So it is the end of summer and for me that means fruit season and more specifically canning. I just love putting fruit up for the winter months ahead. I usually do raspberry jam and peach jam as well as canning lbs and lbs of peaches in syrup. Oh man, those are my favorite! Is there anything better than cracking open a jar of sweet delicious peaches in January when all memory of summer is gone? I think not. Heavenly. Canning is one of those arts that is slowly coming back after many years of being "out of style". The convenience of buying stuff premade really made canning seem useless. For those that have made their own or tried homemade, you know that there is no comparison whatsoever. I know most people are intimidated by it but really, it could not be simpler and the end result is so worth it. I have done about 8L of raspberry jam and tried strawberry jam for the first time this year. Pure heaven. I also have plans to try this Peach BBQ Sauce as well as blueberry jam and possibly pickles. I don't have a recipe yet or know anyone who makes pickles so if you are one of those people, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on them.
Here is a quick and easy recipe for strawberry jam:
recipe by Certo
3 3/4 c crashed strawberries
1/4 c lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin
Wash and hull the strawberries. Crush one layer at a time with a potato masher. Put into a large pot with lemon juice and sugar (I take the potato masher at this point and crush it all so there is no big chunks of strawberries left - blech!). Bring to a boil and let boil hard one minute (you should not be able to stir the boil down). Stir in liquid pectin (make sure you add the entire pouch) and stir thoroughly. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 5 minutes to prevent floating fruit. After 5 minutes skim off any foam. Ladle into warm sterilized jars, place lids and rings on firm but not tight. Process in a water bath canner (or large stock pot fitted with a rack or strainer or something to keep the jars off the bottom, as long as the jars are totally submerged) for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely and check to see if the jars have sealed (push on the lid and see if it makes a popping sound, if it does it did not seal and will need to be stored in the fridge/freezer). This will make 6 or 7 250 ml jars of jam.
* do not puree the fruit or else you will end up with too much liquid and the jam will not set
* do not reduce the amount of sugar or alter amounts in jam recipes - they are necessary to make sure the jam sets and keeps
* do not double recipes as they do not turn out, make single batches at a time (annoying when you are doing 10 lbs of raspberries!)
* do not tighten the bands after they come out of the water or else once they cool they may be too tight. If they need to be tightened, wait until they are completely cool but only tighten until there is resistance, not super tight as they may warp over time.
Enjoy the best of the summer all year round. It really makes you feel all homemaker-y and there is nothing like looking at all the jars of fruit in your storage!