I recently attended a jam making class at Cure Farms, just outside of Boulder. A wonderful local farm that has their own farm store, sets up at local farmers markets and also has classes, I was ecstatic to spend my Saturday morning there.
My grandparents are big into canning and have always canned the bounty of their garden, year after year. However, I haven’t made jam before. It just isn’t something I have opted to make on my own – and now, I don’t think I’ll ever buy jam. It’s that easy.
With a variety of fruit, we setup with a small group to begin making jam. My cousin Erin (pictured below) and I chose to make a peach – lavender jam and everyone in the group pulled from the bounty of fruit to each make their own jam, so we could exchange each others’.
Our teacher Michelle Drenick and her daughter, guided us through the process. Her recipe and guidance are listed below (with a few of my notes interjected):
Michelle first shared that the selection of your fruit is vitally important. Choose fruit that is in season and picked fresh. Even bruised fruit or not ripe fruit will taint your jam.
The next, we put together our mise en place, because once the jam making happens you want to have all your tools together in one place. This includes:
- 6 quart stock pot for jam making
- 4 quart pot for lids / bands
- wide mouth funnel
- long handled spoon
- clean, sanitized jars with matching lids
- fruit (chopped, tiny pieces so they break down, the chunkier means your jam will be chunky)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 1/2 cups sugar (as specific by Surejell)
- Surejell pectin-pink box
The lids and bands need to go into a pot of water, covered with a lid. Put the heat on medium-low to bring to a simmer. Pour boiling water into specified number of jam jars to sanitize and keep warm.
As you’ve finely been chopping fruit, plate it into the 6 quart pot. We made 7 cups worth. Then you stir in the Surejell pectin and . We then stirred vigorously (this part is important) over a medium high heat. You want to let your fruit come to a roaring boil, a boil that cannot be stirred away.
Then you can add your pre-measured sugar and incorporate it into the boiling fruit. Then continue to stir constantly so the fruit doesn’t burn. You are now waiting for a second roiling boil. Once it begins to boil again, time it for one minute, turn off the flame and get ready to work quickly as this comes into your waiting jars.
There’s a portion here if there is foam floating on top of your jam, you will want to remove that with a spoon. You can skim off the top (if you have it).
Now you can begin ladling the jam into the jars. Set a wide mouth funnel over your first jar, leaving the next jar next to it so you can work fast. Fill each jar with the jam within 1/2 inch of the top. Clean the rim of the jar with a moist paper towel, then with tongs pull the lid and band from the hot water and place on top of the jar. Screw tightly, then invert and lay it upside down.
Keep filling and repeating this process until jam is gone. You won’t want to scrape from the bottom of the pan, so you will know how much you have to fill. You can see Christine nicely demonstrating the upside down jars and her excitement at the triple berry!
Once all jars are filled, you can set them upright. Eventually you will hear that “pop” where the lid is vacuuming onto the jar. When they’ve cooled to room temperature test the lids to make sure there is a seal. If for some reason there isn’t, you will want to refrigerate these. You can store those that did seal, for up to a year.
The best part of the class is that we all got to lick the spoons of our various jam pots and then exchanged each others’ jam to take home. There was triple berry and a berry peach, as well. Our lavender (we added that in on second boil with lavender water pre-made) is incredible!
There is still one class left this season if you would like to sign up. It’s on Saturday, September 14th and registration is here.
Fun Fact: Did you know that jam is made from crushed or chopped fruit with sugar or sugar substitutes while jelly is made from juice that is strained from juice.