Jam making is one of my favorite summer activities! Take the sweetest fresh organic fruit and berries and turn it into a spread that you can enjoy all year long on toast, waffles, scones, poundcake and yogurt. It is EASY to do and very satisfying.
Most fruit has its own natural pectins for thickening that are enhanced by lemon juice. Other fruits ( like cherries) need a bit of pectin as they will stay syrupy. This technique of making jam without pectin give you a very spreadable/spoonable jam that is wonderful and has much more fruit in it that store bought jam with corn syrup and pectins to hide the fact that they are trying to use less fruit ( as fruit is the most expensive ingredient in the mix).
1) Start with 2.2 lb ( better to weigh the cut up fruit as measuring in a cup is not as accurate) cleaned, pitted, sliced fresh organic fruit like Strawberries or apricots in a large bowl. The MOST important part of choosing the fruit is to start with the BEST tasting fruit you can find. Don’t buy bruised berries or old fruit on sale for this project, it isn’t worth it. You can capture great taste if you start with it! The sugar won’t make up for anything that wasn’t there to start with. Stir in juice of one large lemon.
2) Add 3 cups of sugar ( you can use a bit less or more, depends on your tastes) and mix well. Put into large pot ( I used a copper kettle that is designed for making jam as copper conducts heat evenly) and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly.
3) Let boil for about 10-15 minutes until foam on top clears and jam temperature ( measure with a candy thermometer) reaches 212 degrees, or a drop of the jam put on a chilled plate holds its shape nicely.
4) While the jam is boiling, you need to follow instructions for the glass canning jars and lids (Mason jars) so they are cleaned and boiled and ready for the hot jam to be poured in.
5) Once the jam has finished cooking, ladle into a large cup or bowl with a spout and pour into the heated clean jars nearly to the top of the rim. Carefully wipe any drips off around the glass jar rim and place the lids on and tighten them down. Place into your hot water bath ( same large pot that you heated the jam jars in) and boil gently for 8-10 minutes. Remove from pot ( there are special tongs you can buy that grip onto the lids of the mason jars, these are worth getting!) and place on tray or counter to cool. As they cool, a vacuum forms that pulls the metal lids down and creates the seal. If this doesn’t happen and the metal tops are still bubbled up, then there wasn’t a good seal and you should refrigerate that jar and eat up the jam within 2-3 weeks. You will get the hang of it after you do it the first time!
Makes wonderful homemade gifts and a great way to use up your garden fruit if you have a lot of fruit ripening at once. Try different fruits and combinations of fruit!