How to make jam:
The difference between jam and jelly is that jelly is made from the fruit juice, whereas jam is made from the whole crushed fruit. Making jam is a great way to preserve fruit and if done properly jam/jelly can last for years. Making jam is beautifully simple and requires a minimal amount of supplies. All you need are some basic canning supplies, fruit, sugar, and water.
Pectin: Pectin is popularly used for making jam and marmalade. Pectin increases the “jell strength of jam,” i.e. makes it less runny. The name pectin derives from the Greek word meaning congealed or curdled. Pectin contains the primary cell walls from plants. It is typically extracted from citrus fruits. Fruit used for making jam will naturally have it’s own pectin which will be activated in the jam making process. However, some people find it advantageous to add a little extra.
Supplies: Jam is quite simple to make and requires very little in terms of supplies and ingredients.
Pots: You will need a small, medium, and large pot. The small pot is for boiling the lids of your canning jars in order to make sure they are sanitary. The medium pot if for making your jam and the large pot is for boiling the sealed jars.
Canning Jars: You will need canning jars for storing your jam.
Bowl: You will also need a large bowl for mashing up the fruit or berries that you will be using for making the jam.
Metal Tongs: You will need some metal tongs for removing the lids and jars from the boiling pot.
Funnel:Having a funnel will make it much easier to transfer the jam from the pot to the jars.
Step By Step Directions For Making Jam:
Step 1: The first thing you want to do is prepare and measure out all of your ingredients and make sure that your canning jars have been thoroughly cleaned.
Step 2: Put your chopped up fruit or berries into a large bowl and make sure they are thoroughly mashed up. It’s generally easiest to just mash the fruit/berries with your hands.
Step 3: Put the mashed up berries/fruit into a steaming pot of water. The amount of water you use will depend on the recipe. Typically recipes call for an equal amount of water to fruit (in terms of weight). Most recipes also call for the addition of sugar (usually cane sugar). Typically recipes call for an equal part sugar to fruit (again in terms of weight). This is also the point in which you will want to add your pectin (amount will vary depending on the recipe).
Bring the mashed fruit, water, and sugar to a temperature of 220 degrees F. The reason for this is that at 220 degrees F the natural acid and the pectin in the fruit will react with the sugars. It’s this reaction between the acid, pectin, and sugar that causes the Jam to set after cooling. If you don’t have a thermometer you will want to bring the mixture to a good boil. Once the mixture have been brought you a boil, gently skim off the foam on top. You should let the jam boil for 5-8 minutes. If you let it boil too long you may ruin your batch. If you don’t let it boil long enough the natural acid, pectin, and sugars wont have enough time to react with each other.
Step 4: While the mixture is heating up you set your jars out and put their lids into a pot of hot water in order to sanitize them. After 5-8 minutes you can use you funnel to transfer the jam to your canning jars. Once this is done you can cover the jars with their lids and screw them down.
Step 5: After you have securely attached the lids you will want to submerge the jars into a large pot of boiling water with a lid. Let them sit in the pot of boiling water for 20 minutes. The reason for this is to kill any bacteria that may linger. Bacteria loves sugar and will multiply quickly in jam.
After 20 minutes has passed, remove the jars of jam, wipe them off, and let them site for 24 hours so the jar can seal and the jam can set.