Basic Jam-making Tutorial
From Preserve It! and some updates from Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round (FinJ)
Scrupulous hygiene & food safety are critical!
• All kitchen surfaces, tools & equipment should be thoroughly clean;
• Sterilize jars, bottles and lids before use to remove microbes that cause spoilage;
• Use clean equipment for each stage of processing;
• Be sure all food is sealed properly before storing. Check regularly and use within their storage times;
• Immediately discard any that smell odd or show signs of deterioration.
Now that the scary part is over, let’s begin.
Equipment You'll need for Heat Processing:
Canner pot - at least 11qt/10litre with a jar rack (if you don't have one of those a large stock pot and good tongs with rubber around the ends to grip the hot glass jars will do just fine.)
jars with two part tops are the only kind that will do for heat processing
wide mouth funnel (great for neat pouring)
tongs with rubber end to lift boiling hot jars (you can add rubber bands to the ends as long as the tongs themselves open wide & strong enough to grip & hold the jars)
nice to have accessories: (Bernardin has a great little starter kit with tongs, measuring stick & wand)
candy thermometer for accuracy
measuring stick to let you know when the jars are full enough
magnetic wand to hold the inner lids without contaminating them.
1. Put clean jars, lids and rings in a large pot filled with water to cover. Be sure the pot is large enough so that the jars do not touch each other. Bring to a boil and keep at the rapid boil for five minutes.
2. Turn off the heat and leave the equipment in hot water until just before using.
3. Remove jars, lids and rings carefully with tongs pouring the water back into the pot for the next stage.
4. Place cheesecloth, jelly bags (if using) and rubber rings from jars in a bowl, pour boiling water over the top and leave until needed.
Heat Processing: For long term storage, canned fruits and sauces must be heated in a boiling water bath. The air remaining in the filled jars expands and is released during heating. The seals tighten and a vacuum forms on cooling. Processing times are listed in most recipes.
Note: use only jars with two-part sealing lids for water bath processing. Jars with one piece sealing lids or metal spring-clip lids and rubber seals will not retain a proper seal.
1. Fill the jar according to recipe instructions. (Ruth’s note: it’s easier & cleaner if you use a wide-mouth funnel to fill the jars.)
2. Wipe the rim and threads of the jar with a clean, slightly damp paper towel. Set the flat lid pieces on top of the jars with the rubberized side down.Important for the lid to seal. Gently screw on the ring, being careful not to over tighten (using your thumb and middle or ring finger rather than index finger helps prevent this). Repeat the process until all the jars are full.
3. Lower the jars carefully into a pot full of boiling water using a jar lifter or metal tongs wrapped with rubber bands. Make sure the jars do not touch and that the water covers the jars by at least one inch. (That's my Joanna having fun)
4. Once all the jars have been lowered into the water bath, keep the water at a rapid boil for the recommended processing time in the recipe.
5. Remove the jars and place on a kitchen towel. You may hear a pop as each jar seals. DO NOT MOVE or disturb the jars for 24 hours.
Testing the seal – after 24 hours: Remove the ring and press the middle of the jar lid with your index finger. The lid should be slightly concave and should not move. If the lid pops up when pressed or if you can easily pry it off using your fingernail, the jar is not sealed. Either reheat the contents of unsealed jars and reprocess as described above, or store in the fridge and use within one week. FinJ does not recomment reprocessing, but says that if kept in the fridge it will be good for weeks.
6. Label & Store: it sounds obvious...but true, you know what's in the jar TODAY, but if you don't label each jar clearly, it will be a surprise in a few months. Store in a cool dark place as each recipe recommends. Don't forget to put the processing date on the jars as well as the content.
A super easy, super fun recipe to start you on your preserving journey - Blueberry Jam.