Jam 101: How to Make Jam with Whatever Fruit You Have on Hand

Jam 101: How to Make Jam with Whatever Fruit You Have on Hand  | strawberry-jam | Natural Health Organics

Perhaps the very easiest thing to can is homemade jam. It’s not very expensive, it’s simple, and once you’ve made one kind of jam, others just cooperatively fall into place for you. It’s a great way to get started canning.

The instructions for basic jams are all pretty much the same – you only need to make minor modifications for different fruits. So, because we’re all creative people, I’m laying out the basic how-to, giving you a chart with special instructions fruit by fruit, and you can take it from there. 

Ingredients 

  • 8 cups of fresh or frozen fruit (organic)
  • 1 packet of pectin + ¼ of a package (I like to use the no-sugar-needed, but then still add sugar – just less!)
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2 tbsp- 1/4 cup of lemon juice

Directions 

1. Prep your fruit by washing it and cutting it up if necessary.

2. Smush your fruit. You can do this with a potato masher, food processer, blender or food mill. For some fruits I like to puree them and have a smoother jam and for others I like chunkier jam – it’s up to personal preference.  

3. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix ¼ cup of the sugar with one packet of pectin.

4. In a saucepan, stir the fruit, lemon juice and pectin together well.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

6. Once it is boiling, stir in the sugar and return to a boil for one minute. 

7. This is important:

Jam Making Rule of Law:

Always test your jam!!!!

How?

You do this by keeping a spoon in the freezer – to test, drip a bit of the hot jam into the spoon to allow it to quick cool – the consistency it reaches is the consistency your finished product will be. At this point, I nearly always end up adding another 1/4 – 1/2 package of pectin – I use the cheaper pectin to “top it up” – return to a simmer for a couple of minutes and test again. Omitting this step may result in a very tasty ice cream topping or waffle syrup, but not jam! 

8. Ladle the jam carefully into your awaiting (sanitized) jars, wipe the rim and cap your jars with snap lids and rings.

9. Process in a water bath canner, according to the ingredients chart and making adjustments for your altitude.

Jam Making Chart

 
FRUIT
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
PROCESSING TIME
Apricot
Peel, slice in half to pit
5 minutes
Blackberry
optional step: mill to remove seeds
10 minutes
Blueberry
optional step: puree
7 minutes
Cherry
Pit with a cherry pitter, chop before cooking
10 minutes
Grape
Mill to remove seeds
10 minutes
Huckleberry
Check for stems
10 minutes
Peach
Peel, slice in half to remove pits
10 minutes
Plum
Slice in half to remove pits
5 minutes
Raspberry
Crush with a potato masher
10 minutes
Strawberry
Remove cores, mash with a potato masher
10 minutes

If you are using more than one fruit in your jam, follow the instructions for the fruit that takes the longest to process. For example, if you are making a blackberry and plum jam, process for 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes. 

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Subscribe to The Sleuth Journal Newsletter for Daily Articles!


About The Author

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California. She is the author of The Organic Canner, The Pantry Primer: A Prepper's Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply. Daisy's articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

    Related posts

    • Amerikagulag

      Love the article. Very important today! Everyone should learn how to make their own. It’s really simple and your recommendation of the low-sugar pectin is a plus. The fresh fruit flavor is much more prominent.

      Just a tip on sterilizing jars. My aunt (now deceased)used to sterilize her jars in the oven. Just wash the jars thoroughly and put them into a 250 degree oven until you’re ready to use them. A word of caution tho. If you’re cold-pack canning you need to allow them to COOL DOWN a bit before filling them. They’re completely sterilized and at a HIGHER TEMPERATURE than boiling will give you. That’s how I do it and have been doing it for years without any problems.

      I got into a heated discussion about this on another canning site with some USDA stuffed shirt. The objection was that there are ‘cold spots’ in your oven and the jars may not get to 250. Maybe you can explain THAT to my pound cake! Even if the jars only got to 235 or 240, they would STILL be hotter than boiling water. Higher temp – better sterilization. It’s just logical.

      I also use STEAM canning for all my high-acid fruits. (Not pressure canning) Steam canning uses LESS water (about 2 inches) and yields excellent results. The jars are popping when you pull them out! Check it out. Think water conservation here!

      I’ve also returned to using the old BLUE jars. If you can find them in good shape, they’re well worth the investment. Just be sure they’re not chipped and the seal rim is completely intact. Same lids, same bands and they keep food fresh considerably longer as they keep out ultraviolet light.