Agave nectar is 25% sweeter than sugar and can either be substituted cup for cup in place of sugar or at at 3:4 ratio.
Step 1: Gathering Your Materials
You'll need a basic canning kit. This includes:
- Wide mouth funnel
- Jar Lifter
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- Bubble remover/ Head Space Gauge
The first two are the most important however, I purchased all of them for around $7.
You will need a canning rack with the lifting attachments.
Additionally you will need:
- A small sauce pot
- A large canning pot (or regular pot permitting it fits your canning rack)
- A large sauce pot
- A wooden spoon
You will need 6 - 250 mL jars with snap lids and screw bands. If you are purchasing jars new they should come with the snap lids and the screw bands. If you are reusing jars be sure to purchase new snap lids as these should not be reused.
- approx. 3 pints berries (4 cups, crushed)*
- 1 package Pectin
- Agave Nectar (3 cups)**
- butter (1/2 tsp)
- lemon juice (2 tbsp)
Note: This recipe only uses the equivalent of 3 and 3/4 cup sugar. This the "light" version of the recipe. If you choose to make the regular recipe it would require 5 cups sugar.
* Last summer I used a pint each raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Today I used 2 pints blackberries and 1 pint blueberries as our black berry bush was churning out more berries than we could eat.
** If you do not have agave nectar readily available you can substitute sugar cup for cup or a ratio of 3:4.
Step 2: Prepare Your Materials
1. Wash* your berries. Lay your berries onto a baking sheet and use a potato masher to crush them. Measure 4 cups and place into a large sauce pot.
2. Combine berries, butter, pectin and lemon juice. Measure agave nectar or sugar and set aside.
1. Place your canning rack in the bottom of your pot. Place your jars into your pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer (180 F/ 82 C).
2. Set screw bands aside. Heat snap lids in hot water (not boiling). Keep both hot until ready to use.
* I washed my berries with a small about of lemon juice to help remove any impurities. I additionally washed them twice as they came from my backyard and had some ants hanging about.
Step 3: Making Your Jam
1. Over high heat bring fruit to a full boil.
2. Add all the sugar stirring constantly and return to a full boil that cannot be stirred down.
3. Boil hard for one minute*. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
4. Cool a few minutes. **
*My first time making jam I learnt the hard way that the pectin will not activate if you do not allow your jam to boil long enough.
** Some people recommend to ladle the jam into your jars while it is still hot. However if you have larger fruit chunks allow the jam to cool a few minutes to prevent all the fruit to floating to the top of your jars.
Step 4: Jarring Your Jam
2. Place the large mouthed funnel into the jar and quickly ladle the hot jam into the jar withing 1/4 inch from the top (this is where the head space gauge comes in handy). Add or remove jam as necessary.
3.Using a non-metallic utensil (The head space gauge/bubble remover) remove any air bubbles from the jar.*
4. Wipe the rim to removed any food residue and center the hot snap lid on the clean jar rim (use the magnetic lid tool to remove the snap lid from the pot of simmering water.
5. Screw the band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger tip tight.
6. Return to canner and repeat with remaining jars.
7. If you have any jam left over just spoon them into a small ramekin or bowl and enjoy!
*This jam was fairly liquid so I did not need to remove any bubbles.
Note: The recipe should make 6 250 mL jars when using sugar. Because the agave nectar is liquid and I had an extra quarter cup of crushed berries I ended up with more, around 3- 500 mL jars and one 250 mL jars with a bit jam left over in a ramekin.
Step 5: Processing Your Jars
2. For altitudes up to 1000 ft process for 10 minutes. After processing is complete remove lid from your canner and and wait five minutes.
3. Remove the jars without tilting and place on a protected surface. Cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
4. After cooling is completed check the seals on the jars. Sealed jar lids will curve downward and will not move when pressed.
5. Remove screw bands and wipe jars clean.
Step 6: Enjoying Your Jam
After you have wiped down the jars you may replace the screw bands or cover the snap lids with a decorative swatch of fabric fastened with a piece of ribbon or twine. Like here:
Finally label your jars. There are plenty of websites that offer label templates for free. Here is a site that offers lots free printables; just choose one of your liking! These two sites (here & here) both offer printables exclusively for canning. You can either print on sticker paper (available at most craft stores) or an card stock and fasten with ribbon.