If you’ve ever made jam before, then you know it can be a careful, somewhat tedious process. However, as my coworker soon showed me, it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be – especially if you can turn it into a social event! What better way to spend a Saturday morning than making jam with friends? Plus, a trip to the grocery store beforehand is always fun, too. I mean, hello snacks.
Below are my lists of the ingredients, tools, and steps we used (plus some helpful tips!) to make jam:
Ingredients: (For exact measurements, refer to the recipe on the pectin package.)
Fruit of your choice (We used strawberries one time and mangos, papaya, and pineapple for the next go-around.) White sugar Lemon juice (We only needed this for the tropical jam.) Liquid pectin (Tip: To prevent your jam from having a grainy texture, use liquid pectin instead of the powdered variety.)
Other essential items: Mason jars, lids, and rings Clean dish towels One pot for boiling jars One pot for making jam Wooden spoon
Helpful tools: Canning jar lifter Handheld emulsifier Wide-mouth jam funnel
Wash, peel, and cut all of your fruit. I did this while Carlie worked on the next step.
Boil the mason jars, lids, and rings to clean them. To extract the jars afterwards without contaminating them, we used a canning jar lifter and placed the cleaned items on fresh kitchen towels to dry. (Tip: Even after all your jars have been cleaned, keep the water on a low boil in case you accidentally contaminate a jar or a lid and have to re-boil it.)
In a separate pot, mix the fruit and white sugar together and bring to a roiling boil. (For exact measurements, follow the recipe on the pectin package.) Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent the mixture from burning to the bottom of the pot. To make the texture a little smoother, we used a handheld emulsifier as well.
When the mixture coats the back of the spoon, stir in the pectin. Follow the instructions on the pectin package for exact cooking times.
Spoon the jam into the jars, making sure not to get any on the rim – otherwise, the lid may not seal. If you do get some on the rim, it’s advisable to boil the jar again. Fill each jar up to the dip in the glass. (Tip: A wide-mouth jam funnel makes this step so much easier!)
Put the lids and rings on the jars, once again being careful not to touch the rim of the jar. Tighten only as much as it will go without applying a lot of pressure. (This way, if your jar doesn’t seal the first, you won’t have to wrestle with a hot jar to get it open.)
Carefully place full the jars back into the hot water. Make sure there is enough water to cover the tops of the jars. Bring to a roiling boil and leave for the amount of time on the instructions. (We left our jars in there for about 10 minutes.)
Turn off the burner, and let the jars sit for a few minutes before removing them with your jar lifter.
Wait for the buttons in the center of the lids to pop. That’s how you know the jars have sealed. If any of them do not pop, you will either have to pour the jam back into the pot, re-boil the jars, and try the process again, or just put those jams in the fridge and use them up first.
Wait for the jars to cool, and tighten them the rest of the way. (Ideally, they should also sit still for 12-24 hours, but we kind of skipped this step. The jam still turned out fine, though.) Store in your pantry or a dark, cool place until you are ready to use them, or tie a taffeta bow around them and give them away as gifts!
Overall, the experience was super fun and educational. Ladies, if you’re ever in need of a girls’ day, making jam is a great way to spend it. Bonus if you have a friend who makes bread.