Have you ever looked at fresh seasonal fruits and wanted so badly to enjoy them all year round? I believe most of us had the urge to preserve and take advantage of these inexpensive fruits. And the best way to do that is by making homemade jam.
There is a stereotype that surrounds jam-making. People assume that it takes too much time and effort, which is not true. For making your own batch of jam can be a fun experiment that uses a simple technique and calls for a fruit of your choice, sugar, and lemon juice. Stick around to learn more about jam-making!
Soft, Sweet, and Spreadable
What is Homemade Jam?
Jam is a thick and delightful condiment used in filling delicious pastries and baked goods as in these Homemade Protein Jam Bar and Strawberry Jam Baked Brie in Puff Pastry. Spread over buttery toasts in the morning, and enjoyed in cheese platters. Besides, it is created from chopped and cut up pieces of fruits boiled with sugar and lemon juice and mixed together until it reaches a thick consistency.
What are the Right Fruits to Jam?
You can choose to jam any fruit you want. However, if you want to produce the best homemade jam then you have to pay extra attention to some details regarding the fruit you decide to opt for.
First of all, the fruits have to be fresh and ripe but not fully ripe. Meaning that it must be firm and not too mushy.
Plus, it would be much better to resort to fruits that are rich in pectin. For pectin is a natural substance found in fruits in different levels. It is responsible for giving the jam its famous texture and consistency. If the fruit contains more pectin then the jam would take quicker time to set.
Here are some of the fruits that are high in pectin: apples, pears, citrus fruits, and plums.
However, for the fruits that contain less pectin such as, berries and apricots, you must add lemon juice to the recipe. To ensure reaching the desired texture.
A Fresh and Glossy Spread
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Most jam recipes include pectin. It is essential for thickening the jam. However, when pectin is not available you can absolutely cook your own jam without it. You just need to add lemon juice to the recipe.
First, you must wash the jars and clean them properly well. Then, you can store the jam in the air-tight containers you cleaned and place them in the fridge.
When jam is stored properly in the fridge, it can last for up to 2 months.
If you want to preserve the jam, you can definitely freeze it. But first you must wait for it to cool down completely before placing the mason jars in the freezer. And when you decide to use the frozen jam, then you must take it from the freezer and wait for it to thaw overnight in the fridge.
No, jars and containers must be sterilized when you opt for storing the jam on the shelf rather than the fridge. However, they need to be very clean.
It is where you place a plate in the freezer before boiling the jam. And once you think you jam is ready pour some on the plate and push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles then it is ready.
Top Tips and Tricks For The Best Homemade Jam
Initially, you must make sure to use the right sugar in jam-making. You can either choose granulated or preserved sugar. Both are considered ideal for making homemade jams.
Stay away from using too ripe and extremely soft fruits since overripe fruits have low pectin levels.
Clean the jars very well if you want to preserve the jam in the fridge. But, if stored in a pantry the jars and the lids must be sterilized. And to sterilize the jars, you wash them in hot water and soap. Then, you place them on an oven tray and heat them for 10 minutes.
Jam-making requires a thermometer in order to know exactly if the jam has been completely set. But, if you do not have one, no worries, there is another productive method to resort to called “the wrinkle test”.
Better Than Store-Bought
The Ingredients You Need to Make the Best Homemade Jam
Fruit: You can choose what your heart desires or what you have in hand. Though it is better to jam fruits that are high in pectin such as pears, plums, and apples. Just to make the process easier if you are making jam for the first time.
Sugar: It does not only work as a sweetener. Sugar has multiple tasks in jam-making. First, it works with the pectin found in the fruit along with the acid to help set the jam. Also, it is essential. Since it works as a preservative. It slows down the growth of mold and preserves the fruit’s original color.
Lemon Juice: It is the center ingredient in this recipe and the main reason why this recipe is literally foolproof. Lemon juice balances out the taste of the jam and it provides your jam with the right level of pectin by releasing it from the fruit.
(Scroll down for recipe details)
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How To Make the Best Homemade Jam
- 1 pound fresh chopped fruits (strawberries, blackberries, apricots, or apples)
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Put a plate in the freezer for testing the jam later on.
- Clean and cut the fruits you choose. Then combine them with the sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Then place the pot over medium heat.
- Once you make sure that the sugar is fully dissolved. Increase the heat while mashing and stirring the combination until thickened.
- Stir frequently for about 20 minutes.
- To ensure that the jam is all set, pour a small amount of jam of the frozen plate placed earlier in the freezer. Then you run your finger through the jam. If the edges of the line you drew don't drip then it means that your jam is ready.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pot and pour the jam into clean mason jars. Let the mixture cool for a bit before storing the jars in the refrigerator.
- Initially you must make sure to use the right sugar in jam making. You can either choose granulated or preserving sugar. Both are considered ideal for making homemade jam.
- Stay away from using too ripe and extremely soft fruits. Since, overripe fruits have low pectin levels.
- Clean the jars very well if you want to preserve the jam in the fridge. But, if stored in a pantry the jars and the lids must be sterilized. And to sterilize the jars, you wash them in hot water and soap. Then, you place them on oven tray and heat them for 10 minutes.
- Jam-making requires thermometer in order to know exactly if the jam has completely set. But, if you don not have one, no worries, there is another productive method to resort to called “the wrinkle test”.