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Monday, August 15, 2011

A Long, Hot Bath

My jam fresh out of the water bath.  Kate took this picture.  

I've made a lot of jam over the last couple of days and needless to say, we will not be eating all of it.   And besides, jam is the perfect thing to give to others.  I know that I would be very excited if someone gave me a jar of homemade jam.   I, like most people, generally buy jam at the grocery store so receiving homemade jam would be really special.

But, you have to be careful not to poison your gift recipients.  That is why sterilization is so important when canning.  Aside from using the best ingredients possible, sterilization comes next in order of importance.  When the jars are all filled with your delicious jams, the next stop for your jars should be a long, hot water bath.

I'm not going to lie.  The water bath is a pain in the neck.  I'm not a big fan of huge pots filled with boiling water but I have to make an exception for this process.  Giving your jam a water bath is really very easy but takes some time and a really good pair of hot mitts.

This is a canner.  This is why we have basements for storage.

I actually have a canner.  It's a huge pot with a rack inside to hold the jars.  To be fair, this pot hasn't seen the light of day in years, not since the last time I made jam.  In the meantime, it's been living a secluded life and gathering dust in the basement.

This video, Water Baths for Dummies, is very helpful in explaining the sterilization process.  In fact, it's a lot clearer than I could be without plagiarizing someone who actually knows what they're talking about.

Since we are still swimming in peaches over here, I made another batch of jam, this time peach raspberry.  It's so yummy and looks beautiful in the jars.  And, having taken a ten minute stop in a water bath, I know it will make a perfect gift for anyone who really likes a nice jar of jam.
My peach raspberry jam just before I started cooking it.

Recipe:  Peach Raspberry Jam
(Adapted from Certo)


4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1-1/2 pt. fully ripe red raspberries and about 1-1/2 lb. fully ripe peaches)

1/4 cup  fresh lemon juice
6-1/4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp.  butter (optional, to prevent foaming)
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin


Bring a boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling.

Crush the raspberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Sieve half of the pulp to remove some seeds. Measure 2 cups prepared raspberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Peel, pit and finely chop peaches. Measure 2 cups prepared peaches into saucepan with raspberries; mix well. Stir in lemon juice.

Stir the sugar into prepared fruit in saucepan. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

1 comment:

  1. I am so terrified of poisoning my family, I have yet to try canning. But inhave to say that these flavors sound amazing. I might just 'cave....'