Remember when I had all of those meyer lemons? Yeah, I made macarons with them, but I still had a lot left over.
Summer’s coming to an end, so stock up on your berries and preserve them any way you could. Our favorite way to do this is to make jam. Though freezing is probably easier, cooking and preserving the berries is a very flavorful way to enjoy our summer produce all year long. It also makes a really nice gift!
(Berries actually freeze quite well. Make sure to clean and dry them, and then store them in a zip top bag. Make sure to suck all the air out and seal it tight so that the berries don’t get freezer burned. If you want to freeze strawberries, hull them before freezing.)
Last year we made raspberry jam with raspberries we picked ourselves from a local farm. We also made strawberry-fig jam, inspired by my backyard fig tree. This summer we decided to make more mixed fruit jams, and the apricot-nectarine turned out really orange and delicious. This raspberry-strawberry-blueberry jam is an amazing deep purplish pink color. We can’t decide if it tastes better than it looks or looks better than it tastes.
Oh, we took all the photos with my new(ish) Droid-X. Pretty cool, huh?
All jam making directions and tips are from pickyourown.org and the package of pectin.
- 10 cups of unprepared berries, we used 2 pints of blueberries, 1 1/2 pints of strawberries, and 3 (1-cup) packages of raspberries (when you mash these, you’ll have about 6 cups of fruit)
- Juice and zest of two lemons
- 6 cups white sugar
- 1 package Sure Jell pectin (the yellow package)
- 1 large pot
- 2 large bowls (one for berries, one for sugar)
- Measuring cups
- 1 large pot
- Potato masher
- Mixing spoon
- Cup of ice water and teaspoon (to test jam)
- Mason jars with tops and rings
- Canning funnel
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Jar tongs
- Small pot for boiling the lids
- Pot for boiling prepared jars
- Dishwasher or large pot for sterilizing jars
If you are canning, make sure to sterilize the jars. If using a dishwasher, run it without soap. If using a pot, fill the pot with water and the jars and boil. Do not touch the inside of the jars (that’s why you have the jar tongs), because that will introduce bacteria to the sterilized jars and could result in icky jam! Do this now so it will be ready when you are. Boil the lids, too.
1. Wash the fruit. Sort through it to make sure you have no bad berries or stems, etc.
2. Chop the strawberries.
3. Add the fruit to a bowl and make sure you have 10 cups. Mash.
4. Measure out the sugar. Set aside 1/4 cup of sugar and mix with the pectin. This will allow the pectin to incorporate into the fruit better, and make sure you don’t have lumpy jam.
5. Add fruit to large pot and cook over high heat, stirring constantly. When it comes to a full rolling boiling, meaning it doesn’t stop bubbling even when you stir, time one minute. Add the pectin and stir until it dissolves.
6. While still stirring, add the sugar, a cupful at a time, until it is all incorporated.
7. Continue stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a rolling boil again. After one minute, test the jam to make sure it sets.
8. Take a spoonful of jam and dip it in a cup of ice water. If it gels, it’s ready to be jarred. If not, boil for another minute and test again.
9. Use a ladle or big spoon to fill the sterilized jars. Leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top.
10. Use the magnetic lid lifter to cover, making sure to clean the jars before placing the tops on. Screw on the lid.
11. After all the jam is canned, place in about 2 inches of water and boil for 5 minutes (or more, depending on altitude). You will hear the tops POP, either while they are boiling or after when they are cooling. If you don’t hear the pop after a while, try boiling again or just put the jam in the fridge and use it right away. It will still be good.
12. The boiled jars should last about a year (’til next summer).
This recipe made 10 6-oz jars of jam.
Summertime means it’s time to preserve the sweetest and best tasting fruits to enjoy during the winter months. We made this during the peak fruit season and sold them at a local bake sale (we weren’t able to attend, but we heard they sold out fast! Did you buy one? What did you think?, but we’ve neglected to share it with you until now. Sorry about that, the pictures had been hiding somewhere, but we uncovered them on Adele’s camera. (You remember Adele, right?)
Ooh, so this was when I impulsively bought a bottle of blue nail polish on a trip to Duane Reade. You can see it in the corner of this picture; cool, huh:
This was our first time making jam with stone fruits, and it was a bit different than the raspberry and fig-strawberry kinds. First of all, there was a lot more chopping involved, and most importantly, it yielded a lot less jam; we only ended up with five jars.
- 5 cups of cubed apricots
- 5 cups cubed nectarine
- 5 cups of sugar
- 1 package of pectin
- Wash, fry, and cube the fruit.
- Sterilize the jars (we use the dishwasher, without soap) and the lids (we put them in a pot of water on the stove, but don’t let them boil).
- Cook all of the fruit in a large pot over high heat. Stir, stir, stir!
- Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with the pectin and add to the sugar. Stir some more, until the mixture comes to a boil. And then keep on stirring until you can’t stir away the boil for a whole minute!
- Add the rest of the sugar and continue stirring until it comes back to a boil. And that’s it, you’ve made jam.
- Just to make sure it jammed, test it: dip a teaspoon into the jam and then dip it into a bowl of ice water. Did it turn into a gel? If so, you’re good. If not, boil some more.
- Now you’re ready to preserve! Fill the jars with jam using a jar funnel. Use a magnetic jar top picker up-er to lift the lids and place them on top of the jars. Then screw the rings on.
- When all of your jars are filled and you’re out of jam, fill a pot with about 2 inches of water and boil the jam jars in there for 5 minutes. You’ll hear the lids pop! And now you have sterile jam. Wasn’t that fun!?
- This will keep for about a year in the pantry. Refrigerate after opening.
If you’ve been following us since the beginning (or if you’ve checked out the archive), you know that our first recipe ever posted was raspberry jam. We couldn’t believe how easy it was to make, how delicious it was, or how quickly our friends and family gobbled it up; we had to make more jam!
What better to do on a day off from work than go berry picking? The farm near us had two options: red raspberries or black raspberries. We chose the reds; they were cheaper.
Six pounds of berries later we headed home, ready to use our brand new canning equipment.
It was surprisingly easy, considering it was our first time making jam. Continue reading