It might seem old fashioned to spend time making homemade jam when shops have such a wide choice, but the best way to make breakfast extra special is to have a jar of jam in the cupboard. Jam is preserved easily because the sugar itself acts as a preservative. Jam is fruit boiled thick with sugar. Most jam recipes call for a 2:1 ratio of sugar to fruit by weight or volume. Some homemade jam recipes that are really trying to hold down the sugar content call for a 1:1 ratio. Jelly generally has a 1:1 ratio, 1 c. juice to 1 c. sugar. Jelly making depends on having proper amounts of fruits, pectin, acid, and sugar. Jellying is a chemical change based on the presence of pectin and acid.
It's a natural substance in some fruits, especially under ripe ones, that "jells" when heated and combined with acid from the fruit and sugar. Apples are usually rich in pectin. Natural ripening causes the pectin to break down. So if your fruit is overripe, your jelly will never get firm no matter how long you boil it. Peaches, strawberries, and cherries don't have much pectin. You can combine pectin-rich fruits with pectin-poor fruits, use commercially prepared pectin, or make your own.
Add sour apples, crab apples, currants, lemons, cranberries, sour plums, loganberries, or green gooseberries, Ripe apples, blackberries, oranges, grapefruit,sour cherries, and grapes have a sort of average pectin content. Fruits that don't jell well on their own because of low pectin content are apricots, peaches, pears, strawberries, and raspberries.
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A homemade jam is made of fruit or fruit juice, pectin, acid and sugar. It is less firm than jelly. Fruits, such as apples, plums, lemons, lime and oranges, are high in pectin content, witch when combined with sugar, helps jam to set. Strawberries, cherries and peaches are low in pectin content, and lemon juice is often added to these fruits to aid setting and bring out the flavor of the fruit. These simple steps show you how easy it is to get started. Here are the most popular homemade marmalade (jam) recipes.
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil. Cook rapidly..
Wash apricots. Pit. Do not peel. Cut in small pieces. Crush thoroughly. Combine sugar...
Peel the bananas and thinly slice or mash with a fork. Place the bananas in a heavy..
Crush fruit thoroughly. Add water and fruit pectin. Stir until pectin is dissolved. Heat..
Wash, trim and roughly chop the rhubarb, put it into a pan and cook gently until it..
Cut cantaloupe in pieces the size of your thumb. Combine with drained crushed..
All you need is carrots, ,sugar, lemons and cinnamon for this delicious jam..
Pit and chop cherries. Add next three ingredients. Bring to boil and cook for..
Stone cherries. Crush the fruit. Boil in their juice till tender, about 10 minutes..
Squeeze the pulp from the grape skins into a preserving kettle, reserving the..
Place figs in 4 qt pot. Add all water, cover pot, bring to a boil and remove..
To prepare chopped figs, cover figs with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes..
Peel and pit peaches; finely chop or grind. Measure 4 ½ cups into 6- to 8-q...
Stem gooseberries and wash carefully. Drain. Add sugar. Heat very slowly..
Husk and wash the ground cherries carefully. Measure the sugar and water into..
Wash fruit, peel, seed and cut in cubes. Mash with a potato masher or run ..
Measure prepared fruits into a large bowl. Measure sugar and set aside..
Peel peaches. Pit, and grind or crush. If peaches lack flavor, add juice of..
Peel, core and dice the pears. Cut the preserved ginger into small chunks..
In saucepan, combine strawberries and pectin, mashing or crushing berries..
Drain, reserving ⅓ cup of the syrup, the cherries and cut up in small..
Pare pumpkin. Remove seeds and cut pulp into cubes. Add sugar. Stir well..
Cook raspberries uncovered for 10 minutes. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve..
If you don't have a preserving pan, use a very large, stainless steel saucepan deep enough to prevent you from being scorched by the boiling jam, with a solid base to distribute heat evenly. A sugar thermometer clips to the inside of the pan for easy reading to see when jam reaches the setting temperature of 220°F (104°C). If you don't have one, however, follow the recipe and test for a set using the cold plate or flake tests. Long handled spoons prevent you being burned while stirring and skimming, and using plastic funnels reduces the risk of burning yourself when pouring the hot jam into jars.
The best jars to use are those with self sealing lids that form airtight seals, which prevents bacteria from destroying the jam during storage. This is an important consideration for any jams you intend to keep for a long time. All jars and their closures must be crack-free, clean, and sterilized before being filled with hot jam. Wash all the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse in hot water, or wash in a dishwasher. Put the jars and lids on a wire rack in a large pan, making sure they do not touch each other or the pan's side. Pour in enough boiling water to cover, and then boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Using tongs remove the jars from the water and drain upside-down on clean kitchen towels. Place the jars on a baking sheet in a preheated 210°F (100°C) oven for 15 minutes to dry.
Yields: When making any jam recipe, always treat the quantity it makes as a guideline and be prepared to have little more or a little less. The actual yield will vary because of several factors, including the size of the fruit, their degree of ripeness, and the size of the pan and the jars.
Ripe fruit spoils quickly, so handle it as little as possible. Remove fruit from any packaging and put it in the refrigerator to slow the ripening process. Or, take advantage of seasonal gluts and freeze fruit for jam making later in the year. As many fruits collapse when thawed, be sure to label the container with the weight before freezing, so the balance of fruit, sugar, pectin, and acid won't be upset.
Making jam is a time honored way of preserving seasonal produce. Ideally buy fruit from a loose display so you can select the best. Fruits that feel heavy for their size are likely to contain the most juice. Do not buy any bruised or moldy fruits, or those that look damp and smell musty.
Use only recipes developed specifically for the microwave (see your librarian). And consider that recipes developed for one microwave may not work in another because of differences in power output between the ovens.