Let Them Eat…..Jam

I consider myself pretty well rounded when it comes to food. I’ve dedicated nearly thirty years to serving, cooking, and baking some of the best….and some of the worst (not my fault)….food the industry has to offer. I can smoke, grill, saute and flambe with the best of’em. Only one thing intimidates me……home canning.

My mom is an avid home canner. Growing up I remember her jarring up green beans, pickles, and tomatoes the most. I remember planting six rows of green beans and more tomatoes plants than I can remember. Not to mention rows of yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, green cabbage, and okra. Then there were the hundreds of green onions planted in the garden and in two huge whiskey barrels with a scattering of pepper plants here and there. We planted lettuce in the spring and greens in the fall. If we didn’t eat it my mom either canned it, froze it, or gave it away. Back then I was more of the manual labor. Every now and then I got to string and break beans. The hard stuff was left for my mom to handle in the kitchen.

Last fall I began to research home preserving. I was mainly looking for freezer suggestions since we have a stand up freezer. I was about half way through the fifth page on google when it hit me. I ditched the freezer idea for the moment, and started looking into home canning. I watched a few videos on YouTube and read a few recipes. The next week I talked to my mom about it. That conversation has expanded to almost every phone call since then. I’m either asking a question or she’s telling me about what she has canned or is planning on canning.

This recipe is the first thing I canned, jam. I wasn’t ready for pressure canning. So I started with water bath canning. I’m not going to go into the USDA rules and regulations surrounding home canning, but you can find them here. The best part of making jam or jelly is you don’t have to process it if you can’t. Just cool it completely and store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Just don’t put it in plastic as it is boiling sugar after all.

I will say there’s a few things you should always do.

  1. Clean your jars in hot soapy water.
  2. Check for cracks or chips in your jars several times before filling.
  3. Follow USDA guidelines.
  4. Don’t rush the process.

Carrot Cake Jam

1 1/2 c. finely grated carrots, peeled

1 1/2 c. finely chopped pears, peeled and cored

1 3/4 c. crushed pineapple including the juice

3 Tsp bottled lemon juice

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

6 Tsp powdered pectin

6 1/2 c. sugar

Wash all jars, lids and ring bands in HOT soapy water. Rinse well and air dry. Prepare water bath canner. Heat jars in canner until ready to fill. Heat lids and bands in simmering water until ready to use. Do not boil lids.

Combine all ingredients except pectin and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and boil gently for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in pectin until completely dissolved. Return pan to stove. Over high heat bring the mixture to a hard rolling boil that can not be stirred down. Add sugar all at once. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a hard rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into HOT jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. De-bubble jars and wipe the rim with a damp paper towel. Place lid and band on finger tip tight. Place filled jars in canner until ready to process. Repeat process until all jars are filled. Carefully lower the jars into the water canner. Place the lid on the canner and bring the canner back up to a boil. Once back at a boil, process the jars for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude). Carefully raise the rack out of the water. Using a jar lifter remove jars from the rack and place on a clean towel to cool. DO NOT TILT JARS!! Cool for 24 hours. Check seals and remove rings. Wash jars with warm soapy water. Towel dry. Label, date and store.

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