How to Make Jam

What is jam?

Jam is made from pieces of fruit, usually cut or crushed and cooked with sugar until the pectin is released and the mixture thickens to a spreadable consistency. The most common types of fruit used to make jam are berries, grapes, and pit fruits. Jam is ideal for spreading on toast and filling pastries.

What ingredients do you need to make jam?

Fruit: If you are making jam for the first time, it is best to start with varieties that are high in pectin such as citrus fruits, apples, cranberries, currants, peaches, and quince. This fruit will naturally thicken easily when cooked with sugar, which is essential for good results.

Sugar: Besides sweetening the flavor, sugar works with pectin and fruit acids to form the jelly texture that indicates the right jam. Sugar also acts as a preservative that preserves the color of the fruit and prevents mold growth. Low-sugar jams often require added pectin to stabilize.

Pectin: Commercially produced pectin is sometimes added to jams when the fruit does not contain enough natural pectin. Pectin is a natural substance found in berries, apples, and other fruits. When cooked on high heat with acid and sugar, it turns into a gelatinous substance. Learn more about pectin, including suitable alternatives,

What equipment do you need to make jam?

Large saucepan or heavy bottomed saucepan: Using a heavy pot prevents the fruit from burning due to the heat, while also providing a larger surface for evaporation. The key to making jam is to reduce the water in the fruit, which helps thicken its texture with the sugar, so a thick-bottomed saucepan will allow you to cook longer without burning the contents.

Jam jars: Use heat-resistant, sealable (easy to sterilize) glass jars to store jam after cooking. The jam must be hot when it comes into its sterilized jar and close tightly, otherwise it may become moldy. Part of the preservation process is for all the air in the jam to escape and then the lid to be sucked down into the vacuum, creating a strong seal.

Heatproof spatula or wooden spoon: Heat-resistant cookware does not heat up quickly to high temperatures or chemically react with acidic foods as their metallic counterparts do. It does not melt or release chemicals in hot food as plastic does.

What fruits can you jam?

When it comes to choosing fruit for jam, the sky is the limit. You can make fruit jam from a large variety of fruits:

Citrus fruits, such as oranges and oranges. Citrus fruits, especially oranges, are rich in pectin.

Apple fruits, including apples and pears. Apples are characterized by high levels of pectin.

Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. This soft fruit contains less pectin.

Core fruits such as apricots. Apricots are low in pectin and require more sugar to turn into a gel.

Tropical fruits, such as pineapple and passionfruit. Tropical fruits contain almost no pectin. Mix with high-pectin fruits or add more sugar to reach desired consistency.

What is the difference between jam and jelly?

Jam is made from pieces of fruit with sugar, while jam is made from fruit juice and sugar only. You’ll notice a huge difference in texture, with jam being textured and spoonable as opposed to jelly which is smooth, firm, and clear.

Can you make jam without pectin?

You can make jam without adding pectin in two ways:

Use fruits rich in pectin, such as apples or oranges.

Mix a low-pectin fruit with lemon juice, so that the natural pectin from the citrus will react with the sugar in the fruit.

In general, hardly ripe fruits have a higher pectin content and require less sugar than ripe fruits with less pectin. You’ll need to add more sugar to the ripe fruit to help it thicken, and a little extra lemon juice to balance out the sweetness.

4 tips for making perfect homemade jam

Clean and sanitize your jars. Making sure the jars are cleaned well will preserve the shelf life of the jam and protect your food from spoilage. Sterilize jars by washing them in hot, soapy water, then rinsing, and draining. Place on oven racks and heat at 250 F for 10-15 minutes.

Use the correct type of sugar. Granulated or preserved sugar is ideal for making jam. The granules work well with high-pectin fruits, but sugar preserves have larger sugar crystals that help stabilize low-pectin fruits.

Check the pectin level in the fruit. Pectin is naturally present in the fruit and when cooked with sugar, it thickens and thickens the jam. Citrus fruits, apples, and peaches contain high levels of pectin. Soft fruits such as peaches, cherries and grapes contain lower levels. To balance out low pectin fruit, mix it with high pectin fruit (a few juices of lemon juice work), or add commercially made pectin powder. Using a slightly underripe fruit will increase your pectin levels.

wrinkle test. The jam set point is 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Test this with a candy thermometer or try the “wrinkle test.” Before you cook the jam, put a plate in the freezer. As soon as you think the jam is ready, put it with a spoon on the plate. If the surface of the jam wrinkled when pushed with your finger, it is done.

How to store homemade jam

When jam is cooled and stored covered in clean jars, it can last up to a month in the refrigerator or up to a year in the freezer. Canning greatly extends the shelf life. If you process by canning in a boiling water bath, you can expect a shelf life of up to two years when stored in a cool, dry place.

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