Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yes, I Can!

And I can say that now! Yay!

I've wanted to learn how to make jam ever since I watched the episode of Friends where Monica goes on a jam making binge and Joey gets addicted to jam. I know, lame. But it looked so cool! The problem? I don't really like to eat jams and jellies and things of that nature. Therefore I never bothered to learn.

Now I'm married, and I have a husband and a little boy. They do happen to like jam. This led me to revisit my desire to learn to make my own. Last year I started small by making freezer jam. It was really good, and I even liked the combination of blackberries and strawberries that I used! This year, I decided to go big - I was going to finally learn how to process my jam so that it could be kept in the pantry instead of the freezer.

This is big, y'all. And a little scary, because if you don't do it right you can waste not only the money in supplies (berries aren't cheap!) but you can make everyone very, very sick. I also had visions of jars exploding in boiling water, sending shards of glass and sticky fruit all over the kitchen. No guts, no glory, right?

So I rounded up some supplies.

And some fruit.

And I followed the directions in the box of pectin (supplemented with directions from a couple of different websites), and I made jam!

Check out how hard our water is here.

That's not dust. That's the residue from the hard water after I pulled them out from processing them and they had dried. The clean spot is where I was checking the seal.

Gross, huh? You should have seen the pot I used for sterilizing the jars then processing them. Thank goodness for white vinegar!

I did learn that I couldn't prepare my lids too far in advance because they would be too cool to get a good seal. Of the seven jars I did, five had to be reprocessed due to not sealing, and one of those had to be done a third time! I was so glad I grabbed extra lids.

Of course, when my husband brought in the mail when he got home from work, what should be in the pile but the copy of The Ball Blue Book that I ordered a few days ago! That would have been helpful that morning! It recommends not putting the lids in boiling water and letting them sit, like the internet and pectin said, but rather just letting them simmer at 180 degrees. That makes more sense to me.

I still have some berries left, so I'm doing round two of jam today. While I love the shape of those wide, shallow jars, they didn't fit in my pot very well so I picked up some regular quilted jelly jars last night. I also got a tool set because using regular tongs instead of the canning ones to get the jars out of the boiling water just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.

I also ordered from Bountiful Baskets this week because one of the add-ons was 20lbs of heirloom tomatoes. Guess what I'm processing next week!!!

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Blogger ~M~ said...

You are so talented! I love Bountiful Baskets!

4:59 PM  

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