A few weeks ago I had the urge to can … not sure where it came from but I felt compelled to make jam or preserves. As a child, my Mom used to can and preserve all kinds of things and my memories of it are of hot, chaotic miserable days, so I was a little hesitant to act upon my desire to preserve. I posed the question to Facebook – to jam or not – and the response was clear. Jam, it was.
And, boy, am I glad I did … look at the results.
I tried a bit this morning on toast (one piece with three stripes of jam) and I thought it tasted good. I have a little bit of each that did not fit into jars so that will go into the office tomorrow so we’ll see what others think.
I made three batches, apricot, strawberry and plum … and it was easy! It took about 3 1/2 hours and I did invest in a few pieces of equipment, specifically a jar lifter, funnel and magnetic lid grabber, plus jars, but I estimate including the cost of the equipment it was less than $20 and I made 18 jars. I found three great recipes online.
Apricot – From a fun blog called Sassy Radish, this recipe took no time at all. I doubled it, but you could easily make a quick batch to use immediately and skip the canning process. Look how beautiful it was as it cooked down. http://www.sassyradish.com/2011/07/apricot-jam/#more-2004
Plum – This one has the most complex flavor and I think is my favorite. I had a bit more plums than called for so estimated on the sugar and added an extra 1/2 stick of cinnamon. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Quick-Plum-Preserves-106774
Strawberry -This recipe was super simple, but as I read the comments, I decreased the sugar significantly. I tripled the number strawberries, but only doubled the sugar and I think it is plenty sweet. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/reviews/Old-Fashioned-Strawberry-Preserves-1906
At the recommendation of a friend, I bought Balls Blue Book which had great instructions on how to prep the jars and how to process it. So, this will count toward the cook book challenge.
I think it is safe to say, I have the canning bug now. While my memories of canning with my Mom were a bit chaotic, the memories of opening a jar of tomatoes or jam are great. I can’t wait to use this in the winter, and since I am not much of a preserve person, imagine these will be gifts for many people.
Next, I think I want to try fig jam and mango chutney, but who knows it will depend on what looks good at the market.