Jammin

           Rich creamy roasted peanut flavor of the gooey peanut butter harmonising with the deliciously sweet taste of strawberry, blueberry or raspberry (and so many more). That is what i was seeking. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich! But not just any…

          Do you ever look at the ingredients in your food today? Well, if not, you may want to. Today’s society has things such as, modified food, corn, tapioca starch, BHT and may other preservatives, there is High-Fructose corn syrup and plenty of other sweeteners and not to mention substitute sweeteners with aspartame. And that is exactly what ingredients I was reading in both my peanut butter and the jelly in my fridge. I was sick of it! How could I have the most perfectly harmonized sandwich, if most of the ingredient didn’t belong! So that’s it. I am going to go back in time and start canning my own jams and jellies. How hard can it really be? *As for making my own peanut butter….well that will have to wait for another time.*

            Where I began was research on what I was going to need, the labor that it would take all for a jar of jam. Come to find out the supplies, not that expensive but there were some important understandings of what the difference between jams, jellies, marmalades, preserves and chutneys are but today, I am only focusing on jams and jellies. So let us start with understanding the differences between Jam and Jelly.

     Jam, is made up of fruit that comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit. The consistency is a little bit watery compared to that of Jelly.

Jelly, is made up of fruit juices. This means that the fruit has been crushed and strained then the juices from that is taken to make jelly.

    Both jam and jelly are fruit mixtures that are made with sugar and Pectin. Now some of you are asking yourself ‘What’s Pectin?’ Well let me explain. Pectin is a gelling agent (helps make things stiffen or gel up) that is derived mainly from citrus fruit. It is used in many things from medicines and stabilizers in milk drinks to dietary fiber and our reason jams and jellies. 

Now the supplies that you will be needing that are not food……

  1. Medium to Large Pot
  2. Canner (canner is optional)
  3. Thongs or a jar lifter
  4. Jam or Jelly jars with lids and rings
  5. Masher and spoon for mixing
  6. Strainer (for jelly only)
  7. Large Bowl
  8. Spoon (put in freezer, for spoon test)

Now for food supplies

  1. Fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc.
  2. Lemon or lemon juice
  3. granulated sugar (have not tried with other sugars, but will)
  4. Pectin

All ingredients are based on how much fruit or fruit juice you use.

You will want to decide whether you are going to make jam or jelly. I make jam since I like to use the whole entire fruit, not just the juices.

Next mash up the fruit in the large bowl.* Now if you are making jelly you will want to strain the fruit from the juice, into another large bowl.*

       Now take your fruit (or fruit juice) and add the lemon juice. *I use a fresh lemon and squeeze that into my fruit.* Now take the sugar and add a little bit of it to the fruit and lemon juice mixture. Mix it well. At this point you will want to get your canner (or another pot to can) ready and start boiling your jars, lids, and rings.

      Take your pot and the other half of lemon juice and sugar and pectin. Warm the mixture on the stove using a low to medium heat. Once it is warm, add the fruit mixture and mix well. Boil the mixture till the color of the fruit deepens (darkens).

To tell if you jam or jelly is ready to be put in a jar, take the spoon from your freezer and stick in the fruit mix. If it sets up on the spoon, like jelly should, then you are ready to put into the jars. Take the jars, lids and rings out of the canner and fill with jam.

                                                                                                             Hot bath your jars for 5-15 minutes                                                               (this will depend on what the altitude is for where you live)

 Don’t forget to label your jams and jellies with the date and what they are.

     I hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me or leave me a comment below. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go make that heavenly sandwich I talked about earlier!

 

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