We’re Jammin’!

With plentiful summer fruits in market bins and baskets around the country right now, the craving to preserve it for winter is high on my list. I have a terrific recipe from my friend Therese’ mom for raspberry plum jam and I make plenty of it during these warm months to nourish us throughout the year. A spoonful on toast, mixed into yogurt or baked into thumbprint cookies brings back the feeling of a warm summer day.

PLUM RASPBERRY JAM

Equipment:

1. 6- 8 oz canning jars with sealable lids
2. Canning pot with rack and lid or a stockpot large enough to hold 10 jars
3. Enamel or copper sauce pot that is wide and shallow, Le Creuset works well
4. Wide mouth funnel
5. Canning jar tongs, regular tongs, ladle

Recipe:

4 cups chopped plums

2 cups raspberries

4 1/2 cups sugar

Lemon juice if desired

Wash the fruit well. Pit the plums and roughly chop – I use the Cuisinart for this task.

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I put the berries through a food mill to get rid of the majority of the seeds but you don’t have to do that if you don’t mind the seeds.

Meanwhile, wash the canning jars and put in a canner or large soup pot, cover with water and turn on high heat. You will need to bring to a boil then boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. Put the lid on to make this go a little faster.

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Put all the fruit into a wide, shallow saucepan. Turn heat to medium high, bring to a simmer and cook the fruit down a smudge, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. IMG_0261

Add the sugar all at once and stir well to incorporate; keep stirring until it all dissolves. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a brisk simmer stirring frequently and skimming any foam off the top; if you don’t skim the foam your jam won’t be as clear and may have pockets of white foam that gels into it.

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Keep an eye on the mixture, stirring frequently so it doesn’t cook down too much and scorch on the bottom. Gradually you’ll notice the color and viscosity change and you may catch a glimpse of the bottom of the pot as you stir through the jam. It’s getting close!

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By now your jars should be done with the 10 minute sterilization. Hold them in the hot water until the jam is ready. Bring a kettle to the boil, put the sealing lid inserts in a wide, flat pan and pour boiling water over them.

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Pull the jars out of the canning pot, emptying out all water and place on a clean surface. Using a wide mouth canning funnel, ladle the jam into the jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace at the top – no less and no more. Put the sealing lids and rings on and tighten then put the full jars back in the canner making sure each is covered by at least 1/2″ water. Bring back to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. This is called processing and makes the jam shelf-stable for at least 6 months or more.

When your timer goes off, pull the jars out and place on a tray or tea towel to cool down. It can take up to 24 hours for the jars to seal and when they do you may hear a “pop”.

Label and put the jam away for a rainy or snowy day. Rest easy knowing that, just like the squirrels, you’ve done your part to store up supplies for the winter ahead.

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