Jam making tutorial - 101
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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Jam making tutorial - 101

    I'm going to be doing several tutorials on preserving and canning, so I've decided to do the easy one first. Although it is early in the year, I'd like to get as many done as I can before canning season really starts. The tutorials I will be doing are using the water bath method only.

    Also, a great time to make jams/jellies is during the long winter months, when your not having to do it during the hot weather.

    This tutorial will be on cooked jams and I'll be using strawberries to make strawberry jam.

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    Tips for making good jam

    ~I use Certo liquid in my jam making. I'm know there are other brands as well to use. Never mix brands together and never mix liquid or cyrstals together.

    ~Always check the "best before dates" on the pectin you choose.

    ~Sugar helps jams and jellies to set, so always use the exact amount they call for in a recipe. Never change the amounts in your recipes when making jams or jellies. If you want a low-cal jam, find a recipe that is specific to that.

    ~Do not double recipes as your jam or jelly will likely not set.

    ~Measure all your ingredients accurately. I always measure my prepared fruit or juice in a glass measuring cup. I use a Tupperware measuring cup for sugar.

    ~Use firm ripe fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit that has been thawed in your fridge. Often, over-ripe or extra fuits will affect the set of your jam. Make sure when your using juice to make the jelly, you measure accurately.

    ~Crust your fruit with a potato masher, not a food processor.

    Jam making is quite simple if you follow the instructions in your recipe and the instructions that come with your pectin.

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    Supplies needed

    ~always have a good supply of sugar on hand when you begin to make jam. You don't want to run out of sugar half way through making your jam. Make sure you have your pectin handy as well.

    ~a timer

    ~a large stainless steel pot to cook the jam in.

    ~a couple of wooden spoons to stir with.

    ~pot holders or oven mitts

    ~jars - Here is where I am very picky when it comes to canning/preserving. I want to make sure that my family stays healthy and the jars stay sealed. I purchase new jars or jars that are specific to canning/preserving only. I do not use jars that I've purchased pickles in, or mayonaisse, etc. Because I do a boiling water method with all my canning/preserving, I don't want jars to explode when put into boiling water. Now I know many people use all types of jars, but for me - I play it safe at all times.

    ~lids - Again never re-use lids unless they are glass lids with rubber rings and the rubber rings must be new. Again, there is much discussion on whether to use glass lids or not. I have now stopped using glass lids because they are hard to replace because most stores do not sell them anymore.

    ~pouring funnel - Again you don't need this, but it saves so much on spills and makes jam making so much easier

    ~jar gripper

    ~water bath canner - You can pick these up at Walmart or often at yard sales. If you pick them up at a yard sale, make sure you check to see if there is a water leak.

    Here is a picture of both the jar gripper and water bath canner: 

    <IMG height=215 alt="Back to Basics Water-Bath Canner &amp; Cooker" src="http://i.walmart.com/i/p/00/01/85/79/17/0001857917900_215X215.jpg" width=215 border=0>

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    For those wanting to can jams, jellies, fruits, tomatoes, chili sauces, etc.. (all of which I plan on doing tutorials), you'll need a water bath canner.

    They can be purchased at:&nbsp; http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...00000000629140&nbsp; or a number of hardware stores or even at some grocery stores.

    &nbsp;

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    This recipe will make 4 pints of strawberry jam.

    First we wash our jars in hot, sudsy water just as in the following picture.

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    Once your jars are washed and rinsed, then check them. Rub your finger along the rim of the jar to check to see if there are any nics in the rim. I do this after they are washed, because at times when they are in the sink with 4 or 5 other jars, they can get a nic.

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    Always, always sterilize your jars, no matter what type of canning/preserving you are doing. I put a bit of water in a pot and then put the jars in upside down, just as in the following picture. Once the water has boiled, I then take the jars out and place them in the water bath container and keep them there while the water is getting hot and I'm ready to use them to put the jam in.

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    For this tutorial, I'm using Certo, the recipe found in the Certo box and I'm using the following lids.

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    You can also use glass lids and rings. If you do, always check the glass lids, again to make sure there are no chips or nics. Always use new rings.

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    Take your canner and fill it with water. With pint jars, you want to fill your canner about 2 inches over the middle rim. You want your jars to be completely covered with water by at least one inch. Place your canner on your stove, turn on high and bring water to a boil. Now is the time you can add your sterilized jars to keep them hot while your making your jam. Cover with lid so that the water comes to a boil faster.

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    You now also want to boil your lids. Place in water and follow instructions on your lid box. For my lids, I need to boil them under 5 minutes, so I usually boil them about 3 1/2 minutes. If your using rubber rings, you must boil them for 5 minutes.

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    JAM RECIPE

    3 3/4 c. crushed strawberries
    1/4 c. lemon juice
    7 c. white sugar (do not use less
    1 pouch CERTO liquid pectin

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    Hull and crush strawberries one layer at a time. You can use frozen strawberries here, just make sure you have partially thawed them before using. I don't like to have them completely thawed, because then you have way more juice.

    I like to use a fork to mash them, but you can use a potato masher if you like. Do not use your food processor for this.

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    Place your crushed strawberries into a large stainless steel pot. Pour in 1/4 c. lemon juice, just like in the following picture.

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    Now add your sugar, making sure you measure accurately, 7 cups.

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