just a smidgen

Preserving Summer

{ Note to Bloggers: due to an agonizing slow internet connection I am having difficulty uploading pages and photos… I will be sure to get to everyone’s blogs as soon as this is remediated!! Sorry for the delay!! }

Preserving Summer

Jams, jellies, thick preserves
Cauldron frothed,
Boiled and bubbled ropy
Messes of lush bliss.

Ambrosial crushed pulp,
Sweetened berries are
Heaping spooned in
Warm scented blend.

Cinnamon and nutmeg,
Vanilla, lavender-
Lemony snippets simmer and
Fragrant splatters burst.

Generous stirring as sweltering
Syrup tranforms into
Thickened leggy
Spoon-dolloped pudding.

Clinking glasses kissing,
Chattering their song in
Churning baths of
Pure crystal flow.

Sticky apron spattered,
Scoop-ladled, shiny
Funnels of glistening
Summer Jars.

by Barb Bamber, August ’12

We’re right in the heady days of summer.. when market tables overflow with ripened fruit begging to be bitten into with chin-juice dripping gusto. It was high time I taught myself how to “put up” gleaming jars of Raspberry and Cinnamon Peach Jam.

All I can say is… what took me so long?

Speaking of long.. if you’re a seasoned “Canner”, often “Putting Up” preserves.. thank you for “Putting Up” with my lengthy post today and feel free to skim to the end!

If you’re a beginner like me, I highly recommend your visit Bernardin’s website where you’ll find a handy step-by-step guide to canning. This post is not meant to cover every detail in the canning process, so please stop by their site before undertaking preserving for your first time. I know it really helped me!

You’ll require a large pot and a few tools that make the job a snap.With an eye for future huge jars of dill pickles, I purchased the largest canning pot that I could find and a rack so that the jars don’t sit on the bottom of the pot. Then all I needed was a basic set of canning tools from our local hardware store (Canadian Tire). The kit supplied me with a funnel, a magnetic wand for lids, measuring/stir stick and a really “grippy” set of jar tongs for plunging into the hot boiling water.

In sports as in the kitchen, I’m a firm believer that there’s less room for disaster when you have the right tools, and this is definitely one of those times when you’re dealing with glass jars and boiling water! I also recommend splurging the extra few dollars to buy a metal funnel, something about hot liquid on plastic makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

I did double every jam recipe, I thought if I was going to so much trouble, I’d better have lots to show for it. But please note, I did so by making each recipe from start to end twice.  Don’t attempt to double by cooking everything all at once, it can make it a challenge to get the jam to set, plus you’d need a really massive pot!

1. Give your jars, lids and rings a quick soapy wash and make sure to rinse well to remove the soapy residue. Spread all out on a clean tea towel.

2. Place your metal rack into your canning pot and fill with water, a generous few inches above the top of your jars. Lower in the jars you will be using into the water and turn on high to bring to a boil. This heats and sterilizes your jars while you make the jam.

3. In another small pot, add a few inches of water, toss in your lids and set the water to just barely simmer. Try not to boil your lids.

4. Prepare your jam as instructed by the recipe. I always try to have all the ingredients prepped and laid out ahead of time so that I am merely “assembling” the jam and bringing it to a boil.

5. Once the jam has cooked and thickened, use the rubber tongs from your set to remove the glass jars, ensuring you pour the boiling water back into the canning pot as you go. Place on a metal cooling rack. Don’t worry about any small amount of water remaining in the bottom of the jars, that will evaporate from the heat of the glass.

6. Then scoop with a clean, heat-resistent ladle or measuring cup into the prepared jars, using your funnel to avoid spilling. Fill to the recommended “head-space” and give a little stir if there are any air pockets. Use a dry paper towel to clean the tops and sides of the jars, this ensures a good seal.

7. Use the magnetic wand to remove the lids and place on each jar. Lightly hand-screw the bands onto each jar, finger-tip tight, making sure not to over-tighten. This allows any remaining air to escape the jars, allowing the lids to seal under pressure.

8. Using the tongs, submerge each jar, upright, in the boiling water, submerged about 1-inch below the water’s surface. Cook for the recommended length of time in the recipe. *Processing times need to be adjusted for altitude. Check the chart below. Then using the tongs, remove each jar to a cooling rack or dry tea towel. Do not disturb jars or tighten bands.

8. As the jars cool, listen for the “pop” as each lid’s center clicks down. Do not tighten the bands, this prevents proper sealing.

9. Allow your jars to rest, undisturbed for 24 hours. Once the jars have completely cooled, remove the bands and check for a strong seal by pressing down on the lids, there should be no movement in the lid. Again, do not tighten the bands, this prevents proper sealing. During this time, the cooling of the contents will further create a vacuum and pull the lids tight to seal.

10. After 24 hours, wash, wipe clean and dry the outside and tops of the jars. Bands may be gently screwed back on if you wish.

11. Make sure to label the contents and add the date your jam was made. This is important as most preserves do expire in one year. Store in a cool, dark shelf or cupboard.

12. Once a jar is opened, use then refrigerate. Discard any product that is discolored or smells “off”.

Increase Processing Time         Altitude

5 minutes                                  1,000 – 3,000 (Okanagan Valley, BC)
10 minutes                                3,001 – 6,000 (Calgary, AB)
15 minutes                                 6,001 – 8,000
20 minutes                                8,001 – 10,000

 

Red Raspberry Jam
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups crushed raspberries (I used a potato masher)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 85 ml packet liquid pectin
Instructions
  1. Prepare 4 500ml jars as outlined above. Simmer lids over low heat, do not boil.
  2. Combine the berries and sugar in a large pot and stir to mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. I never left the jam unattended.
  3. As it gets hotter, the jam drips like water from your spatula and there will be a light foam on the surface .
  4. As the jam thickens and approaches 220° F (ideal temperature when jam sets) the foam will begin to clear and look like this. Jam starts to stick to the bottom and drips in thick strands off the spatula.
  5. The length of time this takes will vary, depending on the water content of your berries. It can take 15-20 minutes or much longer. It’s best to watch for the temperature using an instant read thermometer and easier to look for the thickness of the jam.
  6. Once the jam is set, stir in the lemon and liquid pectin. Bring back to a boil and continue to boil for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the stove and ladle the jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 ” head-room at the top. Then wipe tops of jars clean and top with hot lids. Finger-tip tighten bands, submerge upright and cook in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.. longer depending upon your altitude.
  8. Once cooked, remove to a wire rack to cool and follow the steps written above.
  9. Adapted from Food in Jars

Directions in Photos

Prepare 4 500ml jars as outlined above. Simmer lids over low heat, do not boil.

Combine the berries and sugar in a large pot and stir to mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. I never left the jam unattended.

The jam will begin to simmer and looks like this..

As it gets hotter, the jam drips like water from your spatula and there will be a light foam on the surface like this..

As the jam thickens and approaches 220° F (ideal temperature when jam sets) the foam will begin to clear and look like this. Jam starts to stick to the bottom and drips in thick strands off the spatula…

The length of time this takes will vary, depending on the water content of your berries. It can take 15-20 minutes or much longer. It’s best to watch for the temperature using an instant read thermometer and easier to look for the thickness of the jam.

Once the jam is set, stir in the lemon and liquid pectin. Bring back to a boil and continue to boil for another 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the stove and ladle the jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 ” head-room at the top. Then wipe tops of jars clean and top with hot lids. Finger-tip tighten bands, submerge upright and cook in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.. longer depending upon your altitude.

Once cooked, remove to a wire rack to cool and follow the steps written above.

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