Introduction: Jam - the Natural Way: an Organic & Pectin-free Method of Making Delicious & Healthy Jam
We hope you enjoy our easy approach to making jam!
Step 1: What You'll Need
Recommended Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
- 2 lbs. organic strawberries to equal 4 C mashed (mashing is explained later)
- 4 C natural, organic sugar cane
- ¼ C organic lemon juice
TOOLS (optional items are listed with an *):
- Canning Rack
- Blender or Immersion blender
- *Magnetic lid lifter
- Jar lifter
- Canning jars and lids for 4 cups of jam (4, 1-cup jars are used in these instructions)
- Small pot for canning lids
- Medium pot for cooking jam
- Large pot for canning and sterilizing that can hold water enough to cover your jars with about 2 inches of water over the top of the jar (alternatively, you may use a pressure cooker)
- Metal spoon
- Candy thermometer (NOT a meat thermometer)
- ¼ C measure cup
- 1 C measure cup
- *Strawberry corer or vegetable peeler
Step 2: Before We Begin
You may observe the following throughout this recipe:
NOTES: Important items for you to remember. Not remembering will not harm you, but may spoil the jam.
CAUTIONS: Reminders of potentially harmful aspects of making the jam.
WARNINGS: PAY CLOSE ATTENTION! Failure to do so could ruin the jam as well as harm you.
DEFINITION OF TERMS & TOOLS:
- C = Cup
- Lbs. = Pounds
- F = Fahrenheit
Using lemon juice in place of pectin is a wonderful, natural way to create your jam. For an explanation of how this works: http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/09/22/what-makes...
While this recipe is specific to strawberries, you may use a mixture of berries if the result is the same consistency as the strawberries here. Also keep in mind, some fruits don’t have enough natural fructose to create natural pectin. Some alternative berries to use include: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and boysenberries.
Step 3: Preparing Ingredients
Gather together your ingredients and tools.
NOTE: Only prepare one batch at a time & work in smaller batches to produce consistent jam
Step 4: Wash Strawberries
Wash/rinse the 2 lbs. fresh strawberries to remove any residue. If using frozen strawberries, set them out to thaw.
Step 5: Core and Slice the Frozen/Fresh Strawberries
Step 6: Puree the Strawberries
Using the immersion blender, a blender or a potato masher, puree the strawberries until they reach the desired consistency (if you like your jam with fruit chunks blend less, smooth, blend more).
Step 7: Measure the Sugar
Measure out 4 C of organic pure cane sugar. Please note, you should measure using a dry ingredient measure cup (right image) and level off each cup, which can then be placed in a larger container (left image).
Step 8: Measure Out ¼ C Lemon Juice
Here we have made our own organic lemon juice, but you could also find some at your local convenience store. To learn how to make your own:
Step 9: Preparing to Cook
Set out and prep your tools:
- A large pot for sterilizing and sealing the jars
- A canning rack
- A medium pot (double the size of the ingredients to allow for expansion while cooking)
- Cooking thermometer
- A small pot for jar lids approximately ½ full of water
- Jam jars, lids and rings
- Jar lifter
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Wooden / silicone spoon for stirring
- Metal spoon
Step 10: Begin Cooking
1. Put the lids in the small pot.
2. Begin the sterilization bath for the jars:
- Place the canning rack in the large pot
- Fill the large pot with enough water to cover the jars you’re using with approximately 2 inches of water over the top of the jar
- Use the jar lifter to carefully place the jars in the pot
- Turn the heat on medium high
Step 11: Cooking
1. Combine the 4 C mashed strawberries, ¼ C lemon juice and 4 C sugar in the medium pot and turn the heat on low.
NOTE: Make sure the ingredients fill the pot half-way or less, so the contents do not boil over while cooking
2. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. You will know the sugar has dissolved when the white streak from the sugar no longer shows while stirring.
3. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to high. You may notice a whiteish foam – this is the pectin developing.
4. Add the thermometer now, watching to ensure the temperature doesn’t rise above 220o F. A video of the mixture as it just begins to boil:
5. Continue to stir constantly, being sure to scrape the edges to prevent caramelization.
6. The sides will begin to form little bubbles just before it turns to a rolling boil. A video of what you should expect this to look like:
7. Continue stirring constantly, adjusting the temperature as needed to maintain the rolling boil without boiling over. The mixture will begin to foam and grow. A video of what this should look like:
8. The foam will drop, and the jam will begin to form. Check the consistency using the metal spoon and the double drip test (jam will meet at the same time in the middle of the spoon rim):
9. Once the jam passes the drip test it is ready.
10. Now remove the jars from the sterilization bath using the jar lifter. For a video of how to do this:
CAUTION: Be careful to remove all water in the jar without burning yourself
11. If you wish to remove the foam from the jelly (purely for aesthetics) you would do so now.
12. Turn the heat on the small pot with the lids to medium-high.
WARNING: It is essential the jars are not cold when you pour the jam in them or the jars may explode
13. Place a funnel in a jar and ladle it into the jars until it reaches just below the neck of the jar. For a video of how this looks:
CAUTION: Be sure not to spill jam on the rim of the jar or the jar will not seal
14. Use the magnetic lid lifter to remove lids from the small pot and carefully place them on the jars. Place the ring over the lid and hand-screw on.
15. Return the jars to the large pot of boiling water for 20 minutes. You should see bubbles coming out from under the lids.
16. After 20 minutes remove the jars by pulling them up vertically from the water, trying to avoid tipping them at all to maintain seal integrity.
17. Do not move the jars after setting them down, wait a minimum of 12 hours before moving.
18. You should hear the lids pop – you will know the jar has successfully sealed. For a video of how this works:
19. If any jars failed to seal, you can either eat right away or return to boiling water for another 20 minutes with a new lid (after waiting the 12 hours).
20.After cooling, hand-tighten the seal one last time.
21. Your jam is finished!
Step 12: Acknowledgements
These instructions were created by Team Jam:
The team would like to especially thank:
Edward & Debora Sperry
Dr. Casey Rudkin