Jam Session

Today I made black raspberry jam. I make it a few times a year along with red raspberry and strawberry. We eat a lot of PB&J around here along with jam on bagels and toast. It is even used in my Christmas Linzer cookies. I am blessed to have a wonderfully thoughtful grandmother who cans organic berries in juice and gives it to me to make jams and jellies from. My grandfather grows and harvests the berries, my grandmother processes them into juice and I make jam. It is a family affair!

Here is a step by step tutorial on jam making, it is actually quiet simple and makes lots of jam. Make sure you gather all of your supplies before you start. This process goes fairly quickly but you cannot take your eyes off of it. And as a word of warning, don’t try to cut the sugar back to make this healthier – it is the sugar that allows the jam to set.

What you will need:
Tongs
Oven mitts for taking the jars out of the boiling water bath
8 small canning jars
8 brand new lids
8 metal rings
Approx 5 cups of crushed berries (whatever you like but strawberries, black raspberries, red raspberries all work well)
1 box fruit pectin (Any national or store brand)
Entire 5# bag of sugar (you won’t use it all but you will use a lot of it)
1/2 teaspoon of butter (optional)

Directions (taken from instructions in the fruit pectin box):

Wash all jars, lids and rings in the dishwasher right before starting this process. The jars should still be hot when you start. Put the lids into a small pot of boiling water and keep them there while you are making jam.

Bring boiling water to a simmer in a large stock pot.
Prepare your fruit using the charts included in the package of fruit pectin.

Measure exact amount of prepared fruit (or juice if you are making jelly) into a 6-8 quart saucepot. For black raspberry, I use 5 cups of crushed fruit in juice.

Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl. For black raspberry, I use 6 1/2 cups of sugar but the chart on the fruit pectin will tell you how much sugar you will need.

Stir in 1 box of pectin into the fruit in the saucepot. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to reduce foaming, if desired. I know this doesn’t look great but it is just the pectin powder floating on the top before I stirred it.

Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. This can take several minutes, be patient.

Stir in sugar quickly.

Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. skim off any foam.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads with a damp cloth. Cover with metal lid and screw in ring.

Place jars upright in simmering pot of water and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Process jars for 10 minutes when making jam, 5 minutes for jelly.

Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, the lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.

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