How To Get Started Making Jams and Jellies
Making your own jams and jellies is a rewarding experience. It’s a wonderful way to preserve fresh fruit and enjoy it year-round. And it’s not as difficult as you might think!
What you need to get started:
- Fresh fruit (berries, peaches, plums, apples, etc.)
- Canning jars and lids
- A large pot
- A jelly bag or cheesecloth
- A candy thermometer
Prepare your fruit. Wash and stem the fruit and remove any pits or seeds. If you’re using berries, you can crush them slightly. If you’re using larger fruits, you can cut them into small pieces.
Cook the fruit. Place the fruit in a large pot and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Bring the fruit to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the fruit is soft.
Strain the fruit. Pour the fruit and liquid mixture into a jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander. Allow the juice to drip through into a large bowl. You can gently squeeze the bag or cheesecloth to extract more juice, but be careful not to over-extract, as this can make the jelly cloudy.
Measure the juice. Measure the amount of juice you have collected. You will need to use enough pectin for the amount of juice you have. Follow the pectin manufacturer’s instructions for the amount to use.
Make the jam or jelly. Pour the juice into a large pot and add the pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil, then stir in the sugar. Continue to boil until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached a rolling boil.
Can the jam or jelly. Follow a tested canning recipe to can the jam or jelly.
Use fresh, ripe fruit for the best flavor.
Don’t overcook the fruit, or it will become mushy.
If you’re making jelly, use a jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander to strain the juice. This will remove any impurities that can make the jelly cloudy.
Be sure to use a tested canning recipe to can the jam or jelly. This will ensure that the jam or jelly is preserved safely.
Once your jam or jelly is canned, you can enjoy it year-round! Spread it on toast, biscuits, or pancakes, or use it to make pies, tarts, and other desserts.
Here are some additional tips for getting started with jam and jelly making:
Start with a simple recipe. There are many different recipes available online and in cookbooks. Choose a recipe that uses a fruit that you like and that has few ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Once you have mastered the basics, you can start to experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Add herbs, spices, or extracts to your jams and jellies to create unique and delicious flavors.
Give your jams and jellies as gifts. Jams and jellies make wonderful gifts for friends and family. They are a personal and thoughtful way to share your love of cooking and preserving.
Making jams and jellies is a fun and rewarding hobby. With a little practice, you’ll be able to make delicious jams and jellies that you and your loved ones will enjoy for years to come.