09 April, 2013

Let's Jam

Recently a customer asked me to teach them to make Jam.  Now Boris is the Chef and he usually does the cooking classes.  My style of cooking is much more Suzy Homemaker and not meant to be shared in a professional sense.  So believe it or not I was really nervous to agree to this class.  But they are good friends as well... so how could I say no!

Gettin' our jam on... mango that is!

I make Jam for the shop all of the time and I used to can at home with my mom every summer.  I love how simple jam is.
I, as you know, am a purist when it comes to food.  I do not like preservatives or any STUFF in my food.  So when I make jam my general rules of thumb are; 1.5 -2  cups fruit to 1 cup sugar makes a safe and sturdy jam. Plus cooking it to 220F never hurts. NO PECTIN.  I don't know why but every time that I have used packaged pectin I end up with Syrup!  I like the natural way.  Did you know that all fruits contain some pectin? By mincing an under-ripe apple or making a "tea bag" of orange pith you can add enough pectin to any recipe to reach your gelling point. Here is a nice list to help you know how much pectin each fruit has.  Remember to purchase Just Ripe fruit for making your jam.  As they say 1-day Ripe is perfect.

In doing my jamming class I learned that Mangos are ultra high in Pectin!

My how times have changed...
What used to be a necessity is now a luxury and even a hobby.

I found this awesome site that I want to share with you also.  It shares all the basic science stuff that you need to know when making homemade jam.

Temperature Test - Use a jelly or candy thermometer and boil until mixture reaches the following temperatures at altitudes of:
Sea Level1,000 ft2,000 ft3,000 ft4,000 ft5,000 ft6,000 ft7,000 ft8,000 ft
220°F218°F216°F214°F212°F211°F209°F207°F205°F


Oh how I have needed this chart for jamming at high altitudes!   But I got pretty close on the look and feel method... But much happier now that I know my number.

Here are some tips from one of my favorite Jamming Blogs about how to ensure your jam will set.

The easiest of all tests is the plate test. Allow a little jam to cool on a cold plate – I keep a plate in the freezer, put some jam on it, and put it back in the freezer for a minute. If a skin forms on the surface and can be pushed with a finger the setting point has been reached. If not, return to heat and boil for a few more minutes, and test again.

Tell me these are not a thing of beauty!

And one last link for tips on making perfect homemade jam.

I hope this helped!  Feel free to leave questions in the comment box.

Happy Jamming!



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