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 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.**