Fresh Jam in the Morning

Homemade Orange MarmaladeMy favorite is blackberry jam, but I also like to bite into a warm piece of toast with strawberry preserves. My tongue tingles in delight. Orange marmalade spread on top of scones or muffins also brings a smile to my face. What is your favorite jam or jelly? Although these delightful sweet toppings are easy to pick up in a grocery store, nothing tastes like homemade! The fresh aroma of strawberries or oranges can't be beat when you open your own jar of homemade preserves.


If you want to taste fresh jam in the morning, you must work for it. Choose either canning or freezing, depending on your preference and time. A good source of recipes is the "Ball Complete Book of Home of Preserving." If you have never put up jam this is a good source for detailed instructions as well as yummy recipes. Another source for great recipes are moms, aunts, friends and those people whose jam you have tasted.


Be sure to pick the freshest fruit for jams and check for any spoilage. Spoiled fruit can mess up a whole batch of jam. You will need some form of pectin, either powdered or liquid according to your recipe, and sugar. Some recipes call for lemon juice. Measure your quantities exactly when making jam and follow directions precisely. Precise stirring, cooking and setting times are all very important to make your jam/jelly "set."


Equipment is also important. If you are cooking your fruit before making jelly (like grapes) you will want to use a cloth jelly strainer to collect all the juice and remove seeds and peels. Simply place your cloth on the 3-prong stand and place over the bowl. Pour in your cooked fruit and let drain. The aroma will fill the whole house creating anticipation for those yummy spreads at breakfast.


Other pieces of canning equipment that are essential are a jar lifter, magnetic lid wand, funnel and tongs. If you are missing some tools, Kitchen Krafts has a nice canning tool set to get you started. If you are preserving by canning, a waterbath canner lets you process large batches at once. Be sure you have plenty of jelly jars on hand. The small 4 oz. quilted jelly jars fill up fast but make nice gifts to give to friends. The 12 oz. quilted jelly jars are great for families that love jam every morning, and the 8 oz. jars are just right for home use.


Once you have gathered all the produce, ingredients and equipment be sure to follow the directions for sanitation. You don't want all of this hard work thrown out because of spoilage. Lids and jars need to be sanitized in boiling water before packing with jam/jelly. Be sure to wipe any spills from edges of jars before placing lids on top. After processing, let jars cool and then wipe clean. Label your jars with date processed and the type of jam (something catchy that includes your name - like Pam's Pretty Darn Good Strawberry Jam).


Isn't it amazing? You now have your own homemade jam to eat every morning, possibly share with family and maybe give away to friends (the smaller jars of course).


I can't wait to get started myself on "Barb's Best Blackberry Jelly."


jars of Jam