Friday, July 29, 2011

Jam Making Basics

A coworker of mine told me about a u-pick blueberry farm near by and I decided that I wanted to try to make blueberry jam with fresh picked blueberries. As luck would have it, the blueberry farm ran out of blueberries...
I called up my cousin Rachael, the food guru, to see if she wanted in on this first time jam making adventure. (she agreed, even though we shared a traumatic incident during our childhood in which Grandma Kregel had a beet explosion while canning that resulted in purple goo all over the ceiling and appliances) We scavenged for fruit at the farmers market and various grocery stores. We found a lot of good information at and in the USDA Home Canning Guide

 The food processor made our lives a lot easier. We also found out that liquid pectin is the secret to making jam set. I have heard stories that powdered pectin makes your jam look more like syrup than jelly.  
 Using the dishwasher to sanitize the jars and keep them warm was much easier than washing and boiling them. We ran one quick wash and then kept running the heated dry cycle.
Overall we used stuff I already had in the kitchen for the canning process; however, Rachael had a Ball utensil set that was very useful.

We ended up making a batch of blueberry jam, a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam, a batch of strawberry lemon marmalade and two batches of strawberry jam. We now have 38 half pint jars to give away! From our official taste testers, the strawberry lemon marmalade received the best reviews. We found this recipe in a Ball cook book.

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade 
1/4 cup thinly sliced lemon peel
4 cups crushed strawberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package of liquid pectin
6 cups sugar
7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
1. COMBINE lemon peel and water to cover in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes, until peel is softened. Drain and discard liquid. Return peel to pan.
3.) ADD strawberries and lemon juice to peel and mix well. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
4.) ADD entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam.
5.) LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. (barely any resistance)
6.) PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (we used a large pot with a steamer basket on the bottom). Remove jars and cool. Let them sit for at least 12 hours and then check lids for seal. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

I made these labels with a graphic from and added text using

Our next foray into home canning will likely include pasta sauce and salsa!

Linked at: theshabbycreekcottage, shabbynest, fingerprintsonthefridge, romantichome, findingfabulousblog, houseofhepworths, graphicsfairy


  1. This looks so good! I'm loving your blog! I am your newest follower! I would love it if you would stop by and become my newest follower back!

    Have a great day!

  2. What a fun project and very inspiring. I am your newest follower.


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