For the past couple of years, I have really looked forward to the bounty of fruit and vegetables summer brings. Well, I have always enjoyed it, but now that I have gotten into canning, I enjoy it even more! To me, there is nothing more satisfying than going to my pantry shelves and seeing rows upon rows of canned goods that I have made myself. Especially jam.
I don’t think we have had to buy jam for a couple of years! And that is saying quite a lot, because my husband takes two to three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches daily in the spring, summer and fall. Not including what the kids and I eat, and maybe what I eat with a spoon. I mean.. what!?
Oh my word, my all-time favorite guilty pleasure snack is ritz crackers with cream cheese and jelly spread on top. Has anyone else ever had that? Be careful, it’s dangerous! You won’t be able to stop at one. Or five.
Okay, back to the main topic. This jam is something I sort of threw together. I picked tons of black berries, but didn’t have quite enough to double the recipe. So, to make up the amount needed, I added blueberries and raspberries. It turned out pretty well in my opinion! You can certainly chose to do the same, as long as you have a total amount of 2 pounds (or 4 pounds if you want to double the recipe)
A few years ago I purchased the Ball utensil set, and it has been the most helpful set yet! I would definitely recommend it. I took a few pictures of the process for those who are new to canning.I apologize for the poor quality. My kitchen is very dark. Happy canning!
- 2 pounds of berries, your choice combination or all one kind
- 4 cups sugar
- Supplies for canning
- half-pint jars with two-piece lids (always make sure the lids are new, but the bands don't have to be)
- canning rack
- two clean dish towels, one slightly damp
- metal tongs or jar lifter
- optional: magnet for picking up lids, funnel, headspace guide
- In a large, heavy bottom pot, combine berries and sugar over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring until the juices begin to flow, about 10 minutes. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook at a boil, until almost to gelling point*, 30-45 minutes. When mixture starts to thicken, stir more frequently to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water. Place canning rack and half-pint jars without two-piece lids in the water, making sure the water covers the jars by 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Keep warm while making jam. Place the two-piece lids in a smaller pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil to sterilize. Set aside.
- To transfer the jam to the jars, I like to set up a little station. (Of course, do whatever feels easiest to you!) I put a hot mat on my counter, and place the pot with preserves on it. Then, I set up a clean dish towel next to the pot. Take out one jar, place funnel on top (if using) and ladle hot preserves in the jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. With the damp dishtowel, clean the top of the jar. Place two-piece lids on the jar, only very lightly tightening down. Set on other end of the dish towel. (You will tighten the lids down after they are cool.) Repeat the process with the remaining jars until the preserves are gone.
- Place the prepared jars back into the canning pot. Cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Immediately remove the jars gently from the pot. Place the jars on the dish towel and let sit until completely cool.
- To check if the lids sealed properly, unscrew the lids and very gently try to pry open the top. If it doesn't come off easily, then it is sealed! Tighten all bands down. Label and store for up to one year.
*To check gelling point: place a small amount of preserves on a plate, place in freezer until cool (about 5-10 minutes). Run finger through the jam, if it separates then slowly returns to original form, it is ready to process.
Recipe adapted from Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving