I did it! I made jam this summer. I used to make preserves every summer, and then a couple of cookbooks and a food cart got in the way. You know how life goes. But I was determined that this would be the summer I start making jam again.
It probably helps to pick 15 to 20 pounds of fruit first. Because you can’t let it rot. You have to do something with it. Inevitably, my husband will take a look at all of my berry filled buckets sitting on the kitchen table and ask “you are planning on using these, right?”. My response is always the same “of course. I’m going to make jam. And freeze some whole berries. Maybe even make a pie or two as well”. And that’s when I know I’ve got to get to work. I’ve found that you only have a day or two with fresh berries, before the fruit starts going south.
So this summer I made about 30 jars of strawberry jam and sauce, and about 22 jars of raspberry jam. Because I had to be super speedy with the whole canning process, I cheated and used powdered pectin. Check out the Ball website for their recipes and videos on preserving. Personally I don’t think it’s that much of a cheat, and the pectin helps give the jam the correct jell (aka pretty fool-proof). So that’s what I did. Nothing fancy this time around, no crazy herbs or spices or zest to be added. Just fresh berries, organic sugar and pectin.
And let me just say, that the flavor of homemade jam is really awesome. It was worth the 4 days that it took, the steamy kitchen, the huge pots on the stove, the sticky counter tops and the berry stains on the cupboards. There’s nothing like homemade jam.
I’m planning another couple of jam days this Fall. I’m thinking wine jelly and pumpkin butter. Maybe some apple butter too. I’m wondering who else has plans to make jam? What are some of your favorite jams to make?