Learning How to Can Jam

When I was young, my mom had a garden in the backyard.  I remember her growing various vegetables and for the amount of space we had, she managed to have enough produce to process and can at the end of the season.  Being a kid when she was doing it, all I remember was how hot the kitchen was when the canning process was going.  That being the case, I had absolutely no idea how or why she was doing what she was doing.

Spring forward to the here and now, and I've grown up and want to learn about everything to do with food... so, I seek out opportunities to learn where I can.  A friend from a local MOMS Club I used to be a member of had been posting updates and sharing all the different things she was canning.  I was intrigued by the jam since My Oldest loves simple jam sandwiches on occasion.  So, she was kind enough to invite me over to learn to make jam and can it one evening. 

I purchased the fruit, and ended up with 4 pounds of strawberries because that was the best they had at Costco.  Strawberry jam is simple enough, and a really nice way to start out before diving into the more interesting flavor combinations. 

When I arrived, she had already washed the jars - she recommends Ball canning jars because the quality seems better and she hasn't had any issues with them cracking or sealing properly.  The jars were bubbling away in the canning pot - which looks like a huge stock pot with a metal rack inside.  While the jars continues to bubble away, we began making the jam.  Jam is really fairly simple when it comes to ingredients - mashed up fruit, sugar and pectin... and sometimes some lemon juice depending on the jam you are making. 

My friend had two types of pectin, liquid and powdered.  As you can see, when they are cooking they look considerably different.  While the sequence of adding the ingredients differs between the two, the both set-up nicely.

Once the jam has cooked, you remove the jars from the canning pot and place on a dish towel.  Then you use a wide mouth funnel and begin filling them.  After filling them, you run a knife through them to get rid of air bubbles, then wipe the rims to ensure they are clean - otherwise they may not seal properly.  Next, using a magnetic lid lifter remove the lids from the pot they were in and place on top of each jar.  After the lids have been tightened, they go back into the boiling water.

Once it's time to remove the jars from the boiling water, you place them on the dish towel again. 

The jars need to sit for 24 hours to give them time to seal.  They might seal sooner, but she lets them sit a bit longer - just to be sure.  After they are done, she adds these adorable labels to the top of each jar...

I'm looking forward to doing this on my own now that I've watched the process.  Just need a few more supplies and I'll be getting busy with canning!

Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.
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What beautiful jars of jam! I used to watch my mother can too, but didn't take the time to learn how. I've been thinking about it lately as homemade just tastes so much better. Thanks for the post Patsy.
Good for you for learning these time honoured techniques!!
Miss Martina said…
Thank you for the fabulous post! U make it seem quite simple. Would you please share your formula with ratios for fruit-sugar-pectin amounts & cook times to make fruit jam & perhaps which fruits require the lemon juice? That would be really great. Thank you for your time spent sharing. MM-
I want to make jam but it still looks like so much work. If I had had excess mangoes again this summer I would.
kaye said…
I love jam.. bread with jam. yummmmy
Jamie said…
How awesome that you learned to do this Patsy. I think canning is a lost art and I admire those that still do it. How long do the canned jars stay fresh? Thanks for sharing your experience. Maybe one day, I'll give it a try.

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