It’s A Good Old Fashioned Jam Make

WRITTEN BY MAX

We had ourselves a good ol' fashion jam make this past Saturday.

This weekend, much to our chagrin, we had a good old fashion jam make.  My girlfriend’s dad picked a ton of wild raspberries and gave them to us.  Ton is more of an approximation, it was like six or seven pounds.  But nonetheless, we made it, and this is the point where I will relate to you the joys of making jam.

First off, don’t wear your favorite baby blue and yellow sweater when you make raspberry jam.  The first step in the process is mashing the berries to squeeze out the juice as much as possible.  It should look something like this picture:

This is how you mash the berries. They should be the consistency of Snooki's girl parts.

Next, you want to continue mashing them, because I guarantee you didn’t mash them enough.  Really get in there and pulverize the hell out of them.  That is, unless you want big chunks of berry in your jam.  Then, by all means, half-ass it.

This was maybe the best action photo the camera has ever taken!

Using the strainer. Sometimes I wish my brain had one of these to keep the seeds and other stuff I don't want from getting in with the rest.

Once you are done mashing the berries, it’s time to strain off some of the liquid.  We pulled about half the mash out and ran it though a strainer.  This produced the glorious liquid you see here.  Remember, stained counters are like unprotected sex.  It just takes one little drop to ruin it for everyone.  Make sure you cover it.  We used the bin above and a towel.  Sometimes we rolled the dice, but we always had a Plan B sitting there, in the form of a wet paper towel.  It was critical that we use the back of a spoon to push the mash through the strainer.  This did two things.  It squeezed as much juice as possible out, and it also helped to remove some of the seeds.

This was from the second batch, but I needed another photo to break up all the writing with some exciting photos. What do I look like? A novelist?

I should back up a little bit.  First, get some water going for the actually canning part.  It takes awhile to get that water boiling, so start it first and then it will end up being ready right when you need it. When the water is boiling, pull some out to cover the lids like we did in the picture.  That makes them stick on there really good.

So once your water is going, you can put the mash and juice into the pot you are going to cook it in.  We always put just a little butter in to cut down on the foaming.  Go ahead and throw the butter in with the mix, and let it all boil together.  You can see a great example of this in this super awesome GIF I made below.  Make sure you stir the stuff the whole time you are boiling it, because if you don’t it will stick and cake on the side of the pan, much like J-WOWW’s makeup (I always pronounce it ‘Ja-Woww’).

Here's an exciting animation I made to show how we made jam. Enthralling, right? If the GIF doesn't work, I'll try to figure out why.

Once you get it to a roaring boil, you need to add the pectin.  I should back up here and tell you to go to the store to buy pectin.  We used the low sugar version.  As you can see, we mix it with the sugar, and even though it is ‘low sugar’, we still put four cups in.  Mix that junk up really well, and then pour it into the boiling mixture, much like I did in the GIF below.  Stir it in right away or it will clump together.  Continue stirring for about one minute, then get it off the heat right away.  Immediately ladle it into the jars.  Make sure you wipe any spills on the jars.

Nothing is more rewarding that putting a finished product into a jar, and knowing you didn't completely screw it up.

Gingerly set the lid on the jar, much like the first time you touched a boob, and then push it down firmly, much like how she really wanted you to touch it.  At this point, go ahead and screw the lid on tight and then place them in the water, either using a pair of tongs, or using some sort of provided tray to set multiple jars in at once.  They need to soak in this hot tub for about ten minutes.

I’d recommend shotgunning a couple of beers or shooting three fingers of bourbon while you wait.

When ten minutes is up, pull out the jars.  Hot damn and ala walla peanut butter sandwich, you just made jam.

The finished product coming out of the bubble bath. (Editor's note: Don't use bubble bath in the water)

We went above and beyond the call of duty on the second batch and used honey in lieu of sugar. It’s made this jam really healthy, until I spread it on my Big Mac.  The recipe called for up to a cup, but we only used about three-quarters of a cup.

The final verdict was that as a jam on toast, the low sugar was great, and even though it was low sugar, it was seriously sweet.  Sort of like how Two Dogs used to sound good until you had a couple and then your gut started rotting because they were so sweet.  Billy, you know what I’m talking about.

I used a gun and held up Winnie the Pooh. He's pissed and wants his stash back.

The honey jam was superior as an ice cream topper, and it had a more natural raspberry taste.  It was a little more bitter, and there was definitely some honey notes that were taste-able, but not overpowering.  I think overall, I preferred the honey version, but I think I would opt for the full Monty next time and go with a whole cup of honey.  Be prepared for a little bit more runny jam if you use the honey.  It doesn’t set up as thick without four cups of sugar.

With honey, t's a little looser than what you might expect from a jam, but it sets up well and has good taste. But, you can introduce it to your parents, so fair trade, right?

I put a gallery of all the shots below, so check those out.  Sometime soon we are making elderberry jam, so I’ll probably post some of those photos, too.

No matter how hard I made this look, it’s a breeze.  Even a slow-witted simpleton could make jam.  I highly recommend trying it.

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~ by maxaverage on January 23, 2012.

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