Friday, July 25, 2014

Jam Basics

I'm not sure I'll ever stop experimenting with my jam recipes (that's what makes canning/cooking fun), but thought I'd save myself a little of the annual aggravation by jotting down some of the constants.

Better to use a large shallow pot (I use my big enameled dutch oven) to cook jams.  The fruit will cook more evenly and thus, twice as fast.

Cook at a controlled boil and stir constantly so the fruit mixture doesn't scorch.  I love my silicone spoon (with the metal handle).  I bought one at Williams-Sonoma that has straight side so it swipes the curve at the bottom of my pot.

Don't be afraid to add a pouch of liquid fruit pectin once your jam has reached the desired consistency.  Boil jam for one minute (no longer) after adding pectin.

Its best to skim foam off of jam before adding the liquid pectin.

Add fresh herbs at the very end of cook time (or along with your pectin).  If you add them too soon, they become a bit chewy.

1 1/2 lbs of raw chopped raw fruit, equals roughly 6 cups; 2 lbs equals about 8 cups.  These are approximate measures.  Check Williams-Sonoma's Art of Preserving for more equivalents.  They include conversions in their recipes.

The pamphlet that comes in the liquid pectin boxes is a good cross reference for sugar and fruit amounts.

You only need to leave a 1/4 inch headspace for jams, and process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.


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