Sunday 7 July 2013

How Easy Is Making Jam?

Making your own jam is one of the easiest things to do in preserving summer's bounty!  Many years ago, I made a batch of strawberry jam that turned out great and a batch of raspberry jam that was so hard you couldn't chisel it out of the jar.  Instead of focusing on the jam that was great, I agonised over the failure and didn't even try to make it again for years.  Silly me!

With endless days of rain trapping me in the house, I pulled out a bag of raspberries I'd frozen last summer, thawed them and mashed them. ~

Simple so far, right?  Grab of bag of sugar and pectin mix and stir it in. ~

Once the mixture comes to a bowl, this is only going to take about 10 mins. to make, so get your jars sterilising now.  If you are new to preserving, there are a few things you need to know about sterilising jars.  It's nice if you have a pot like this but for years I just used a big pot and a wire rack. ~

If your water is very hard (mine is so hard you could give yourself a concussion diving into it!), add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water to stop the minerals from making the jars cloudy.  Bring the water to a full boil and invert the jars on the wire rack over the boiling water.  Steam sterilises better than immersion in the water.  It takes a full five minutes to sterilise the jars.  Always use new caps.  They should only have a quick dunk in the boiling water so the rubber doesn't deteriorate.  Obviously, you will need tongs to dunk the caps.  The rings can be reused for years as they don't touch the food.

Back to the jam making.  Put an empty saucer in the freezer to chill. Bring your sugar/pectin/berry mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Keep stirring for another 4 or 5 minutes.  I followed the instructions on the Redpath bag.  My mom always used a wooden spoon to stir.  She made great jam, so I'm doing what she did. ~

Near the end of the boiling/stirring time, take the saucer out of the freezer and drop a spoonful of jam on it.  This is to test that the jam has set. ~

Can you see that it isn't flowing into the centre?  That means it is set.  If it is still flowing, let the jam boil for another minute and try again.

Once it's set, take the pot off the heat and keep stirring for another 5 mins.  Use a stainless steel spoon for this part.  Stir and skim off any foam that is forming on the top of the jam.  Keep stirring and skimming for the full 5 mins.  I'd show you a pic of skimming but my jam had virtually no foam to skim off.  You are skimming the foam so you have a nice, clear jam.

Ladle the hot jam into the sterilized jars and wipe the rim with a clean cloth to remove any jam that spilled on it, to give you a good seal on the lid.  Some people use paper towel for that but I figure I have no idea what kind of factory the paper towel was made in, so why would I think it is cleaner than a dishcloth I washed.  Seriously, why do we assume that stuff is clean?  My sister thinks I'm weird about that. Screw the rings on finger tight and don't re tighten them.  You will hear a popping sound when the jar has sealed. ~

The best part about making your own jam is the taste!   It's to die for!

Second best part is getting to use the adorable jam jars you've collected.

This crystal and silver jam jar has the niftiest hook to attach the lid to the jar when in use. ~

Love this cut crystal sweetie!   How Downton Abbey is this? ~

My favourite is this Royal Winton chintz pattern.  It's crazed and the silverplate is wearing off the lid, but it says wholesome, cottage goodness to me! ~

So, head out to the garden and pick those berries or grab a bag of frozen ones at the grocery and and get your jam making chef's cap on.  It's easier than you think!

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  1. I love the jam jars....they're beautiful...especially the last one with the floral print! I did not know that you were supposed to sterilize the jars with the opening facing down...I think my mom always did it opening up as well, but I've learned something new! Thanks! xo wendy

  2. Cutest little jars. Yes, I plan to make some jam as soon as I am not holding a hairy cat every five minutes. Enjoy!

  3. I've never made jam, but have always wanted to try. Thanks for the great tips. I love that chintz jam jar... so pretty.

  4. I miss making homemade jams and sauces and this seems so easy. I might just try it, love the jam jars.

  5. Girlfriend...You are Mother Earth, what can't you do????? I didn't even know something like quickset existed!! Oh, I bet it is a whole ton better than store bought!


