There is nothing better than eating food made from your own fruits and vegetables. We all know about salads and pies, but people forget about the idea of creating a jam. Canning jam is a tradition that goes back centuries as a way to preserve fruits after they have ripened.
Why go to the store for a jar of Smuckers when you can make your very own at home?
Fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries your choice) Pectin and Sugar (quantity depends on the type of fruit used) Jar Funnel Lemon Juice Jars Lids Pot
Step 1: Pick your berries. June, July and August are great times to go berry picking in your own patches or at the many pick-your-own fields. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and others are available around this time of year. If you dont want to pick your own, then buy frozen berries that dont have any sugar or syrup added. You use about 6 cups of berries per batch.
Step 2: Wash the fruit. Wash the fruit thoroughly in cold water and remove any leaves, hulls, etc. You can only use the bare fruit. Go through and pick out any berries that have bad spots and throw them out.
Step 3: Sanitize your jars. The jars need to be sanitized prior to use. Wash them thoroughly in soap and water and then boil them for about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Smash the fruit. This is the fun part. Crushing the fruits helps eliminate any large pieces and lets out the fruits natural pectin. The best way is to do it by hand its just more fun that way.
Step 5: Measure out the sugar and pectin. Each berry requires a different amount of sugar based on its natural sweetness and pectin count. Most boxes of pectin have the measurements already on them. Mix up the appropriate amount for the jam you are going to make, and set them aside. Its good to have this already done before cooking, so you can just add it to the jam.
Step 6: Cook the berries. Place the berries and pectin into a large pot over medium or high heat until it comes to a boil. Dont forget to stir the berries, otherwise they will burn and the whole batch is useless. This is also a good time to place the lids and rings for the jars in hot water to clean and loosen up the gum that helps connect the two parts together.
Step 7: Add the sugar. Mix in the sugar and bring to a boil again, making sure to stir continuously. Let it boil for about a minute. Remove the pot from the heat and remove any foam on the surface.
Step 8: Let the jam begin to set. The jam should start to set as it cools. If not, add a little lemon juice and pectin to the mix and boil again. The lemon juice doesnt affect the taste in small quantities but increases the acidity of the mix. About 1/4 of lemon juice should be enough without hurting the taste.
Step 8: Fill the jars. Fill the jars with jam, being careful not to burn yourself. Fill each jar until is 1/4 inch from the top and add the lid and ring. Clean any excess jam from the sides and place the jars into boiling water. You need about 3 inches of boiling water and keep the jars in for at least five minutes.
Step 9: Cool and store. Let the jars cool and place them in the refrigerator or freezers until used.