Making jam is something I became addicted to. I love how each jam recipe turns out different and how many different ways I can use jam. I’ve used homemade jams on toast, baking and as gifts but there are so many other ways to use it as well.
The nice thing with homemade jam is that you can control the sweetness of the jam or you can personalize it by adding different flavours like bay leaves. However, if you do reduce the amount of sugar, you reduce the amount of shelf life of the jam.
I have modified this recipe from one I found online. I originally wanted to make blackberry apple jam but unfortunately it was not blackberry season and blackberries were too expensive. I ended up buying frozen berries because it was a lot cheaper. I would imagine using fresh berries would make this jam a lot more flavourful.
I started off by chopping the strawberries into smaller chunks. Big chunks would cause a slight uneven cooking time and I wanted it to be cook down a bit before I added the sugar. There were 4 cups of mixed berries (which included strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries).
I also chopped up 4 cups of apples (about 4-5 medium sized apples).
I put everything in a pot and turned on the stove top to medium hot.
I added the juice of one lemon. (I would have used the zest but my lemon was looking a little sad).
To this apple/berry mixture, I added about 1/2 cup of water.
I let the whole thing boil down until the water is reduced and the apples are soft. This was about 20 minutes.
I knew I wanted to use this jam for baking so I wanted a smoother consistency. I decided to stick everything in the blender and give it a pulse. Be careful when you blend anything hot in a blender, there is a potential that it will blow up. I recommend you opening the lid every couple of pulses to let the heat escape.
Once the jam is a smooth consistency, I put the jam back in the pot to reduce a bit more. After about 10 minutes, I added 7 cups of sugar and the box of pectin.
You might notice that as soon as you put in the sugar, the jam becomes a more translucent.
When the jam mixture starts boiling again, turn off the heat. To test out the jam consistency, put a dollop of jam on a cold plate and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes. When the jam is cold, it should be set. The jam should be a thick consistency. You can test to see how thick the jam is using this technique.
While you are preparing the jam, sterilize the jam jars. You can sterilize it one of two ways, in the oven or in boiling water. Since I am new to canning, I am still a bit paranoid so I do both. I start by boiling the jars and lids in water for about 10 minutes. You can either keep the jars in the hot water until you are ready to jar the jam. I don’t like the jars wet so I take them out and place them on a cookie sheet.
Place the jam lids and jars in the oven at 225 degrees C until you are ready to jar the jam. This allows the jars to dry out before you fill it with jam.
I also sterilize the ladle that would scoop the jam into the jars. When the jam and jars are ready, you’re ready to jam!!
Make sure to leave a bit of room a the tops of each jar. This will help form a seal when the jars cool. Wipe any jam that may have dripped on the edge. Place the lids on the jars and make sure not to touch the insides of the lid because you can contaminate the jam. Tighten lightly. Place all the closed jam into boiling water and boil for another 5 minutes. This will help push some more air from inside the jar out as well as helping to sterilize any bacteria that may have ended up on the jars during the canning process. Take the jars from the hot water and allow the jars to cool down without disturbing them. To check to see if you’ve done this correctly, a sealed jar would have a slight dip on the lid. Now you can enjoy experimenting and making your own jam!
Mixed berry and apple jam
- 4 cups chopped apples (4-5 med apples)
- 4 cups mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) (frozen)
- 7 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 box Certo pectin
- juice of one lemon
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