How to Make Jam for Beginners

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

One of my favorite treats is my dad’s warm homemade bread, right out of the oven, smothered with my mom’s homemade jam. Over the years she has made raspberry, peach, apricot, strawberry and blackberry jam as well as orange marmalade. I love jam because it adds a delicious sweet flavor to pancakes, toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crepes, thumbprint cookies, and so many more foods.

The recipe is the same for almost all varieties of jams. The key to making jam is Fruit Pectin. It can be purchased at most grocery stores. It always comes with a paper inside that has a guide of jam recipes for a variety of fruits, as well as for jellies.

These delicious, fruity jams are a staple in any family’s house. Instead of buying them from the store, learn how to make fresh jam in your very own kitchen. This is also a great family activity so get your kids involved! They will love wearing their own apron and helping smash up the fruit. It takes a few hours so it will keep them entertained for a while. And instead of just wasting time watching tv or playing video games, they will have a finished product at the end to show for the time they put in.

First, get your mason jars and other equipment (listed below). These are usually next to the pectin at the store so you can pick them all up together. Next, buy your fruit. Sometimes places like Costco will have bulk fruit like strawberries for a good deal, but why go to a busy store when you can get fruit fresh off the farm? Use Fill Your Plate’s Find a Farm Product search feature to find a farm close to you that has the fruit you’re looking for.

The Pioneer Woman blog has a great article about the basic steps of canning, called “Canning 101 and Strawberry Jam (Part 1)”. Here’s an excerpt from it of the grocery list of supplies that you will need!

To begin, you need:

  • Strawberries (or any other desired fruit)
  • Powdered Fruit Pectin (this is sold in the canning aisle of supermarkets)
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Small mason jars with lids
  • Large canning pot
  • Rack to fit inside pot (the pot and rack are usually sold together. Wal-Mart’s a good place)
  • Jar lifter (to lift hot jars out of the water)
  • Large tongs
  • Magnetic wand (optional; to remove lids from simmering water)

Enjoy your jam making day and don’t forget to look up recipes for your meals this week on Fill Your Plate!

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