After the success of the peach butter I made a little while ago, I have become seriously enamoured with making jam, inspired mostly by Food in Jars. I think what I like about this whole canning/preserving thing is that I get to make something delicious and sweet but don’t have to feel bad about eating it, because you don’t eat an entire batch of jam at once. I’ll admit that sometimes I feel a bit guilty after making a bunch of cookies, because it means I will be on a sugar binge until they’re all gone – because you gotta eat them while they’re fresh, right? But jam is different. I feel so thrifty and satisfied looking at the filled jars on the shelf – plus there’s all this fantastic fruit around right now, and what better way to use it than to save it for later!
Be sure to follow the proper procedure for canning to ensure that the food is shelf-stable and safe to eat. I follow the canning instructions from Canadian Living.
Spiced Plum Jam
Inspired by the Honey-Sweetened Skillet Stonefruit Jam on Food in Jars. I didn’t have any honey but I did have a bowlful of prune plums from the tree in our backyard and this seemed like the perfect thing to do with a small amount of fruit before it went bad! The cinnamon comes from the plum coffeecake with cinnamon struesel that my mum used to make.
Makes slightly more than enough to fill 2 half-pint jars.
Combine and let macerate over night:
2 2/3 cups pitted and chopped prune plums
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick)
juice of 1/2 lemon
(If you want, you can skip the macerating step and just combine all the ingredients in the skillet.)
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until it starts to thicken, get syrupy, and turn a deep reddish-purple. You know it is done when it reaches 220˚F or when you can draw a line with you finger through the jam on the back of the spoon. Remove the cinnamon stick, if using (or break it in half to put in each jar). Pour the jam into two sterilized half-pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Sit back and listen for the “ping” as the jars seal :).
Again, inspired by the Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Jam on Food in Jars. I knew I wanted to try this recipe and I just happened to find these local strawberries on sale – end of the season! I only had one and a half vanilla beans in the cupboard, so I added a little vanilla extract as well (feel free to use more vanilla beans instead).
Makes exactly enough to fill 4 half-pint jars.
Combine and macerate over night:
2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries (about 2.5 lbs)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 vanilla bean pods (split and scraped) and seeds
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1 1/2 lemons or limes
(If you want, you can skip the macerating step and just combine all the ingredients in the pot.)
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until it starts to thicken, get syrupy, and turn a darker red. You know it is done when it reaches 220˚F or when you can draw a line with you finger through the jam on the back of the spoon. Pour the jam into four sterilized half-pint jars, with a piece of vanilla bean in each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Sit back and listen for the “ping” as the jars seal :).