  6. It is just sad that I haven't made jam in years. This looks SO good- there is NOTHING like homemade jam on fresh baked bread! xo Diana

  7. Yum, making jam isn't what scares me it's the sterilizing part Im always scared I wont do it right and I will give everyone food poisoning but I have made it in the bread maker which make about a jar and then since it isn't being stored I don't get too fussed. But I would love to make it in jars. How tight is "finger tight"?

    1. In case anyone else has the same question as Mel, you tighten the rings as much as you comfortably can do by hand. The ring only holds the lid in place until the the cap pops and is sealed.

  8. I have NEVER made jam!!!
    I love raspberry jam ( strawberry too but really really love raspberry )
    And you made me laugh out loud Maureen - you could get a concussion diving into your water bwaahhh
    Your jams look fantastic!

  9. I didn't know the tip about the vinegar. Our water is very hard here in Birmingham. Your jam jars are so pretty!

    I've never canned anything, but maybe I'll try.

    Ricki Jill

  10. Yummmm.... My mom used to make plum jam. I've had some good stuff since, but never any as good as hers. I can taste it now.

  11. Maureen ... your jam jars are beautiful and the jam looks so pretty. Thanks for all the good instructions. My SIL had a gift box of pears that got too ripe and he was gonna toss them, but I made the best jam out of them.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  12. Ok, this is so totally charming. I loved everything about reading this post. Years ago when my kids were small i made my first batch of jelly. The kids and I all walked down the road and picked as many blackberries as we could find. I did all the stuff you showed above, boiling jars etc... Then i strained out all the seeds. It was the most beautiful shade of ruby red you ever saw, even though they were blackberries!... and it was to die for. When you make something by hand like that, it has so much more chi. ( and i agree about the paper towels!)


  13. I always been a bit worried that Jam making was more work than it was worth, but whoa it looks simple enough even for me :) Thanks for sharing.

  14. Hello Maureen, I love making jam - this is a terrific tutorial and that jam pot is gorgeous!

  15. Nothing tastes the same as home made...yet store bought could be mighty tasty in those sweet little jam jars you have!

  16. Your instructions are very clear and your jars beautiful. The best thing about home-made jam is that you can make varieties which are simply not to be found in regular stores, such as gooseberry or, the most delicious of all - black currant jams.

  17. Oh homemade jam is soooo good. You've made me want to make some. I wish that I had pretty jam jars like yours to put them in .

  18. are a lifesaver. I too have hard water and I can't stand the effect on the jars. Well, thanks to you that is all changed. This year my husband made the strawberry and I am in charge of the raspberry. I won't share here the array of names he came up for his jar labels. You know these first time jam makers.. have to be somewhat "cute" about names. Some are for adult audiences only. ;)

  19. I love to make jam to give my friends at Christmas. I don't think about it the rest of the year, Its too hot in summer to be standing over a hot stove, but freezer jam is great and its nice when getting fresh fruit
    Love your jam jars

  20. I've never made jam, but you make it sound so easy, and it looks delicious.
    Love your collection of pretty jam jars. You just need some scones, Devonshire clotted cream and Earl Grey and you would have a very English cream tea. Can I pop round, and can we sit on your lovely porch, if the rain holds off !

  21. I can absolutely verify that the raspberry jam was out of this world. Now I have the but and need to make some jam. Going to experiment with lowering the sugar content of possible.
    Lynn @

  22. Home made jam never looked more delish! Wonderful job, Maureen! I'm so glad you tried second time around because I like the tutorial you shared with us and also I love your jam jar collection:)Thanks for stopping by the other day. Hugs,Poppy

  23. Oh yummmm! Now I want some canning equipment! That jam jar is sweeeeeet!

  24. I've never made jam and this looks like a fantastic recipe to try. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

  25. Your jam looks delicious! =)
    Following you from "Thursday Favorite Things"!