Homemade Jam is SO Easy to Make!

by Jenn on July 1, 2009

in Budget,Dairy Free,Dips and Sauces,Gluten Free,Photography

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Mmmm fresh homemade raspberry jam, and chocolate raspberry jam.  Served on slice of toasted bread with butter, it makes the PERFECT breakfast.  Or lunch, or daytime snack…This was my first attempt into jam making, and it was a total success.  I made two kinds – raspberry, and chocolate raspberry, using fresh raspberries from the farmer’s market this past weekend.  This was better than anything I could have ever hoped to buy in a store, it didn’t take very long, and it was a LOT more affordable than store bought jam.  In fact, I don’t see why I should ever have to buy pre-made preserves ever again!

Since I’d never made jam before, I did some online searching for directions.  Most jams and preserves that I found called for fruit pectin.  Well, no where I shop at actually carries fruit pectin, so recipe hunting took a bit of work.  However, I did find this raspberry jam recipe over on WikiHow that used only two ingredients – raspberries and sugar.  Ok, I can do that! On to the jam making!

The first step is simple – take equal parts raspberries and sugar and mash them together.  I did this all in my copper saute pot, because since I was going to need to control temperature a bit, I wanted to have the most heat responsive cookware at my disposal.  Then, you just heat it up slowly (on medium), stirring a lot, until it starts to boil.

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If it doesn’t boil right at 140 C, then you add in sugar a little at a time until you reach that boiling point.  So for this I just held some in my and and gradually added it while I kept whisking.  It worked great.  I never really got an “oily” surface on top, but I did eventually get a sheen to the surface of my mixture.  I think I might have boiled it a little bit too long though, as the jam did turn out a bit stickier than I expected.  But then maybe that’s because of all the sugar in this recipe, I’m not sure.  I will have to experiment some more!

I don’t have a canning set up.  So instead, I took some old jelly jars and salsa jars (because I do keep everything that can be reused) and dishwashered them, and used them to pour my boiling jam mixture in.  They worked great.  When they cooled you heard the “clank clank” of the lids popping downward indicating a vacuum had been made and they were really sealed.  I didn’t really do the whole “boil the jars in water” thing because I knew I’d be delving right into this jam and it would not last (before getting eaten) to have to worry about any bacteria issues.  I made one large jar of raspberry jam, and a smaller one of the chocolate.

The chocolate variation came about as a bit of a spontaneous decision.  I had more jam than fit in the larger salsa jar, and just on a whim decided to throw in a handful of chocolate chips to the pot.  I quickly whisked it together and then poured it into the smaller jar.  This was darker, and richer, and gooier and well just awesome -

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And yes, once the pot had cooled enough I totally scooped out every last bit that I could like a little kid.

So, jam, butter and toast every morning this week!  Totally budget conscious, totally tasty.  I made myself (since only I can eat it) a loaf of Bittman’s “No Knead Bread”, which costs about $1.50 to make ($.30 for 2 slices).  The jam was made from $5.50 worth of farmer’s market raspberries (about 2 cups), which comes out to about $.50 per serving with the amount I use, haha.  And 1 tbs. of organic butter comes out to about $.15.  So for less than a dollar per breakfast, I have a fantastically awesome 500 calorie breakfast that is every bit as indulgent as many fine desserts.  Ok so when I make GF bread it costs a bit more because there is no such thing as cheap GF flour.  But it’s still a lot more affordable than buying GF bread, and toasted with melted butter and jam is equally awesome.  This meal is simple, but because it’s homemade using quality ingredients, simple in this case translates to “heaven”.

I think next time I am going to try with honey instead, and maybe add in some mint.  Maybe I will play with some other fruits as well…I see so many possibilities here!

Oh and this is my first blog post using my new macro friendly lens! yay for f/1.8!  It is definitely taking some getting used to, particularly the lack of a zoom feature which is causing me to use my gorillapod in new creative ways to get the shots I want.  But this lens is SO much lighter than my other one making the camera a lot easier to handle, and it does much better with the less than awesome lighting in my home, so I have resolved a lot of the issues that I was having before.  Here’s to better yummier looking photos!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy July 1, 2009 at 6:15 am

What a great recipe! This is one of those things that I’ve never done because it seemed too fussy, but this is right up my alley. I love that you can re-use jars, too – I didn’t know they’d seal again!

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Wendy July 1, 2009 at 6:16 am

And now that I say that about re-using jars, I feel like an idiot, because of course people who regularly make preserves use them all the time. Duh.

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Cate July 1, 2009 at 7:09 am

I love the idea of throwing in a handful of chocolate chips! I think that jam would never make it onto my toast… I’d just eat it all straight from the jar with a spoon!

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zoe July 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Awesome! I just ordered my f/1.8 too. I’m supposed to get it this week, I can’t wait. Looks great!

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Deborah July 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Oh my goodness – the chocolate version sounds amazing!! I’ll have to try that out!

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Shauna July 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I was thinking the same thing as the poster above…that chocolate version has to be heaven!

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elly July 2, 2009 at 1:17 am

Mmm the chocolate jam sounds delicious!

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Kate July 2, 2009 at 6:05 am

You should be fine just dishwashing the jars, I handwash mine (cos I don’t have a dishwasher!) and dry in a low oven for around 20 minutes to take care of the bugs. As long as you get the “clank, clank” all is good! You can put a plate in the freezer till it’s cold, take it out and put a bit of jam on it, if after a couple of minutes you put your finger on it and the surface is kind of ‘wavy’ (vague description but you will see it when it happens!) then the jam is ready to go into the jars.

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Liz July 3, 2009 at 12:12 am

Wow, chocolate in jam sounds like a great idea! And I totally save all my jars too (and plastic containers, and tins …).

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Jillian July 20, 2009 at 1:23 am

Both the jams were DELICIOUS! my kids just loved the chocolate one (so did i!!) The chocolate one makes a great dessert if u spread it on fresh baked italian bread with a side of ice cream or a thick layer of it on top of a crusty cinnamon toast!!! YUMMM

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Jenn July 20, 2009 at 1:25 am

I’m so glad that you liked them!! Yeah the chocolate jam I think was my favorite too :) I love your idea of spreading it on top of cinnamon toast!

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