Tuesday, July 28, 2009

DIY: I Wanna Jam It With You

Oregon is a fruity place. And so I made jam. Golden Plum Rum Jam to be exact.

Making jam is easier than many people think and once you try it, I think you'll agree. So here is a little jam making tutorial to help you get started. But to make it fun let's infuse some Bob...of the Marley variety, that is.

We're jammin'
You'll need some supplies, so here is a quick list:
-boiling water canner or a big, deep pot with a lid, and a canning rack (for processing the jars)*
-jars with lids and bands. ALWAYS use new lids. You can reuse both the jars and the bands.
-large, deep saucepan (for cooking the jam)
-measuring cups
-spoons, ladles, and a funnel if you want
-I find rubber gloves extremely helpful since there's a lot of heat involved
-a good recipe (and whatever it calls for; sugar, pectin, juice or water, etc.)**
*On the boiling water canner, if you ask around to friends, family, or church members, you are bound to find someone who will let you borrow or even have theirs. I have my grandmother's and even though it's old, it works like a charm. They don't need to be fancy, and I wouldn't under any circumstances pay the 40 bones that Fred Meyer was asking for theirs.
**There are always recipes in the packages of pectin that you buy. These are usually good to start with because they're basic and simple. If you want to get a little fancier though, you can always turn to your cookbooks or the internet. In addition, for your first time I would recommend a fruit that does not contain a pit or large seed. Unless it's a peach or something big and easy to work with, I wouldn't mess with cherries, chokecherries, japanese plums, or their ilk unless you really, REALLY want to. I know this from experience. Miserable, miserable experience. Chokecherries are the devil.
To think that jammin' was a thing of the past(!)
Now we prepare.
First wash your jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. We do this because nobody likes botulism. You may set the rings aside and dry them at this point, however, your jars and lids will need to be kept HOT at all times. This is so they won't crack when you pour boiling hot jam into them. I keep mine in a sink of hot water. Some leave everything in the hot dishwasher until ready to use. Either way is fine.
Here are my cleaned jars and lids.
Here they are in hot, hot water, waiting to be filled with jam.

Prep your fruit. Wash, slice, pit, chop, puree, juice, whatever your recipe calls for. Here I used japanese plums. They're about the size of a cherry, and they're heavenly. However, they have a pit and not a lot of meat and it took me a good two hours to chop the amount I needed to make one batch of jam. Hence my above recommendation to avoid such types of fruit.
Now follow the recipe and make your jam! This tutorial, if you haven't noticed already, is for cooked jam.
Here is my jam, just a cookin' away on the stove (that's a cinnamon stick, not a twig).
While my jam is cooking, I get my canner ready by filling it about halfway with water and then I get it started simmering. This way you will be able to fill your jars and immediately put them in the canner to process, instead of waiting for a ton of water to boil.
After your jam is done cooking, it's time to fill the jars! This is where you might want to don those lovely rubber gloves. You will be handling hot jars filled with even hotter jam. Many people use a funnel for this part, and it would be handy and neat, but I don't have one so I just use a ladle.
Here I am filling the jars while my microwave gets a facial courtesy of the canner.

Only fill your jars to within a 1/4 '' of the top of the jar. Once they are all filled, wipe off any excess that might have gotten on the threads with a clean, damp washcloth. Next, set your lids on top and gently screw your bands on. Only do this till they are finger tight, not crazy tight. Otherwise, your jars may not seal.
Next, simply set them in the canner to process! There should be about an inch of water over the lids of the jars. Your recipe should tell you how long to process your jam, but I always do it for 10 minutes. Higher altitudes require longer processing times.
Jammin' till the jam is through

When the processing time is over, remove the jars from the bath and set them in a place where they will be undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. This is always my favorite part because you can hear the occasional POP! POP! of the lids as they seal. If after 24 hours you are able to push on the lid and it goes up and down, it is not sealed. You can either refrigerate the unsealed ones and use the jam within three weeks, or you can reprocess in the canner with a new lid.

And I hope this jam is gonna last

After jam is cooled and jars are sealed, wipe off the jars, label them, and then store them in a cool, dark place. The jam is good for up to a year.

I hope you like jammin' too


Liv said...

I wish I could be a good housewife like you.

Kimba said...

I made cherries for Wy and spent AGES pitting them. Honestly, I think I lost about 3 years of my life, and my fingers were this disgusting shade of grey after I'd washed them, I looked dead.

So maybe I lost a few more years that I'd thought.

This looks amazing, and I've never done cooked jam, because I'm lazy and freezer is easy. :) It looks rewarding, and uh, also takes up less space in my tiny freezer. Way to go!

And you look adorable, bytheway. Can't wait to see you.

Kimba said...

I think I talked in three different "tenses" there.

It's 9, I should be more awake than that.

The Kilpacks said...

Abs, Loved your post! I've made jam a few times and it's so easy! I did apricot strawberry last year! Yummy!

Mellanee said...

Great Job Belina!!!

Adam and Tara said...

Abby! I love making jam and I work at an online canning company... so I've got the hookups if you need any more supplies :)

Abby said...

Tara! Are you for realsies?! What's the website?

Adam and Tara said...

it's www.canningpantry.com :)