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Jam is in Season

I just have to blog about jam. Before this fall I had never made it. I've done some canning in the last few years. Mainly pickles and picked onions, so I thought I'd try my hand at jam. I get a lot of rhubarb in the summer and really enjoy working with fruit and I though,"How hard can it be?" Not hard at all! I loved it and so far I've made and canned 151 jars of jam and Apple Butter, and my newest venture fruit syrup. This jam from start to finish once it's in the pan only takes about 12 minutes to make.

You can do this too, and I am here to give you wonderful recipes and tell you how easy it can be. Here 's a list of the several ones I've made so far.

-strawberry jam
-strawberry/rhubarb jam
-strawberry/raspberry jam
-rhubarb jam
-cherry jam
-nectarine jam
-nectarine/cinnamon jam
-nectarine/cinnamon/apple jam
-peach jam
-peach/cinnamon jam
-peach/blueberry/ jam
-peach/blueberry syrup
-peach/strawberry syrup
-apple butter
-pear butter

I used my basic recipe and modified the sugar depending on what I wanted to have and how sweet the fruit was. My husband loves a low sugar strawberry jam so for his I added half the sugar.

Here's the recipe:

5 1/4 cups strawberry or what ever fruit you want to use.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. margarine or butter
8 1/2 cups sugar
1 box of pectin

Put your fruit, 1 tsp. margarine, lemon juice and pectin in a large pan. Bring to boil on med-high heat. Stirring often. Bring to a full boil, start timing when it reaches a roiling boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Then add the sugar and watch the magic happen. Boil 4 more minutes, then the jam is ready to be canned or store in fridge.
For best results don't double this recipe.

Tips:

*What best way to learn this recipe except to try it. I use any fruit I want to at the time. If using more than one type I do 1/2 and 1/2. But sometimes if you don't have a lot of one thing you can add more of some and less of another. When doing the straw/raspberry jam, I did 1 1/2 cups raspberries to 4 cups strawberries. So you can pick and choose according to what you have. I've been finding this has been a wonderful way to use all the excess frozen fruit in my freezer. Just totally thaw it before using and it's wonderful.

*When making rhubarb jam you do need to precook the rhubarb, which is really easy. Just put as much chopped up rhubarb as you want and fill a pan. It will cook down to about 1/2 of what you started with. Then add about 1/2 cup sugar and turn to med high. Cook until it comes to a boil.(if for some reason it seems a bit dry add a 1/2 cup of water) turn a bit lower so it doesn't splatter all over and cook until a soupy thick mixture. Then it's ready to add to your other fruit mixtures or make jam with just the rhubarb.

*The butter or margarine that you add for the recipe is for keeping the foam down when it boils. It works really well.

*I've noticed when making the jam some fruits are sweeter than others. If you do rhubarb you want the full 8-9 cups of sugar. You may not want to cut back on that.
-Peach and nectarine did not need as much. I only used 3 1/2 cups sugar.
-1/2 strawberry-1/2 raspberry 7 cups sugar
- Peach/cinnamon, I added 1-2 tsp. cinnamon and 3 1/2 cups sugar
-Low sugar strawberry 4 1/2 cups sugar
-Cherry 5 cups sugar
-Low sugar cherry 3 cups sugar

This gives you a bit of an idea on playing with the sugar amounts.

Ok this is another fun aspect about making jam, the canning of jam with NO WATER-BATH! Yes I've said it, I do not water-bath my jam. Here's the simple steps to canning this jam.

-You need jars, magnetic wand, wet washcloth, silicone mitt, ladle and funnel.
1. Wash and rinse your jars in hot water.
2. Place in the oven at 250 degrees. You don't need it hotter than this, it can break your jars when putting the jam in. Let sit in the oven for at least 10 minutes.
3. Place you lids and collars in a quart sauce pan full of water. Bring to a boil and keep boiling until your done canning.
4. When jam is done take a jar out of the oven with your silicone mitt, place funnel in the jar and with a ladle fill the jar with the jam to 1/4" from the top.
5. Take your wet wash cloth and wipe the rim of the jar to make sure it will seal properly.
6. Using your magnetic wand take a lid out of the boiling water and place it on the jar then take a collar and screw it on to hand tight. You don't have to get it too tight.
7. Place a dry towel on your counter top and place the sealed jar of jam upside down onto the towel and leave it for at least a 1/2 hour.
8. Your jam is done! When it cools flip it over and test the seal by pressing down in the center of the lid. If it pops back at you it did not seal. If there is no give it has sealed and can then be shelved in your pantry.

That's it! It's a wonderful way to make jam and you'll love it. I've given a lot away as gifts already. I make a batch just out of the blue to use some fruit up. Grab some jars and away you go...

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