Jammin in Amherst

Grow Food Amherst sponsored a strawberry jam making workshop on June 20 at the Bangs Community Center.  Twenty intrepid “jammers” joined Peg Thibbits to learn to make jam!

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Peg wants to share the following message with her jammin friends and others!

Greetings Jammers!

Thanks so much for coming to the strawberry jam-making workshop last week!  Here is an outline of what we did and also some links to very helpful websites that might spark your interest in other canning & preserving activities that are easy to do at home.

 Helpful equipment:  canning rack, jar grabber, long handled spoon, ladle, funnel.

 Strawberry Jam Recipe

  •  4-5 cups of cleaned/hulled/chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup of juice or water
  • optional for tartness: 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. no-sugar/low-sugar pectin
  • optional: up to 3 cups sugar

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You need: 4 or 5 half-pint jars, new lids & bands

First, get your jars, lids and bands washed & rinsed.  Put the jars into a pot of water, and start it heating up towards a boil.  When it boils, shut off and add the lids and bands.

Next:

  1.  Put berries & liquid in pan, and start to heat up on medium.  If you want to blend them or mash them up, do that now.
  2. Slowly sprinkle in the pectin and stir until dissolved.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil that you can’t stir down, and keep it boiling for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and add sugar now.
  5. Return mixture to a hard boil and stir constantly for 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
  7. Remove the jars, lids and bands from the hot water, using your jar grabber (and lid magnet if you have one!)  Then turn on the pot again to get the water boiling for the canning process.
  8. Ladle into jam using the funnel into hot jars.  Leave at least 1/8 inch of space at the top of the jar. Wipe the rim of the glass. Place lids on top and screw on the bands until just tightened.
  9. Put jars in a canning rack and lower into boiling water. Make sure jars are covered by about 2 inches of boiling water. Keep at a gentle, but rolling boil for 10 minutes.  (If you put the jars in before the water is boiling, set the timer for 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil.)
  10. Remove jars from the water using your jar grabber.  Set out to cool on a rack.  Keep level and still until set.

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 ** If you want to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, use 2+1/2 cups strawberries and 2+1/2 cups washed, chopped rhubarb.

Note: The acidity of the food you are canning is very important.  This recipe does not require adding lemon juice or citric acid to increase acidity, but some recipes do.  Make sure you follow a recipe when you are getting started, so that your canned food is safe and keeps for a long time in your pantry.

For more canning information, go to:

  1. National Center for Home Food Preservation:  nchfp.uga.edu
  2. www.pickyourown.org
  3. Mother Earth News:  www.motherearthnews.com/read-food/canning.aspx
  4. Ball Canning Company:  http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes.aspx

You can also cook the jam and put it directly into the refrigerator if you are going to eat it right up or give it away to be eaten within a couple of weeks.  One person commented that the freezer jam gets liquidy after a few months in the freezer, and I agree.  The best way to keep it long-term is by canning.

Have fun and contact me anytime to share your questions and successes!!

Peg

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And don’t forget to mark your calendar for Peg’s next workshop on making jam with blueberries and/or peaches on:

Thursday, August 22: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Bangs Community Center

Amherst, MA

The workshop is limited to the first 20 registrants, so please register with Stephanie Ciccarello, Amherst Sustainability Coordinator, at (413) 259-3149 or CiccarelloS@amherstma.gov.


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