Hot Jam6:00:00 AM
If I could name one thing I am most thankful for when it comes to growing up on a farm, it would have to be the fact I learned how to not only grow my own food but also to make my own from scratch. There is nothing better than homemade. Especially when it comes to jam. I have vivid memories of my mom's strawberry freezer jam (which you can find in a past blog post!) she laughs when we talk about it as she said she only remembers it turning out to be strawberry syrup! Well, I dunno cause I have it down pat!
This recipe you are about to see is NOT freezer jam! This is homecooked yumminess that you will want to can. I use a steam canner. Just like this one HERE. The reason I use this canner is it is MUCH easier for me to use! I mean I am fun sized and a big ol' pot of water is just not conducive for me and the fact I want my wee ones underfoot! They need to learn at some time!
Start with finding a great picking field! This recipe will work for most berries. I use it for raspberry, marionberry, blackberry and boysenberry. SOMETIMES I use it for strawberry too, but my husband prefers strawberry freezer jam. When you can strawberry jam, unless you add in lemon (which I do not) it will turn brown on the top layer...about 1 inch. It grosses him out and he wastes that portion. Therefore I don't can it and just freeze it! Not an issue with our outdoor freezer!
The kids fight over who gets to mash! We come home, pour as much can fit into the colander for rinsing and then into a large mixing bowl it goes for mashing. The rule is the masher does NOT come out of the bowl! This masher was my great grandmother's and it makes me smile that we still use it to this day!
In a large bowl, pour in 4 cups sugar. Regular ol' white sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of sugar and pour into a smaller bowl. In the smaller bowl combine 1 box of low to no sugar pectin. I love Sure Jell and the box is pink! Win win! This would be a great time to start your canning lids (the actual flat part not the rings!) what you do is fill a small saucepan with water...I place my lids in so the metal top portion is facing UPWARDS for easy removal. I turn it on medium till it boils then turn down to low. You will need these in a bit!
In a large saucepan, pour in 5 cups of MASHED prepared fruit. Pour the small bowl of pectin and 1/4 cup of sugar into the pan and mix thoroughly. Turn the heat to HIGH and stir continuously. Yes, your arm will start to hurt. But that is just part of the love that goes into your jam!
When your jam comes to a continuous boil, the kind that cannot be stirred away. Dump in the remaining sugar. Mix till fully combined. Continue stirring and when comes to a roaring boil again...set a timer for 1 minute. DO NOT stop stirring or you will burn your jam! There is nothing more gross than burnt jam! Remove from heat and get ready for the fun part!
I prewash my jars and have them at ready to immediately ladle in my jam. I have a kit from Ball as seen HERE. It has made my canning journey so much smoother! If you notice my raspberry jam looks frothy...you can scoop this out with a metal spoon. But I have found my jam doesn't get frothy even when I pour it into my jars. I don't like to waste and it tastes delicious! It makes a great ice cream topping as well! Ladle your jam leaving about 1" space from the top to the jam. Using your magnetic grabber from your kit, grab a lid (they are hot be careful not to grab with your fingers!) and place on your jar. Do not twist the rings on too tightly! You will then place them into your canner!
I bought a flat canner bottom for my steamer! It is easier for me to use! But the one that comes with will work as well! Pour 6-8 cups of water into the bottom. DO NOT turn on the stove yet! Once all of your jars are in place, put the cover on. Turn the stove to HIGH. Keep an eye on the steam that will come out of the holes. When the steam has reached about 4-5" in length you will then set your timer for 15 minutes. The popping sound is completely normal and lets you know your jars are sealing properly! It is a glorious sound to hear!
I line the table with a towel to place my jars on. When you remove the lid be sure you do not open towards you. Steam is the same temperature as boiling water! DO NOT burn yourself! Use oven mitts to lift the lid as well! I also turn off the stove first! Using the can grabber (rubber green side is for the jars!) take your jars and space them about 1-2" apart. You will leave them in this spot to set up for 24 hours. When jars are cooled, write on your jar. I write the name of the jam and the date! Voila! You just made your batch of jam! What you see above is 3 batches of jam! I can't wait to go pick more! My babies know that this time of year we stock up for Winter! There is nothing more glorious than a shelf in the garage full of mason jars.
1 box pectin
4 cups white sugar
5 cups mashed fresh berries