How do I make cheap jam?

I'm looking to make little pots of jam as a wedding favour. Ideally it would be affordable and in season if possible (I'm getting married at the end of June). Although, it would be easier to make the jam well ahead of time. So, I guess what I'm looking to make is cheap but interesting and delicious jam.

canida8 years ago
All the answers you've gotten are quite good! While I love the idea of sending out one-year jam jars, it's a bit impractical and likely to fall off your radar.

Jam making really is easy - just pick a fruit that's tasty, seasonally abundant, and cheap. Combine your fruit with some interesting seasonings (I've had great success with grated fresh ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, citrus zest, mint, or even fresh savory herbs like basil or thyme) and add pectin according to the directions on the box. Find yourself an accomplice who also likes to eat jam - if they've made it (or done any canning) before, super-extra-bonus.

Do read over some of the canning and jamInstructables first for tips and tricks. If you don't already have it, a jam-making pot with basic accessories will be $20-30 at your local home or hardware store, and jam/canning books can be acquired from the library if you want to read up first. But really, the pectin package instructions are pretty much all you need, as the trick is just getting the fruit/sugar/pectin ratios right.
orksecurity8 years ago
Advice I got from a friend who has been canning fruit and veggies for fifty years agrees with ChrysN -- "Refrigerators and freezers are wonderful things. I do it the traditional way because that's what I grew up with, and because it's easier to give as gifts, but if I was starting now I'd stick with the freezer approach." The same recipes work just fine; I prefer the ones which use a reduced amount of sugar; if you're going to use pectin, there are varieties which will set without so much sugar. The cold-plate trick is a good one for checking when the mixture is ready to set. I generally try to get by without pectin for fruits which shouldn't need it, but I've been known to add a small amount late in the process if I decide to cheat. Having said all that: Wedding favors means folks are going to be carrying these home, possibly long distances... so you might want to stick with the traditional approach. Cheap/interesting/delicious... Well, what kinds of fruits are local, and/or significant to your relationship, and/or interesting to you? I'm lucky enough to have black currants available, which produce an unusual jam with a more tannic than sour flavor. I've also got a few "highbush cranberry" plants, which yield a jam I love but which has a strong odor that bothers some people enough that they have trouble trusting me and trying it. Some plants normally thought of as decorative have edible berries -- Firethorn, for example -- though if they're being grown for decoration they may have been sprayed with chemicals that shouldn't find their way into food. Obviously if you have a source of wild edible fruit (blackberry/raspberry/blueberry?) that qualifies as particularly cheap, though time consuming. But home canning generally can be described as "cheap but time consuming". The former is a good thing for wedding favors. The latter... If you haven't done this before, I'm not sure I'd recommend you try it when under other time pressures, at least not without assistance from someone who has done it before. Learning new skills is a wonderful thing; trying to do so when under lots of deadline pressures is probably not optimal. Maybe have the wedding first, then learn to make jam and send the jars out to the guests a year later as first-anniversary mementos?
ChrysN8 years ago
If you make freezer jam, you don't have to worry about boiling it to sterilize. It is quick and easy to make. And really tasty too.
frollard8 years ago
Jam is really easy - there are plenty of recipes. Look to the right: Related instructables; lots of them. It's usually Fruit, Sugar, Pectin. Depending on the fruit, you might not need to add pectin, as it's found naturally in a lot of berries etc. Only concerns are keeping it sterile - lots of boiling.