We be Jammin’

Hi!  I can’t believe it’s almost been a month since my last post!  I’ve been pretty busy with work and travel, but that’s no excuse, sorry to neglect you.

With that, I’ll get right to it.  Last week our raspberry bushes went nuts with ripe berries.  Look at these guys!  I’ve been waiting for that exact moment because I so badly wanted to make jam from scratch.  After a bit of research and comparing recipes, many of them had the same list of ingredients with varying amounts and cooking times, we decided to go with the recipe that came with the box of pectin.  It’s pretty straight forward and since I’ve never worked with pectin before, it made me feel a little bit better.  The amount of everything really depends more on how much fruit you’re working with than anything else, you just need to get the ratios right.  We had 2 pounds of berries to work with.

First thing, we put our washed berries in a heavy stockpot and mashed them up with my potato masher, just to get them broken up.  Then I added 2 tsp. of calcium water before I started the heat.  The calcium water came with the box of pectin we bought for making the jam.  There were instructions on how to use it in the box.

While the berries were were heating to get to boiling ( I was stirring often but not constantly btw)  I measured out 1 pound of sugar and added 2 tsp. of pectin powder.  You can see a little shadow where the pectin is in the sugar in the photo, but you’ll need to mix them together completely.

Once the berries were nice and bubbly, I added the sugar/pectin mix to the berries and started mixing constantly to get the sugar and pectin evenly distributed.  This particular recipe required you to bring the berries back to a boil and then let it boil for only 1-2 minutes.

Next things got intense, so I missed getting a picture.  We had a 2 man job of trying to quickly get the hot boiling jam into the jars we had heated and waiting in a sink full of steaming water.  One person was manning the pot of jam and the other was working on spooning it through a funnel into the jars, then it was quickly getting the lids and collars on (make sure it’s tight!) and then getting the jars in our boiling water.

We rigged our canning set up with our biggest stock pot and colander that fits into the pot and lets the jars sit under the boiling water.  We used 8 oz. jars and that’s definitely the largest jar we can use with this set up.  I would highly recommend getting a canning set up for this step if nothing else.  Things got a little dicy when the water started bubbling so hard it was spitting out in between the pot and the colander.  It’s 10 minutes of boiling for areas at sea level and then an extra minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level after that.  Our best guess was about 900 feet so we decided on 11 minutes for total boiling time.

And that was it!  We removed our jars from the boiling water and put them on the counter to cool.  It was much easier than I thought it was going to be.  For some reason I always though there would be a lot of ingredients or some ridiculous amount of time standing above boiling berries stirring it with a whisk.  Not the case at all.  There are more berries starting to ripen on the bushes outside.  The big decision will be if they go for more jam or for a raspberry pie!

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