Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 1, 2013 07:34 PM

Jamming, canning and preserving 2013

I know that we had a post last summer, and couldn't find one this season, so thought that I'd post one.
I've been doing a lot of jamming:
Raspberry rhubarb ginger
Strawberry Rhubarb (you may notice a theme here)
Strawberry Vanilla
Strawberry Champagne.
Unfortunately, while making the last batch, I got distracted... and it boiled over in a very dramatic fashion. What a mess: I had to decant the jam into another pot while I cleaned the big pot inside and out, and I still can't the burn marks off my glass top stove, no matter how much I scrub,
And to add insult to injury, the jam still hasn't set yet!
I hope that you are all having better luck than me.. would love to hear about your preserving this year!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I just made some fridge-pickled green beans two days ago - I had a pint jar's worth of nice beans that I trimmed and packed in the jar, along with some dill, garlic and a slivered red chile. Filled the jar with brine and tossed it in the fridge. This morning, they are great, crunchy, spicy, salty - and the garlic is BLUE!! I know it's safe, but it sure looks strange...
    Three pints of blueberry-lime jam done. Still waiting for the strawberry farm to update their website that the berries are ready.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tacosandbeer

      Blueberry lime sounds really good.. kind of different.

      1. re: tacosandbeer

        I've made blueberry-lime jam in the past--very tasty!

      2. DH and I went to a u-pickem blackberry farm and picked 8 1/2 pounds of beautiful huge berries. I canned 9 jars of whole fruit jam for him, and 9 jars of seedless jelly for me.

        From 4 lbs of southern peaches, I put up 4 pints of preserves. Still need to do another half dozen or so to last till next summer.
        I canned about 18 jars of strawberry jam last month, and when the strawberries went on sale for 99ยข a pound last week, I had to restrain myself from making more.

        Much as I'd like to experiment with some fancy flavors in my jam, I am totally a traditionalist and can't bring myself to add anything other than sugar to any of the fruits I use. I did a strawberry-balsamic once, and it was okay. Did strawberry-orange once, too, and it was okay. When I make pure strawberry jam, it's much better than ok!

        15 Replies
        1. re: kitchengardengal

          Wow! Our peaches won't arrive until late July/August.. blackberries can be hard to find, very impressed by your 8.5 lb haul!!
          I like combining fruits the best I'd say, rather than anything too elaborate. Cherry plum is probably my favourite!

          1. re: kitchengardengal

            Wow, I'm impressed as well!

            I have 4 pounds of black plums in the kitchen, waiting to be cut up and then turned into sun jam. That will be my first canning project of the summer but hopefully not the last!

            And I too prefer keeping it simple. Love the fancy flavors when I am given some, but for making it myself, prefer plain.

            1. re: happybaker

              What is sun jam - please explain?

              1. re: cstout

                cstout -

                Sun Jam is a wonderful almost miraculous thing, made possible by Organic Gardening magazine (they first published the recipe years ago) and the dear friend who shared it.

                You take cut up fruit, mix it with half the amount of sugar, put in cut up lemon (for flavor and pectin), cover it tightly with plastic wrap - and then put it in the sun for 6 - 12 hours.

                The power of osmosis (thank you jr. high science for knowing that word!) makes the dry sugar pull out the fluids from the fruit, and as part of the process, gently breaks down the cell walls. So it pre-cooks it without really cooking it. Then you finish it in a pot on the stove, generally it takes no more than 15 minutes cooking and stirring. Can if you want, or just put in tubs, refrigerate and share. Or freeze.

                So it has the perfect texture of jam, but because much happened when it was raw, it tastes really really fresh.

                And if you are doing strawberries, they are so delicate you don't need lemon and can just do it on the countertop in an hour or two. Then cook.

                It's a tad runnier than "normal" jam. But so much fruiter and more flavorful, people don't mind and I have a running request list for the holidays.

                I've attached a pic of what the cut up fruit looks like a few hours into the process. By the end of the day, it's almost like soup.

                Happy jamming!

                1. re: happybaker

                  Sun jam - thank you so much for sharing this. I am totally excited to hear more about it. Will not bombard you with my long list of questions - will just google on "sun jam organic gardening".

                  Of course I can't leave without at least a question or two.

                  What fruits have you tried besides strawberry? Have you discovered any secrets/tips that you learned on your own about this method?

                  1. re: cstout

                    cstout -

                    If you can't find the recipe online, you can ask more questions : ) I don't know if we can email each other through chow or if it's just posts...

                    I have used this recipe/method for peaches, plums, nectarines, mangoes and strawberries. With a bit of tweaking, it can be used for blueberries, but that's my secret. (Can't give it away or I'll have nothing to give at the holidays!)

                    Never do a batch larger than 8 cups of fruit - it will take too long to cook and won't taste as fresh or good.

                    Use a big deep pot, to lesson the chances of over boiling.

                    My favs for this method are plum, nectarine (it's like perfumed honey!) and strawberry.

                    Good luck!

