Bird in Hand Farm

Bird in Hand Farm is an imaginary place.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We're Jamming!

Yes, that is a hokey title.

We decided to make jam.  My Mom used to make jam when I was a kid.  The Farmer and I gave away mini jams as wedding favors.  I remember at the end of the party his Grandfather telling his Grandmother to put as many of the leftover jars as she could in her purse.  It was cute.

Anyway, we have not made jam in a few years.  Recently the kid has figured out that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are pretty good.  I'm hoping that homemade jam will knock her socks off.
We made a mixed berry jam using: most of a 5# bag of frozen strawberries that the Farmer picked up at Maine's (a restaurant supply store), a bag of mixed berries I found in the back of the freezer, the raspberries we picked this summer, and finally, some of the blueberries we picked at Stan's Berry Patch. 

The Farmer also found pectin at Maine's.  He called me and was asking what kind to get, but his cell phone kept cutting out in the store so he would go outside to call me back.  But, by the time he got out there he had forgotten what the two different kinds were.  I was telling him "Why are you asking me what kind to get when you cant remember what they are?  Just read the box and get the ones that say jam."  My co-workers were laughing at me.
Today, we played with the berry lava.  The actual process of making jam is really easy.
1. Prep your jars and supplies
2. Prep your fruit, measure it, and dump in big pot
3. Dump in pectin and bring to a boil.
4. Dump in a ton of sugar and bring back to a boil
5. Jar (the big deal here is that the rims are clean so you get a good seal)
6. Boil the jars and make sure that the lid "pops" down to ensure that it is sealed.
Read the directions.  Pay close attention to the stuff that needs to be sterile.  But, don't be intimidated by canning.  It took us just over 2 hours start to finish, but it did not demand our constant attention.  It would have been less time, but we made a triple batch.  We ended up with 22 jars.  We would have had 23, but for the first time ever, a jar broke while it was in the boil.  Not sure what caused it, but if it was meant to be I'm glad it happened in the canner, not on my counter.
It's easy to read a jam recipe and start to go into a hyper-glycemic shock because of the massive amounts of sugar the recipe calls for.    They do make pectin formulated for low/no sugar recipes, but in my experience it does not set well.  The trick is to mix the two in double or larger batches.  A double batch with one of the regular and one of the low sugar versions will cut the sugar in half.   Today's batch is a 2/3 regular-1/3 low sugar recipe.

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