Homemade jam is one way to take the fresh fruit of summer and enjoy it all year long. You may have wondered how to take the fruit and make delicious, preserved homemade jam. You will find numerous recipes for making homemade jam. The long cooking method, fruit preserves and freezer jam are the most common ways to enjoy homemade jam. Jellies, while equally delicious, are made from only the juice of the fruit.
What is Pectin?
Lets discuss this at the beginning. You may prefer to not add pectin to their jams and jellies. All fruit contains pectin in some amount. Adding the commercial pectin makes the gelling more predictable. In some cases, adding some chopped apple to the fruit will add enough pectin to cause gelling. There are various types of pectin available where canning supplies are sold. Look for Ball Canning brand, Sure-Jel, and Pomonas brand. (I included some links for your convenience) You can try to make a classic jam without adding pectin, but the results may be unpredictable and gelling may not happen.
Long cooking classic jams
Fruit, sugar, lemon juice and pectin are the ingredients in many flavors of jam. The classic form of jam required only crushed fruit and sugar that was cooked together for a long time. The cooking time is reduced by the addition of pectin. Fruit has naturally occurring pectin but some fruits have more than others. Adding pectin reduces the time needed to achieve gelling. Jam is firm yet not solid or stiff. It is easily spreadable.
Preserves are a softer set version of jam and often contain larger chunks of the fresh fruit. Sugar and pectin may be added to gel the ingredients. The cooking time when using sugar and pectin is less than when only using the cut up fruit. Preserves do not hold their shape when spooned from the jar. The fruit’s natural flavor may be more intense in preserves.
Freezer jam requires no cooking and only needs a small amount of boiling water to dissolve the pectin. Begin your freezer jam
with mashing the carefully measured fruit. Next you will add the sugar. Low sugar is all the rage but make sure you use a recipe specifically written for low sugar. The sugar not only assists the pectin and adds sweetness, sugar also helps preserve the fruit.
How long does homemade jam last?
How long it lasts in the fridge will depend partly on what kind of jam you make. How much sugar was in the recipe? The acid level and the type of fruit also contributes to the storage time. Lighter colored fruit may darken over time and not look as appealing. The National Center for Home Food Preservation
recommends that home canned jam and jelly products be used in a year’s time. I am not disagreeing with this, however I have used ours after the jams had been stored longer than a year. Of course, if you notice any sign of spoilage, mold, unpleasant odor, the product should be discarded. I like to pour the jam into some attractive jars
, process in the water bath canner, and wrap in brown paper and twine for gift giving.
Freezer jams can be kept frozen for a long time. The jam will maintain it’s flavor for a year or more. Once thawed and opened, the jam should be used with in three or four weeks.
Here’s another tip for you. If you are crunched for time during fresh fruit season, most fruits freeze well and can be used later to make jams and jellies! Isn’t that a wonderful plan? You can read more about freezing fruits here.
Canning Homemade Fruit Jams Using the Hot Water Bath Canner
Since most fruit is acidic in nature, the hot water bath canner can be used to process and seal the jars of jam. The canning process will vary slightly with each type of fruit or combination, although most do not require a lengthy processing time. Always follow the USDA guidelines for safe, at-home canning. These guidelines are followed in Ball’s Bluebook Guide to Preserving
. Always start with hot clean jars and lids, and clean equipment. Bring the water in the canner to a boil before adding the jars of homemade jam. After the jars are added, wait for the canner to return to a boil. Now you will start to time the canning process. Carefully follow the instructions given in the homemade jam’s recipe. When the processing time is up, remove the jars, using the jar lifter tool. Place the jars on the counter where they can sit undisturbed for at least 24 to 48 hours. The jam can even take up to two weeks to fully set. You should resist the urge to turn the jars upside down to check for gelling or setting. Most batches of homemade jam set up without a problem but if you do have a batch that does not gel, it is possible to follow instructions and recook the batch and can it again.
Keep reading! There’s more goodness coming up!
Try this Jam and Jelly Recipe Book!
A friend of mine wrote a small book on the topic of making jams and jelly last year. I wanted to let you all know about it then, but life got in the way, and then it really wasn’t jam making season so……
But right now it is! and this is the perfect time to take a look inside this gem of information. If you have read this far I am hoping you will read a little further because, not only do I have a copy that I treasure, I have an extra copy to share with one of you. If you leave me a comment below, including your email address, I will enter your name in a drawing to win one copy of Fiercely DIY Guide to Jams, Jellies, and Fruit Butters
, by Kathie N. Lapcevic The Drawing will take place after midnight on July 29th.
Any comment entries after that will not be included in the drawing. I can only afford to mail the book within the USA. (I am sorry! I love my Canadian friends!) Guide to Jams, Jellies, and Fruit Butters has some really tasty combinations in it. I am going to have to try the Cowboy Coffee Jelly and if you know me, you understand! Maybe Cherry Butter is more your style? And what about using the homemade jams and jellies as gifts? So much information is packed into this little book!
Recipes for Homemade Jam
One of my favorite recipes for homemade jam is made with apple and pear. You can vary this recipe, too, such as adding a touch of bourbon or vanilla if you like that sort of yumminess. You will love the recipe even just the way it is written. You can check out Pear Apple Jam here.
There’s a recipe in this post from Commonsensehomestead, that I just have to try. Do you love a strawberry banana combination as much as I do? This recipe for Strawberry Banana Jam had my mouth watering at the thought. I was going to pull another recipe from her site, but really, this whole link takes you to some amazing jam and jelly recipes plus tips on jam and jelly making. Homemade Jams and Jellies
Freezer Jam that uses no sugar but gets it sweetness from the fruit and honey! Yes! Be sure to try
15 minute Strawberry Freezer Jam from Livin, Lovin, Farmin.
Another low sugar added recipe for Peach Jam from Learning and Yearning. Low sugar peach jam is one of my favorites!
and Sunshine Strawberry Jam is on my must try list from Reformation Acres. Boy I am going to be busy after collecting all of these recipes!
Why make plain blueberry jam when you can make it Vanilla Blueberry Jam like Idlewilde Alaska did. And don’t miss her recipe for Strawberry, Rhubard, Balsamic Jam too. I have used the Ball Fresh Tech Jam and Jelly Maker that she used for these recipes and highly recommend it. If stirring jam and jelly over a hot stove is more than you can bear to think about, this is your answer! pssst I also noticed that this machine has come down A LOT in price since I bought mine.
Want to Try Making Jam Without Pectin?
Preparednesss Mama has a wonderful post on Making Jam without Pectin
How about a few Jelly Recipes?
GrowForageCookFerment is ever so creative! Can’t wait to try this Making Jelly with Hard Apple Cider
Reformation Acres and Homestead Honey each have delicious ideas for making jelly from peach peels.
I love this one for Spiced Apple Jelly from Reformation Acres too. Because Apple Spice anything is going to be tasty!
If you have a crabapple tree maybe you will like this recipe for Crab Apple Jelly from Learning and Yearning.
Most intriguing type of jelly to me is Lilikoi or Passion Fruit Jelly. Kris from Attainable Sustainable sent this recipe my way. Guess I need a tropical vacation to go with my jelly!
Check back! I will be adding recipe links to this post from time to time.
Are you a jam and jelly maker? Do you use them as gifts? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to enter to win a copy of DIY Guide to Jams, Jellies and Fruit Butters