                    1. re: happybaker

                      happybaker - here is my email address. You are anyone else is welcome to email me as long as you are not selling something - I get enough of those emails!


                      In the back of my mind I faintly remember someone I knew tried this method & ended up with fermented tasting fruit. Has this ever happened to you?

                      1. re: cstout

                        cstout -

                        Thanks for the address, I will email you the recipe later tonight!

                        I have been making this jam for longer than I want to admit, and I have NEVER had a fermented tasting fruit/jam.

                        But I only do it in the sun one day, 6 - 10 hours depending on the day and then I cook it immediately, or throw it in the fridge and cook it in the next day or two Then can.

                        1. re: happybaker

                          Oh man could I beseech you for that blueberry recipe too? I'm very nervous about pectins, the natural jam in the sun sounds great! Thank you!!!

                    2. re: cstout

                      Remembered a blogger who had an excellent post on it several years ago, and dug it up for you:

                      1. re: clepro

                        This post does not work anymore. Clepro dear, how do you remember these things? I cannot recall that at all, perhaps after reading the post, it will come to me. You are a genius!

                        Please forgive me for the blank here. I read tons of things & after awhile, it becomes a blur. In the meantime I will just google "a cooking life".

                        1. re: cstout

                          odd.. I was able to open the link?

                          1. re: cstout

                            I generally remember a number of details, throw those into a google search, and more often than not, get lucky!

                            I suppose bookmarking would work too, but I'm crap at keeping my bookmarks organized.

                          2. re: clepro

                            Yes, the post does open for me now. Yes, I do remember the post once I clicked on it.

                            I have tried happybaker's recipe/method with great success. In fact, since I am not a very experienced preserver/canner, I shall just use her recipe from now on out. I did peach sun jam & it was wonderful.

                            Aren't the pictures on that website beautiful? My kind of stuff.

                            Thanks so much for pointing this out to me.

                            1. re: cstout

                              Aw, thanks cstout : )

                              I'm not very experienced at canning either - but that recipe makes me seem like I am!

                2. I made strawberry with a hint of black pepper, and blueberry-rhubarb. Despite adding pectin, they are both more like heavy syrup. Maybe because I used a different brand that I got from King Arthur, and not Ball? I seem to recall pectins
                  can be very different. The jams taste good over cake or pancakes anyway.

                  And I finally trust myself enough to have canned them and actually stored them at room temperature for the first time.

                  I finally bought a candy thermometer and brought the jams up over 220, definitely longer than I used to cook them, but that didn't seem to help with the setting.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    Setting can be such a pain.. especially with the lower sugar recipes. On the other hand, I once made something with red currants, and it set so solidly it didn't move when I turned the jar upside down.
                    When they don't really set, I label them "preserves" instead of jam!

                    1. re: rstuart

                      I label them "ice cream topping"!

                      1. re: rstuart

                        Suggestion for the settlers, freezer jam.

                      2. re: coll

                        Did you follow the specific directions for that brand of pectin? Did you mess with the amount of sugar using a pectin that wasn't low sugar? Both of those can mess up your set <------voice of sad experience here.

                      3. I am co-hosting a bridal shower tea for my niece and one of the favors are 4 oz jars of jam. I made strawberry rhubarb jam, blueberry marmalade, cranberry raspberry preserves and peach jam. I am not sure I like the peach-too sweet.

                        We had a prolific crop of asparagus and put up 10 jars of pickled asparagus. I also picked up some fabulous strawberries at the farmers market and made strawberry preserves which end up as strawberries in syrup. That is the way I like it where you fish out a berry and smoosh it on your toast. The strawberries have been very good so I think I will pick up more today and make a batch of strawberry-rhubarb for us.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                          Pickled asparagus sound great! I do wish that I had a garden some days..
                          My strawberry champagne jam is also supposed to be a favour for a bachelorette.. we're doing a wine tour, so I volunteered to make the jam (what was I thinking?). Very impressed that you made 4 different types!

                          1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                            The summer is progressing and I have canned:
                            sweet hot pickle relish
                            fresh apricot preserves
                            dilly beans
                            Chinese duck sauce
                            a rib sauce
                            watermelon rind pickle

                            Items that I haven't processed:
                            Garlic Dill Pickles
                            Bread n' butter refrigerator pickles
                            dill refrigerator pickle
                            raspberries in raspberry liqueur

                            I am planning on making plum raspberry jam but the recipes I see have way too much sugar (2 c fruit 4 c sugar?). Also on the schedule is pesto before the basil gets totally out of hand.

                            1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                              My plum jam is 4 cups cut up plums to 2 cups sugar. So you are right - no way do you need that much sugar! You might have to add a bit more if your plums are tart but still...

                              Sounds like you'e doing great stuff!

                          2. My grandmother used to make chokecherry gel . . . it rarely set up into jelly. But we'd pour a little into a saucer and dip white bread in it. So nostalgic!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MickiYam

                              Hey, my motto is, when life hands you lemons make lemonade! I'm thinking pancakes for breakfast, with the failed jams as syrup.