Friday, July 22, 2011

We Be Jammin'

Today was jam making day in the Fern - blueberry to be specific!  This will be the 3rd year we've been making jam.  When I first started, I had no clue how to begin.  During my web search I came across the Pick Your Own website and followed their step-by-step illustrated instructions.  The result?  Perfect jam every time!  If you want all the details, go to their site, but  I'll provide an overview so you can see how easy it is to do!

What you need:  jars, lids, rings, a large canner pot (I just use my largest stockpot), funnel, jar tongs, lid magnet,  pectin, sugar, lemon juice, and around 9 or 10 cups of fruit. 

The first thing to do is sanitize your jars and lids.  You can run them through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle or you can wash, then boil for 10 minutes.  You need to keep them hot while you are prepping your jam so the jars won't break.  I boiled mine and filled up the sink with very hot water and let them soak until I was ready to fill.

Next you need to wash and sort your berries.  I just put mine in a colander, wash thoroughly, and discard any stems, leaves, or squishy ones.

Next, add berries to a large pot and mash 'em up!  This is your chance to work out any frustrations from the day and give your arms a work out!  Make sure you don't leave any whole berries.  As you do this, the smell will captivate's ahhhhmazing!!!

Next, you will add the pectin/sugar mixture and the lemon juice.  Then the remaining sugar, bring to a boil, and do a gel test to see if it sets up like you want it to.  If not, just add a little more pectin and bring to a boil.   Here's my little helper sneaking a taste while I'm doing the gel test!  Don't even ask why she has long sleeve Christmas pjs on.  It's only 100 degrees outside, she's making me sweat looking at her! 

Now the fun part - filling the jars with all the blueberry goodness!  By the way, you should have your large stockpot full of boiling water so you can drop your filled jars in.  Using your funnel, fill each jar, put a lid and ring on, then drop into the boiling water.  I usually let mine boil for 10 minutes.  After they are finished, remove each with the jar tongs and set out  to cool.

Then you wait for that beautiful popping sound!  That means the jars are sealed!  Let them cool overnight and your beautiful homemade jam is ready to store or give.  I love keeping jam on hand for gifts.  Everyone loves to get a gift made with love and what says love better than a big spoonful of sweet fruity jam made with your very on hands???!!!  I hope this inspires you to get in the kitchen and pump up the jam!

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