Experimenting with jam... Yum!

tavy(6)August 1, 2010

I suppose this belongs in the harvest forum but I'm more inclined to just talk to my neighbors here. :-)

I found a handful of ripe raspberries and blackberries on our new bushes this morning. Literally, less than 1/2 cup total. I wondered if I could make a little bit of jam with them. I did. It's FABULOUS and only took 10 minutes. The almost 1/2 cup of berries made one of those 1/2 cup mini canning jars full.

I've been experimenting with jam the past couple of weeks as it's too hot to go outside.

I tried regular pectin, low sugar pectin, and homemade pectin. By far the best tasting jam is from the homemade pectin. If you have unripe apples and want to know how to make it, I'll be happy to share. I tried two different ways and found the one that worked best for me.


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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I need all the details as if you are talking to a dummy. A tiny bit of jam would be my kind of preserving. Don't hesitate to post anything here. There are only a few of us and we need and look forward to new topics.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 2:57PM
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OK Helen... Here's mini jam for Dummies. :-) It's soooooo simple.

Get some green apples. That's under ripe, NOT ripe green cooking apples. Wash em (don't peel or core), quarter em, throw em in the kettle. For each pound of apples add about 2 cups of water and 1 TBS lemon juice. Cook the stuff for about one hour. I cooked my first batch until it was like applesauce... several hours. It's not as good as the batch I cooked until just soft enough to mash it all up. Put through a food mill or mash up with your favorite mashing device. Dump it all in a jelly bag or a strainer lined with a couple double layers of cheese cloth. Leave it dripping overnight. THAT'S IT. If you want to preserve it, heat it up and put in appropriate size jars. Process in BWB for 10 minutes. I did most of mine in 1/2 pint jars so I could do 1 cup of jam at a time. For my meager 1/2 cup of berries I used 1/2 jar of my pectin.

For acid fruits put this in a pan:
1 cup cut up fruit
1 cup homemade pectin
3/4 cup sugar
(For low acid fruit, add 1 tsp lemon juice per cup of fruit. I made peach jam this way.)

Bring the mixture to a boil. I punch my timer when it boils. Boil until it's jam, about 8 to 10 minutes.

I find keeping a spoon on top of ice cubes, using my stir spoon to drop a teaspoon full onto the cold spoon, waiting a few seconds until the test cools down, and THEN dripping it back into the kettle makes it easier to know when it's ready. When ready it'll sheet from the spoon rather than drip, drip, drip.

-You don't have to use a jelly bag or cheese cloth. It just makes a clearer pectin.

-There is absolutely no 'apple' taste to the jam, which seems odd when half the jam is apple juice.

-You'd think you'd end up with a couple of cups of jam but I end up with just a bit more than the amount of fruit I use.

-I save my lemon and lime rinds in the fridge. I just quartered what I had and threw them in.

Let me know if you try it and how it works for you!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 4:56PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I don't have any unripe apples unless I come across some at the farmer's market. I think you and Glenda are two peas in a pod - industrious gardeners. I will clip your method in case I find some apples later. Thanks for the recipe. It is interesting that is how people got pectin before it was in the grocery store.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 9:09PM
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Robin, how absolutely fascinating.

I have made some small batches of plum jam, just cooked down with sugar, no added pectin that turned out great,but haven't tried actdually making pectin.

I have an old apple tree full of faulty apples dropping daily. I think I will cook up a large batch of DIY pectin and give it a try. Wonder if you could freeze the pectin?

I also did a small batch of jelly using the purple hulls of the Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas. It was surprisingly tasty, sort of grape like with a touch of tart flavor. I used some bulk pectin I bought at an Amish store in Seymour. It didn't jell quite enough to suit me though.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 2:06PM
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I collected info from several web sites on the pectin process. Apparently, the homemade pectin freezes just fine. Until the ice storm a few years back, I would freeze everything. Now, I avoid freezing stuff when it can be canned easily.

Your purple hull jelly is VERY interesting. It's hard to imagine such a thing making such a tasty jelly!

I still have a little problem judging the 'just right' time to stop cooking my jams. I don't like them runny so occasionally I end up making them too stiff. One batch recently, my husband suggested we use as rubber balls. He's so tactful.:-)

I did some tomato jam for the first time. It didn't jell well using some old purchased pectin. I realized we probably wouldn't eat it so I turned it into Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. This we WILL use for dipping all kinds of stuff! When I recooked it I added a bit of homemade pectin. Worked like a charm.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 5:54PM
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Tavy - I'm going to print this out and save it. Thanks for posting it.
I've never made jam. I've helped my mother with jelly and preserves several times. I bought a big stainless steel pot earlier this spring that I think will work ok for pint jars. I just haven't gotten around to trying it yet.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 2:16PM
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Here is a picture of the Purple Hull jelly so you won't think I am totally insane: From Harvest 2010

I think my next little project will be some jam/jelly from Helen's Sungold cherry tomatoes. They are so sweet to begin with they should take much sugar. Now to peel or not to peel?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 6:53AM
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