**Try Your Hand at Making Jam**
Making fresh jam or jelly is a rewarding experience every serious cook should attempt at least once. I remember making my first batch of jelly as a very young wife. It was plum jelly made from the plums of a bountiful tree in my mother-in-law’s backyard. Despite my first time dabbling in jelly-making it turned out decently. Ever since, it’s been a learning curve as I experiment with different types of fruit and berries.
The sweetest berries are at their peak right now! Strawberries, blueberries, and other fruit like cherries are in the supermarket and at local farmers markets, ripe for making jams and jellies. Here in the Pacific Northwest we’re blessed with some of the sweetest strawberries and blueberries you’ll ever taste. Since buying local is an earth-friendly practice and local produce is freshest, here in Kirkland we are lucky enough to actually get strawberries in the store the same day they’re picked! Here’s the reason why from Don Kruse of Skagit Sun Berries:
The Secret to Perfect Jam
I’ve learned a secret over the years that might help you. If your jam or jelly turns out runny, more than likely the culprit is the amount of pectin you’re using. When dissolved and cool, Pectin forms invisible strands that hold liquid in. The riper the fruit you’ve chosen the less Pectin is needed, but if you’re using a fruit like strawberries you need to know they’re lower in natural Pectin than other fruits. Here’s some good info to keep in mind:
TIP: Fruits that are high in Pectin include apples, blackberries, crab apples, gooseberries, grapes and plums.
TIP: Fruits that are low in Pectin include apricots, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, rhubarb and strawberries.
Don’t think that by reducing sugar in your recipe you can increase the pectin you use. Every recipe should have the exact balance between the two for the fruit involved. If you want to use less sugar, find a recipe that calls for less sugar, but where the recipe maker has adjusted other ingredients accordingly. Too much pectin in your jam will just produce an unappealing solid lump. If your jam is runny, start by adding an extra 1 T of Pectin and heat the fruit, sugar and pectin mixture up. This should fix the problem.
TIP: “To test to see how much Pectin is present in a fruit juice or stewed-down fruit, put 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into a glass, and add 1 tablespoon of juice from the fruit (allow the juice to cool for a minute or two first), and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. A jelly-like blob should form. If the blob cannot be fished out with a fork, there’s not enough pectin present to do anything with. If you can retrieve it with the fork, but it hangs down from the tines, you will get a loose gel. If if mostly stays on top of the tines of the fork in a blob, you will have enough pectin to form a very happy gel.” Source – www.Cooksinfo.com/pectin
Strawberry Jam Recipe
Ball, the maker of canning jars and lids, is a good source for learning to make jams or for canning anything. Here is a Strawberry Jam recipe I’ve had good success with. You can click on this image and download a free PDF of this recipe card.
Make Stickers for Jam and Jelly Jars
After making tasty batches of strawberry, cherry or berry jams and jellies you’ll want the jars to look as good as the contents taste. Order your own custom circle stickers for the lids. A two inch circle sticker fits perfectly on 4 ounce and 8 ounce jelly jars from either Ball or Kerr. Two inch circle stickers also fit many regular 8 oz. jar lids. So if you’re into recycling and use empty jars you’ve sterilized for jam-making you’ll find these stickers fit perfectly, just like the recycled jar below.
New Products for Canning and Jam Making
Ball® has new jars in the stores now for canning that have a vintage look. I found these at a local Kroger affiliate store. If you’re part of the mason jar craze for crafters then you’ll appreciate the look of these canning jars.
Ball® also has new lid and rim colors for making your jars stand out. I used their new Design Series Lids with Bands in the regular mouth size in bright green. There was also a brilliant blue color available. I think the green complements the strawberry sticker on top of the lid.
Make Circle Stickers for Your Jams & Jellies
Find these three circle stickers on Bottle Your Brand for your jam or jelly. Very Cherry Jelly, Blueberry Jam and Strawberry Festival are all fully customizable or you can make a circle sticker from scratch. Either way we hope you’ll contact us if you need help making your stickers. Our customers come back year after year and we know it’s because of our excellent labels and stickers as well as our prompt customer service.