I’m just a little bit excited! Looking forward to apple picking, canning apple sauce, drinking apple cider and pumpkin spice lattes, and some cooler weather! It’s my favorite time of year!
Ok – so in the last post we left off with preparing the jam based on your recipe. I like to do this while you are waiting for your pot to boil, and continue after you put the empty jars inside and they are getting all hot and sanitized in the water bath canner.
So, we have mashed our fruit, put it in a pot, added the sugar and set it on a boil. I also often add lemon juice and zest for added acidity. Each fruit acts different, and so with some you will want to strain the juice and reduce it to thicken it, and others you won’t need to do that. With some you can also add in green apple slices to add pectin and get the jam to thicken. Whatever you do, you’ll end up boiling and stirring the fruit for awhile (probably up to 30 minutes). The longer you boil, the thicker it will eventually get. And you’ll start to notice some foam on top. You’ll want to remove this with a spoon as much as you can.
By this time your canning pot should be boiling and you can put your empty clean jars inside to sanitize them until your jam is finished.
When you’ve tasted your jam and you think your ready to fill your jars, use the tongs to pull your jars out of the boiling water. Remember you have your rings and lids in a bowl waiting and they need some hot water to prepare for sealing. You can pour the water from a few of the jars into the bowl for that. Then get your funnel and place it in the top.
Then scoop the jam out of the out and fill your jars! You’ll want to leave “head space” in each of the jars based on the recipe, usually 1/4 inch. This just refers to the amount of space you leave from the top of the jar. Use the tool to measure, as this also helps to ensure your jars seal properly.
The next thing you need to do is get a damp towel or paper towel to wipe the top and side of the jar clean. You don’t want any jam on the outside or around the rim as it may not seal and then your jam could go bad. Once the jar is clean use your magnet to pick up a lid and ring from the bowl of hot water and put in on the jar!
Secure the ring to “finger tight” so its secure, but you can still unscrew it easy with you fingers. You want it to seal, but you don’t want it to be on there too tight. Next, put your jars on the rack in the boiling pot!
Once all your jars are filled, cleaned, closed and in the pot, lower the rack down and make sure you water is 1 inch about the tops of your jars. If all looks good, then put on the lid and let it boil to process your jars! This usually takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on your recipe, but after 15 minutes of being in a boil, they should be good! Then you can lift up the rack and take out your jars one by one.
Place all the jars on a towel and let them sit for 12 hours undisturbed. You will begin to hear a little ‘pop’ as each jar is sealing. You may even hear it right as you pull them out of the pot. Check after an hour by feeling the lid to make sure they have sealed. If any of the jars haven’t sealed, put them in the refrigerator and use them first. But hopefully you will have none! And that’s it! You’ve successfully canned homemade jam!
There are so many great things you can do with homemade jam! Eat it of course, but you can also use it for hostess gifts, christmas gifts, and even wedding favors!!
This post has been a long time coming. I have started this so many times and it has taken me FOREVER to get it finished! But today is the day… get ready for the basics of water bath canning – Part 1! Wahoo!
Let’s begin with the supplies needed. You will need a large water bath canning pot with a rack like this one here. The pot is pictured below, with the rack inside.
You will also need the supplies pictured below. You can get the blue canning utensils in a set from Ball here or at the stores listed above.
The blue thing that looks like a zig zag is for measuring headspace when you fill the jars. The tongs are for lifting the hot jars out of the pot. The lid lifter has a magnet on the end so it’s easy to get the lids out of the water to seal the jars. And the funnel is for pouring in your hot jammy goodness into the mason jars!
I also like the measuring cups with the pour spout to scoop the jam out of the pot and fill the jars (these were given to me by my friend who first taught me to can jam!) Oh and don’t forget the mason jars!! I prefer the 1/2 pint jars for jam.
You’ll need to wash these lids and jars in warm soapy water before canning so you can keep things clean!
And let’s not forget the fruit and your recipes. I love the book Canning for a New Generation, by Liana Krissoff because it has recipes with low sugar and uses other methods for natural pectin in fruits, so you don’t have to have pectin on hand.
Now that we’ve got all the supplies, let’s get to making jam!!!
First, wash your lids and jars in hot soapy water, and fill your canning pot with water! You’ll want your jars to have 1 inch of water above them when they are processing, so you’ll need to fill it that much. Once its full, put it on the stove bring it to a boil.
Put your jars aside on a towel and your lids and rings in a bowl while you prepare your jam and wait for the water to boil in the pot. Then get out your fruit! Follow the recipe for making the jam, but for the most part, it will look a little like this…
Hull the strawberries | chop the fruit | mash the fruit | put in a pot and add sugar | bring to a boil
And that’s where I’ll leave us for today. I’m sorry for stopping mid process, but if I don’t I will never get this out! Stay tuned on how to fill the jars and process in the water bath canner in Part 2!