I thought you might be interested to know the process of making jam.
- Step one is of course that all my produce and my hands are throughly washed and then I cook the jam.
- The jars are cleaned and sterilized in boiling water, then filled with hot jam. The whole jar and lid assembly is sterilized again to form a vacuum seal. Learn about post processing or a boiling water bath »
- To open a jar, unscrew the ring and use a blunt knife or can-opener to lift the lid and break the vacuum seal. Replace the lid and ring to close the jar. Once you open the jar the jam should be consumed within at least 2 weeks. This is because no additional preservative agents have been added.
Small batch jam making is an art and a passion. Start with a handful of fruit, citrus and sugar, cook slowly and it makes 3-6 cups of jam at a time. The advantage of this process is that you have complete control over the quality of the produce, addition of any spices and consistency of the gel. The whole process takes at least an hour, if not longer, but the result is a fantastic and rich tasting jam. My kitchen is not peanut free but I do not cook with nuts.
Long boil jams, or traditional jams, literally boil sugar to a soft-gel setting. You apply steady heat and constant stirring, then monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer. This process can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to cook depending on the humidity, shape of your pot, and ingredients.
Pectin is a commercially available powder or gel that you mix into a recipe. When mixed with the correct proportions of sugar and acid (i.e. vinegar or citrus) it immediately reaches a soft-gel temperature. You can make your own pectin mixture by boiling whole apples and citrus in water »
I use standard mason jars (1 cup) but for rarer ingredients or complex recipes I prefer the smaller jars (about 1/2 cup), and salsa is sold in pints (2 cups). Each jar comes with a handcrafted label. Normally, a sealed jar of jam can last up to 18 months unopened in the jar.