All jam recipes call for pectin as an ingredient. Jams must be made with pectin, because without it your jam won't set and become thick. Pectin is a gelling agent found naturally in all fruits. You can buy pectin in either powdered or liquid form in most supermarkets. Recipes are included with the product. However, if you do, note that they only carry small boxes big enough for one batch and range in price from two to three dollars a box. Kitchen Krafts sells larger quantities that will save you a small fortune in the long run. Homemade jams do not have any other chemicals and preservatives that store bought brands carry. Of course the difference in taste is astounding!
Here's a great basic list of supplies...
- Heavy large stainless steel or enamel pot. Don't use iron or aluminum!
- Regulation jars and lids - Clean, glass Mason jars that are free of cracks and chips and a two piece lid that consists of a vacuum lid and the metal screw ring which holds the lid in place. Jars come in all sizes, but the jelly jars, pint, and half-pint are the best for jam - all available at Kitchen Krafts.
- Cooling Rack- allows jams to cool and set evenly
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Long handled wooden spoon
- Large metal spoon
- Clean dish towels
- Wide-mouth funnel
- Jar lifter
- Long handled tongs
- Magnetic lid lifter - flat lids tend to stick together and this lifter is a must have that will save you time
- Potato Masher - use for crushing berries
GENERAL DIRECTIONS - While the recipes for jams vary, the cooked jam directions are the same for every fruit. If you follow these nine easy steps, you'll be thrilled with the results. These are the directions to follow when using liquid pectin. (Note: When using powdered pectin switch steps 5 and 7.)
WASH jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in a saucepan off the heat. Let stand in water until ready to use.
PREPARE FRUIT as directed. For berries, crush one cup at a time, using a potato masher for best results.
MEASURE EXACT AMOUNT OF PREPARED FRUIT into a 6 or 8 quart saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and water as indicated in the recipe.
WHEN MAKING JELLY you will be cooking your fruit (e.g. grapes) and you will want to use a cloth jelly strainer to collect all the juice and remove seeds and peels. Simply place your cloth on the 3-prong stand and place over the bowl. Pour in your cooked fruit and let drain. You need to measure the amount of juice called for in your recipe.
MEASURE EXACT AMOUNT OF SUGAR into a separate bowl.
STIR SUGAR INTO FRUIT OR JUICE in saucepan . Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming.
BRING MIXTURE TO A FULL ROILING BOIL (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
STIR IN PECTIN quickly. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
LADLE QUICKLY INTO PREPARED JARS, filling to 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with flat lids; then screw bands tightly. Turn jars upside down for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn upright. (Or follow water bath method recommended by USDA.) After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with your finger. If lid springs back, lid has not properly sealed and jam must be refrigerated .
LET JARS STAND AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR 24 HOURS (or time indicated on recipe). Store unopened jams in a cool, dry, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate opened jams up to one month.