This jam session has NO music instrumentals involved – it was dedicated to the delicious summer fruits: strawberries and raspberries. Did you know that you can make homemade jam in 30-minutes or less? Neither did I; until the first time I tried. My grandmother, who is now in heaven, would make the most amazing, freezer strawberry jam. After she passed away, I started this tradition with my husband every summer in memory of her. Her angel always joins me in the kitchen watching over me.
In past years, we had only made strawberry jam, but this year we decided to make both strawberry and raspberry. I had all intensions of picking strawberries this year, but with the crazy heat (at least for the Pacific NW) we were having; it was a bit out of the question. Then one day, my husband and I came upon a market stand that we had never visited before and the fruit there was so luscious that we couldn’t let it be passed up.
After less than 2 hours and my husband’s help, we had made 3 bunches of jam resulting in 17 jars of freezer jam, which I know will make us very happy in the winter months to taste a bit of summer goodness.
The first step in this process is to get an apron on!
Jam making can be a bit messy and working with red fruit can stain your clothes, hands, towels, countertops, etc. When cutting strawberries, I always do so on a dark, plastic cutting board and using dark or red towels is a great idea as well.
There are only three ingredients that you need when making jam – fruit, sugar and pectin.
That is all it takes! If you would prefer to make sugar-free jam, there is specific pectin that you would need to buy. This recipe below is full sugar and soooo very good!
For all jam, it is very important to measure out all ingredients exactly or the jam may not set properly. I am going to show you the steps for creating raspberry jam – the method is the same for all fruit, but the quantities of fruit and sugar vary. Make sure to refer to this pdf from Sure Jell (click on regular Sure Jell pdf at top of page) for multiple types of fruits.
Measure out 3 cups of crushed raspberries. Make sure to sort through the berries removing any spoiled ones. Wash and place into large mixing bowl.
Crush berries using a potato masher.
If you would prefer to remove the seeds, the liquid could be run through a sieve, but we found the process to be a bit tedious, so we let it be. With your liquid add 5 1/4 cups of sugar and stir until incorporated.
Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes causing the berries and sugar to macerate. While this is occurring, boil 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan over high heat so that it comes to a boil quickly. Add your box of pectin to the boiling water, it will boil up a bit. Stir until it looks clear and remove from heat.
Let cool slightly before adding to your fruit mixture. Slowly pour your pectin into your fruit mixture making sure to stir continually whiling doing this. Continue to stir the mixture for roughly 6 to 8 minutes. A good way to know that the pectin has dissolved the sugar is to take a spoon and take a bite of the mixture.
If it still tastes gritty with sugar then continue to stir until the taste of sugar is completely gone. Next step will be to fill up your jars, open all your jars so that they can be filled in an assembly line fashion. 8-ounce jars work wonderfully and make for a great hostess gift when going to summertime parties.
If any of the lids do not have a secure fit when removing them, it would be best to get replacement lids. However, I have been using the same jars for nearly 7 years and they are still good. Fill each clean jar until it is full; leaving a 1/2-inch gap at the top for expansion. This was about 3 ladles for me. Place all the lids on your jars and leave on the counter for 24 hours to set.
After 24 hours have passed, place in the freezer and pull out as needed. Defrosting in the refrigerator or countertop. Jam doesn’t just have to be used on toast or PB&J’s – it can be used to top ice cream, angel food cake, reduce to sweeten sauces and much more.
We repeated the same process above to make strawberry jam, but used 2 cups of strawberries and 4 cups of sugar.
Again there are many different jams to pick from, we have decided to make a new variety along with strawberry every year. I think for the summer of 2014, I may have to try peach or blueberry.
I hope these instructions will help you to explore the world of making jam. You’ll be very happy, you did, in the winter time when you think fresh fruit is sooo very far away.