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!!