30-Minute Jam Session

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.

My beloved Grandma holding my father around my age or younger.

My beloved Grandma holding my father around my age or younger.

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.

Strawberries and raspberries from a local farm stand.

Strawberries and raspberries from a local farm stand.

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!

Wear an apron! Red fruits can stain most anything.

Wear an apron! Red fruits can stain most anything.

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.

Three ingredients that is all that is needed!

Three ingredients that is all that is needed!

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.

Raspberry Jam

Delicious, red raspberries

Delicious, red raspberries

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.

Love this image and how the water was splashing out of the berries.

Love this image and how the water was splashing out of the berries.

Crush berries using a potato masher.

Use a potato masher for this process.

Use a potato masher for this process.

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.

Stir in sugar to start the maceration process.

Stir in sugar to start the maceration process.

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.

The water and pectin may boil up a bit.

The water and pectin may boil up a bit.

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.

Tasting the mixture is a great way to see the sugar has dissolved.

Tasting the mixture is a great way to see the sugar has dissolved.

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.

Filling the jars.

Filling the jars.

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.

Raspberry jam will now set for 24 hours.

Raspberry jam will now set for 24 hours.

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.

Jam makes a great topping for vanilla ice cream.

Jam makes a great topping for vanilla ice cream.

We repeated the same process above to make strawberry jam, but used 2 cups of strawberries and 4 cups of sugar.

The most beautiful, red local strawberries we have seen this season.

The most beautiful, red local strawberries we have seen this season.

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.

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About P.S. I ♥ Peas

I'm a wannabe urban farmer, gourmet cook and lover of a good treasure hunt. In this blog, I will post about fun experiences from my garden, kitchen and home. My life goal is to get closer and closer to being outdoors on a daily basis - gardening in the sun until the day I die. I have always been drawn to nature, which is why I went to school for horticulture and work in the amazing gardening industry.
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14 Responses to 30-Minute Jam Session

  1. Laurie Beden says:

    These are great instructions! Where in the Pacific NW did you find your fruit stand? Always looking for a good source of berries.

  2. Mike Cusack says:

    Laurie, Mike from Chicago, nice job on this and my wife and I are going to stop in Michigan to see what fruits are available will use your instructions, maybe we’ll do a “blend” of wild berries.

    • Thanks Mike! Glad you enjoyed the post. I’m originally from Michigan – born and raised. Grew up on Lake Michigan. Enjoy your trip! They have a wonderful farmer’s market downtown Muskegon, downtown Grand Haven and also in Holland. Can’t remember if they are all on Saturdays or not. There are several roadside stands as well. Take care and have fun making jam!! Danielle

  3. Heather M. says:

    LOVE this blog post Danielle! Anything that is quick and easy (not to mention freezes well!) gets a gold star in my book! I always thought making jam would take much more effort and time! Do you think the same instructions will hold true with blueberries?

    • Thanks so much, Heather! It’s really this easy! The method would be the same with blueberries. Here is a link to the Sure Jell PDF, which tells you the measurements per fruit you are using: http://www.kraftbrands.com/surejell (click on the regular Sure Jell PDF). It says that you would need 3 cups of crushed blueberries (not whole) and 5 1/4 cups of sugar for blueberry jam. Let me know if you want any help! I would be glad to stop by and assist in your first jam making project! 🙂

  4. I’ve never made jam because the whole sealing thing has always freaked me out but this seems like a much more simple way to do it. Looks delicious too!

    • It is absolutely delicious, Erin! You should try it. I believe with the sugar-free version – boiling the jars is part of the process, but not with this recipe and 10 jars will last us a whole year until the next summer.

  5. By the way, the resemblance to your grandmother is uncanny!

    • Really!?! I always thought I looked more like my mother’s side of the family than my fathers. I should post a picture of me and my mother – we look like identical sisters! 🙂

  6. Deb says:

    NOM NOM NOM! Freezer jam really IS that easy! And it tastes fresher because it is never cooked. Everyone can do this if they have a freezer!

  7. Good point about the apron. I think a lot of first-timers don’t anticipate how juice gets all over–and stains everything it touches.

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