Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canning & Jamming!

Sunny Apricot Jam ~ 10 Half Pints

Started out looking like apricot soup:

Apricot Jam in Cookpot

My apricot tree did not have even one apricot on it this year. My plum tree had a few beautiful plums, but only enough to enjoy eating fresh. So in my dual effort to clean out my freezers (all 3 of them), and in order for me to even out the "jam vs Jen" score started by that strawberry jam incident last June, I used some frozen fruit to make a couple of batches of jam.

I made one batch of apricot jam and one batch of plum jam. Both fruits were gathered from local trees, pitted and frozen either last year or the year prior. They kept remarkably well in my freezer. Their colors and taste were still quite fresh. When cooked down with the sugar (I don't use added pectin in my jam) both fruits tasted great.

I had an abundance of apricot jam this time. See the photos above. The recipe makes about 8 half pints, but this batch produced 10 half pints for me. I had only prepared 8 jars, so I poured the rest into a pint jar and kept it in the fridge to use now rather than later.

My plum jam, shown below, made exactly 8 half pint jars. One of which did not seal correctly. First time that's ever happened to me in my canning experience. So I placed that jar of tangy plum jam into the fridge next to the apricot jam. Both jams make great PB&J sandwiches, especially on my homemade bread.

Bright and Tangy Plum Jam ~ 8 Half Pints

Here are the plums simmering with the sugar in the cookpot. Sort of looks like plum stew at this point.

Plum Jam in Cookpot

One of my new canning tools that makes fishing the lids out of the hot water in the canner a lot easier, is this nifty lid rack show below:

Canning Lid Rack

Using this rack, I just lower the whole thing filled with washed & rinsed canning lids into the hot water inside the canner to sterilize the lids and keep them warm until I need them. Then I lift the whole thing out and place it on the kitchen counter while I work quickly to fill the hot jars with jam and place a lid and ring on each one. Before I had this rack, I'd have to fish out each lid separately either with tongs or the little magnet tool that worked well, but had a handle that was way too short. Kept burning my fingers. This rack is way better. You can buy it at Lehman's, along with many other nifty things.

So now I have plenty of jam around here for awhile. I may make more before the summer is over. I still have more frozen fruit in my freezers. Nice to enjoy the fruity tastes all during winter.

© Copyright 2009 Mountain Harvest Basket


Knit Witch said...

YUM!! That lid thingy is awesome!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Wow, my two favorite kinds of jam! It's lots more fun admiring the jars of homemade jam on your pantry shelf, than bags of fruit in the freezer. I know you'll enjoy the PG&J, especially on the magnificent bread you bake. Way to go, Jen!

Hardware Bob said...

Wow, you are really stocking up for the Winter. Great photos and descriptions, made me drool.

I know where there is more frozen fruit. I also have ample storage for your production in case you run out of room. I'll take very good care of your jam.

Woe is me. I have peanut butter, and only a very tiny bit of your yummy apricot jam left.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Brittany,
Yes, it's very handy.

Hi CA Grammy,
You are right about admiring the jars of homemade jam. Better than just knowing I have fruit in the freezer. Thanks for the praise.

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the photo praise. I figured you'd mention the fruit I have stashed in your deep freeze.

Woe is you, huh? Not. You talked me out of my apricot jam the other day when it wasn't even your half birthday yet, and you've almost eaten the whole jar already. You *might* get some more jam someday if you are really, really good to me. We'll see.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Mmmm! My apricot tree has yet to produce any fruit, and I don't have a plum tree, but my peach tree and apple trees are making up for that. lol!
I've never canned before, but I have made more than 5 gallons of freezer jam with these peaches and will probably be making more, as this peach tree just won't stop. Not that I'm complaining at all. lol!
So, you don't use pectin? why? And it looks like you don't use one of those pressure cooker things to can. Cool! I think that's what has held me back from trying to can my own produce. That has always seemed so dangerous and technical to me. I'd really like to learn to can the traditional way, too, one day.

Your jam looks beautiful...and will be such a delight for you this Fall and Winter :)


Sheila said...

Your plum jam looks wonderful. Do you know if it matters the type of plum for jam?. I seem to be getting lots of yellow Shiro plums and only a few red ones.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Lisa,
I am envious of your bountiful peach tree. What kind of peach is it, by the way? You have put up a whole heap of peach jam and I know your family has been eating lots of fresh peaches for weeks now.

I don't use pectin in my fruit jams because I like to go as natural and organic as possible. Also, I prefer the taste of homemade jams/jellies made without added pectin. They taste more fruity and less sugary to me.

I have a pressure canner that I use for some canning projects, usually tomatoes and also applesauce. Anything that is lower in acid content is a good candidate for the pressure canner. Pickles and jams and other fruits can be processed (canned) using a "water bath canner" which is simply a very large pot with a canning rack in it filled with boiling water. If you've never canned before, start with pickles and jams. They are the easiest, I think.

Hi Sheila,
Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment here. I am not familiar with yellow Shiro plums, but I think that they would work fine for making jam. Of course, the color of the fruit will be the color of the jam. So you will have yellow plum jam if the ripe plums are yellow. Could be very good.