Friday, August 14, 2009


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For the first time in our lives, Squeaky and I made jam — raspberry-peach, peach and blueberry — with fruit from the farmers' market.

We followed the directions on the Certo package, and also some wisdom gleaned from the Internet and Squeaky's aunt, a seasoned jammer.

My gosh, even for a detail person like me, jamming is nitpicky and not like the kind of cooking I am used to.

Firstly, you have to sterilize everything but the kitchen sink. I do not own a canner, so we baked our jars in the oven at 225 F for 10 minutes. We boiled the lid rings for 10 minutes, but not the actual lids, no, those you must immerse in just-boiled-but-not-boiling water, otherwise the seal will be damaged.

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Then you have to skim off the sludge and bubbles that rise to the top while boiling the jam. And you have to make sure you don't get any jam on the lip of the lid when putting it into jars.

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We were also a bit grossed out by how much sugar you have to add: cup for cup of fruit, and then some! I had no idea I was eating so much sugar every time I had jam. But if you don't add all that sugar, the jam won't set, they say.

Well, our attention to all these painstaking details was all worth it when we heard the little "pop" that meant a vacuum had pulled the lid down into place. It was music to my ears because it meant, we had gotten it right!

To make the peach jam, we made light Xs in the skin at the bottom and top of the peaches, blanched them for 30 seconds in boiling water and then transferred them right away to a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. Then the skins were easy to peel off (you can skin tomatoes the exact same way).

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S and I are tucking into the raspberry-peach right now (below). I know it looks a bit radioactive, but I kind of like the psychedelic red. No hallucinations so far, just a mighty fine sweet taste.

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vincent said...


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CB said...

Hi Asha

Just read your post on making jam - something I haven't done in a few years. My favourite is cherry but it's getting hard to find decent quality cherries in large enough amounts in Ottawa.

My mom taught me to use a stopwatch when doing it - it really makes a difference if you boil it exactly for 3 minutes (more and you get a supersweet, thick jam, less and you get a runny jam that doesn't set).

If you do this again, I can suggest two things: 1. use Certo light - it requires less sugar than regular Certo. 2. get a canning funnel!! Lee Valley has a metal one that's safer to sterilize than plastic. Much easier to use too. :-)


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