Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Making Homemade Jam

There is nothing in this world like homemade jam on your toast in the morning. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and the list goes on. Maybe you buy your jam at a farmer's market.... but why when you can make your own! Making jam is really a simple process and the rewards.... well there is the jam, but there is also the pride in doing it yourself and knowing what is in your jam.

The first time I ever made jam, I purchased a bunch of strawberries on sale at a local grocery store. I had heard of making freezer jam but I wanted to do it on the stove top just like my grandparents. As I stood in the checkout line I struck up a conversation with a little old lady behind me. When she heard what I had planned for all those berries she said "your gonna burn yourself!" Curse that evil woman, I did indeed get a little burn from splashing boiling berries because I had my temp to hot!! But that is the only time I was ever burned and I am still pinning it on the old lady and her bad juju.


Like many of you first time jam makers, you can read a million and one different recipes on how to make jam. I was aghast when one recipe for strawberry jam called for 10 cups of sugar! This is what I mean by controlling what is in your jam. No fruit jam needs that much sugar, ever. I mean seriously, fruit is sweet on its own. Now I am not saying you can't and I don't add some sugar but 10 cups is ridiculous!

So how do you make jam with so many recipes out there? Who do you trust? You trust yourself! If 10 cups of sugar sound atrocious, then don't do it. Common sense goes a long way in making jam. The first step though is to get your hands on a bunch of berries. Sure you can buy them at your standard store or farmers market or you can go to a u-pick farm. Heck, get crazy and grow or forage your own. I love being able to go in the backyard and pick raspberries or walk in a friends woods collecting up blackberries.

Once you have your berries, you need to clean them and prep them for boiling. Wash your berries and like with strawberries, remove tops and cores. Look at your berries and ask a few questions..... Do they have lots of big seeds, like blackberries or lots of skin that might not break down like blueberries? Depending on the nature of the fruit, your next step will be different. For things like strawberries, I just pop them in a food processor and make them into a lovely mush. But for things with"chunk" issues, like seeds and skins, I run them through a hand crank food mill. Why? Because no one wants to bite a big old seed or have skin caught between there teeth. I have had people tell me they hate blackberry jam, only to try ours and love it! A little extra attention to detail makes a better jam.

Once your have your berries mushed, put them in a pot over a medium heat and bring them to a boil. Be patient as the fruit heats.... remember you don't want to burn yourself like I did. Once your have your fruit doing a nice rolling boil, it is time to "add" what ever you want, be it sugar or spices. I add sugar just a little at a time till it tastes right to me. And I love to add cinnamon to my blueberries, which gives it an amazing taste. Jam making is about personal taste, that is why you make your own recipe as you go. Have fun with it!

Once I have the flavor where I want it on a batch of jam, I add the pectin. I use the SureJell, no/less sugar need kind. I usually use one 1.75 oz box when I make up a batch of jam. I have found the less sugar I us, the less pectin I need. Once the sugar, spices and pectin are added in, I bring my pot back to a boil and let it set for ONE minute. I then pour it off into pint jars and water bath can them. The next morning with out fail, my jams have always set up nicely.


**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**

14 comments:

  1. I love jam making! During the weekend, I made plum jam and i also use pectine. The pectine I find here in Italy is called "fruttapec" and it needs sugar added, but only 350 gr for 1 kg fruits and the jam tastes great. Boling for a short time, the colour is also wonderful and bright. I have only few blueberries so I can't try the jam, but I hope to have more next summer! Hugs from Italy

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    1. My great-grandparent were from Italy and Sicily! So Hugs back from an American with close ties! I have never made plum. We mostly do berries. I bet the color of the plum is beautiful.

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  2. OK seriously we are kindred spirits! I commented on the meal worm post the other night....I'm just now getting a chance to go to the beginning n read your blog and lo and behold its about making jam!!! Today I made my first ever jam! Raspberry vanilla jam with raspberries from my yard! It was fun! I also made cherry almond pie filling for the first time! I'm excited to read the rest of your blog now!! Love jl -

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  3. Thanks for sharing how you make your jam. I've canned just about everything but that. Maybe it's time I try it!

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    1. You should! It really is such an easy thing to do.

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  4. Great post Mindie, Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your fantastic blog post on #TheWeekendSocial ! I am always thrilled to see your amazing contributions to the Link Party! I hope to see you again this Thursday at 9 PM EST.
    XoXo
    Heidy L. McCallum

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  6. My boys and I are going wild berry picking today so this couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday. I've pinned and shared with the world. I've also selected you as my featured post this week. Swing by The 104 Homestead and grab your badge :-)

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    1. We just finished picking our wild black raspberries and are going blueberry picking (at a u-pick) this weekend. Jam season is upon us!!!! LOL Thanks for the feature.

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  7. Thank you so much for linking up at Teach Me Tuesday linky party last week. We hope to see you again this week. http://3glol.net/2014/07/21/teach-tuesday-13/

    Have a wonderful week!!

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