One of the best finds in my neighborhood is the farmers’ market nearby. It is almost a treat to go there every Sunday because I know that I will find something new to try at one of the stands. A way to preserve these fresh and beautiful produce is canning. Some might argue that fresh fruits are best eaten fresh, but I think the jamming process brings out the flavor of the fruits and in some way, intensifies the aroma, and best of all, prolonging the shelf life of these flavors in forms of jam.
I am by no means an expert on jam making, but from several less than perfect attempts, I have gathered some tips that are hopefully helpful to you.
- Sterilize the jars and lids. Before you even prepare the fruit, be sure to sterilize jars and their lids in boiling water. I place the jars in water and bring it to a boil for a couple minutes, and toss in the lids when water is boiling. Sterilized jars will ensure the freshness and overall life of preserves or jam.
- Read the instructions that come with the pectin closely. It will tell you the ratio of pectin to fruit. One brand of pectin I used came with calcium powder to help the congealing, but another brand did not. It is always good to know what is involved before you begin the project!
- Use fresh and firm fruits. Make sure there is no bruises on the fruits because any cosmetic damages on fruit accelerates spoiling process. After all, you want to capture the best taste of the season 🙂
- If it is possible, use a wooden spatula to stir the fruit mixture. Wooden spatula is easier to clean comparing to silicone one, thus less of a chance to have oil residue which will contaminate the fruit mixture.
- Stainless steel cookware is the ideal cooking utensil for cooking the fruit mixture. The coating on nonstick utensils may react with acid in fruit and may peel.
|Ready to make jam!|
One thing I like the most about homemade jam is you can control how much sugar to put in; I prefer tart preserves or jam over sweet ones. Besides the fresher taste and wonderful flavor, these jam can also be great homemade gifts!