Is there anything better than summer berries? Not much, unless its homemade berry jam in the middle of winter! My mom makes the BEST! Last year I decided it was time for a lesson from her on the fine art of jam making. When it was all over, I realized how easy it was. If I can do it, you can do it. Here’s how:
Before you begin, wash your jars (you’ll need about twelve 4 oz or six to eight 8 oz), then rinse. Keep them in the sink in good hot water. Place the seal lids in a small pan of water on the stove at low/medium heat. Doing this warms up the rubber ring; and will aid in the seal later.
Gather up a few old dish towels and dish rags; cause you probably make a little bit of a mess. It’s part of the fun!
Ingredients you will need:
3 cups of strawberries 1 ½ cups of black raspberries 1 ½ cups of red raspberries
1 box Sure-jell light 4 ½ cups sugar ½ tsp margarine or butter
1. Wash and mash 6 cups of berries. (I usually use 3 cups of strawberries, 1 ½ cups of red raspberries, and 1 ½ cups of black raspberries.) The measurement is after they’re mashed.
Black raspberries can be hard to find but are well worth the hunt in this recipe. Once you find a good source for them, don’t let them go. Befriend them!
2. Put the berries in a good sized pot and add ½ tsp, margarine or butter, ¼ cup of sugar, and 1 box of Sure-jell Light. If you’ve never made jam before and don’t know what this is, it’ll be in the grocery store right next to the canning jars. I like the “light” because it saves on a little sugar.
Measure out another 4 ¼ cups of sugar and set aside.
3. Turn the stove on to medium high heat and bring the berries to a boil. Now add the other 4 ¼ cups of sugar, stir well and often. Bring it to a boil again for only 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
4. At this point there may be a little bit of foam forming on the top of the hot jam. Try to skim some of it off with a spoon. I just put it in a little dish and you can use it on a piece of bread later. It’s pretty good too!
5. Now it’s time to spoon the jam into the clean, warm jars. I use a gravy ladle. Be prepared to get messy! Carefully ladle the jam into the warm jars and make sure to not be skimpy.
Go just below the top. Set the jar on the counter and wipe the rim clean with a dishrag or paper towel. Use tongs to get the lids out of the pot of warm water and place them on the jar. Screw on the rim and turn jar upside down for about 15 minutes. Go on to the next jar.
6. After the 15 minutes are up, turn them right side up and listen for the lids to “pop.” This is ensuring that they have sealed. Let them sit until they are cool and then they are ready to store.
YOU DID IT! The first time is the hardest, so once you’ve tried it, you’ll be more confident.
I love to give these jams as gifts. When I do, I like to make them look a little special by adding cute jar lid toppers and hang tags. We just received these in our Sweet Bee Gift Shop at L.J. Wagner Home Interiors. The entire kit that will decorate 24 jars is only $13.95.
See ya next time,