now - stop by anytime =) In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than warm whole wheat bread topped with real butter and jam!

Kim @ The Educators Spin On It said...

Now you add fresh bread to this mix, you rock. You children and hubby are so lucky to have you. Can't wait to sample! Our coconut bread is in the oven now, first attempt in a long time of cooking bread we shall see how it goes. Of course I had some Little Hands helping me too.

DianeMargaret said...

We only buy jams or jellies we wouldn't normally eat.
Like when a receipe called for current jelly, we wouldn't normally eat it but the recipe turned out to be GREAT, so we buy it!

Becky said...

I am so excited that you posted this!:) I have never been brave enough to make anything but freezer jam, because the one time I tried they didn't vacuum seal and all of my heard work went down the drain (literally) when I opened the lids and they were moldy. BUT I didn't have that handy-dandy wire stand for inside the pot! You have inspired me to try again!:)

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