This is how I spent the bulk of my weekend. And it was awesome. My mom came down to visit and wanted to get some use out of the big water bath canning pot she got me for my birthday so we set to work. We drove out Smith’s Berry Barn which is the cutest place ever! Not only do they have berries and produce to pick they also have a store on site where you can get just-picked fruits and veggies along with the most amazing gift shop ever. I wanted everything! But I settled for a $30 bottle of lotion (side note, I know that is ridiculous but I HAD to have it).
Here are some snaps from the picking:
So after we picked the berries (which we did in about 2 hours in the rain) we turned them into jam. This was the 1st time I’ve made jam by myself. Good thing my mom was around to help Amanda and I out or who knows what would have happened without her.
While my mom opted for a traditional recipe and used sugar, Amanda and I were determined to make “healthy” jam so we used honey and agave nectar. Here’s the recipe we followed. If I were to do it again, I’d cut way back on lemon juice and add a little more berries. I wanted 3 solid pints and the original recipe got me 2.5. I’d do something more like this:
Blackberry Honey Jam
- 1 box no sugar pectin
- 6 cups mashed berries
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup honey or agave (we used a mix of both)
First, remove all the debris from your berries (my mom is an expert at this and does it in the field. I learned the hard way and had to do it at home), lightly rinse with water and then mash them.
And then measure out the cups.
Once your berries are on the stove, mix your honey/agave and pectin together and add to your berries once they start to boil. Make sure you’re stirring this whole time and keep stirring (without reducing heat) until they set. This was a little vague in the recipe we used and it turned out to be about 10 minutes. You can test for “setness” but putting a little spoonful of berries in the freezer for about a minute. You can easily tell when things have jelled. Just keep cooking until set.
Then pour into jars.
Make sure there is about 2 inches of water above the jars and bring to boil. Put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the jars, check to make sure they sealed (the lid should be flat not popped) and store in a cool, dry place.
I ended up with 7 jars of jam (a few from my mom’s berries) and an additional 2.5 gallon bags of frozen berries for smoothies. It seems like a lot but I’m sure they’ll go fast. Especially the frozen berries. I’m actually considering going back next weekend for a few more and to check on their peppers and tomatoes which are supposed to be ready. Now that I’ve tackled jam I’m ready to move onto tomatoes and tomato sauce. Too bad my mom can’t come over every weekend.
Who out there has made jam? Any favorite recipes? Has anyone canned tomatoes and can tell me what I need to do for that?