Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jam Making is officially fall. And, it has been officially CRAZY around our place for weeks! Despite the merry-go-round of life, I have somehow found time for a little berry picking and jam making! Incredible! Several weeks ago, when we first got home from holidays, we would go out berry picking in the evenings until we could no longer see the berries! I am lucky enough to have a husband who loves berry picking... because he loves the finished product! We got about 7-8 gallons of raspberries and 5-6 gallons of saskatoons.
We had bought two cases of peaches on our way home from holidays, and Hubby's grandpa brought a few more cases up for us as well. This year we did something different...after berry picking, we promptly started two batches of wine... Peach Raspberry and Raspberry Saskatoon. We won't have as much jam, but I can't wait to taste test the wine!!

I have had a few requests from people who want to learn how to 'can.' It doesn't look like I will be able to get together with anyone this year... but I thought I would do the next best thing... pictures and a tutorial!
Here goes...
For those of you who don't know me... I am rarely without a hot drink in my hand. And no kitchen project is complete without a pretty apron and a steaming cup of tea or coffee. First things first: boil your water and make tea.
Kurt's favourite kind of jam is "Peach Saskatoon" which I accidently made the first year we were married because I didn't have enough of either to justify a whole batch of jam. I have been making it every year now.
You will need to go out and find a Saskatoon bush and spend a couple hours picking berries. You can make a small batch of jam with only 4-8 cups of berries... but I prefer to make lots at once.
Aquire some peaches... either from a tree if you live in the South... or a store or fruit stand if you are a little more Northern.
Now, before you get carried away in the joy of jam making... be sure that you have enough jars and lids sterilized and ready to go. I don't have a dishwasher, so I wash my jars in really hot water and soap, rinse them, and then let them sit in boiling water (or really hot tap water) until I am ready to use them.
Sift through the berries and remove all of the bugs, sticks, leaves and other junk. Rinse the berries in cool water. Peaches can be prepared several ways... you can use a knife to peal them (tedious and wasteful) or you can use boiling water to 'slip' the skin off in one piece. Boil a pot of water. Place the peaches in the water so that they are covered. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove the peaches and 'slip' the skin off (don't burn yourself...they are very hot!)
Once skinned, you can easily pit and chop the peaches up into small pieces.
I always make my jam a little different, so this year I did half Saskatoon and half peach. I got a little carried away and used about 10 cups of each (and then had to split it into two pots!).
Now for the fun part...
Pour your Saskatoons into the pot and then proceed to mash/crush them up. For a more smooth jam you can blend/pure your fruit. We like our jam chunky, so I just mash them up.
Pour in your peaches and mash the two fruits together (again, you can pre-blend them if you prefer).
Turn on your stove to medium-high and start cooking your fruit! Depending on how many cups of fruit you used, use the same number of cups of white sugar. (ie: 10 cups fruit, 10 cups sugar). Sometimes you can get away with less sugar than this (I usually do a little less), but your jam will be slightly more runny.
Add Certo (pectin) as instructed on the box (usually one package to every 4 cups of fruit, depending on the fruit).
Bring jam to a boil and let slowly bubble, continually stirring. (DO NOT spill in your burner... especially down the vent hole for your oven. It takes a VERY long time to clean out the vent and inside of your oven...not that I would know...)
In the mean time, prepare your jars. You will need two sauce pans... one to boil the jars, and one to boil the lids.
As the jam boils, it will begin to form a layer of "foam" on top. Scoop this off until it no longer forms. You are now ready to pour your jam into your sterilized jars!
Use a funnel and pouring device to fill your jars. Leave half to a quarter inch head space in your jars and seal by placing the hot lids and rings on your jars. Be careful! Everything is very hot (or should be!) so use an oven mit or tea towel.
 Because the jam, jars and lids are all very hot, they will seal themselves. Leave sitting on the counter for about 24 hours. Press all of the lids to make sure they are sealed, and then store for the winter!
And there you have it... simple, delicious homemade jam! Hope this is helpful... let me know how your jam turns out!


  1. Awesome! I need to do this with some of the blueberries we picked. Peach jam sounds divine though! Great tute!

  2. Me me me !!! I am the one always asking. haha.