Making jam hard work, but rewardingFirst, making jam and jelly is a lot of work. It can get a little messy and pretty hot in the kitchen. Second, it’s a pretty good feeling to share the bounty.
First, making jam and jelly is a lot of work. It can get a little messy and pretty hot in the kitchen. Second, it’s a pretty good feeling to share the bounty.
But most importantly, preserving foods such as jams and jellies gives the cook a rewarding sense of accomplishment and an enormous sense of pride. Plus, saving money was an incentive to people like my Grandma Menard and my mom.
And I’m sure a former co-worker of mine, Andrea Weldele Anderson, would agree. Andrea recently shared on her Facebook page that she made 18 pints of raspberry jam and commented, “Not bad for one night’s work.”
A couple of days later, she emailed me and said she made 12 more pints, adding, “My raspberry crop is crazy this year.”
I can relate. We (mostly Therese) have picked enough raspberries so far this summer to have plenty for our breakfast oatmeal as well as freezing more than a dozen 1- to 2-cup bags for use the rest of the year.
But I’ve yet to make any raspberry jam, although it’s still on my agenda. Perhaps, some will be of the freezer variety, which I’ve had luck with in the past. (Freezer jam lasts up to one year, and in the refrigerator, should last up to one month.)
That’s not to say I haven’t been busy. Another friend, Lillian Elsinga, passed along some fresh Nanking cherry juice that I used to make 3 pints of jelly. (It’s a pretty easy chore to make jelly if you have the juice beforehand.)
This is the second year I’ve made jelly from cherries that are smaller and tarter than those from the supermarket (Rainer and Bing) from ashington. Last year, Marty Berg of Grand Forks, shared his Nankings with me.
Over the years, I’ve made jellies and jams from the likes of chokecherries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, apricots and peaches.
Jams are made from crushed or ground whole fruit and usually have a thick consistency due to high pectin content. Jelly is made from fruit juice and is clear and firm enough to hold its shape when turned out of its container.
For those interested in making jam or jelly, there are a lot of websites where a person can learn how, including ones from North Dakota State University (www.ext.nodak. edu/extnews/askext/jamjelly.htm) and the University of Minnesota (www1.extension.umn.edu/food-safety/preserving/jams-jellies). After all, you won’t be able to depend on mom and grandma forever.
After all, you won’t be able to depend on mom and grandma forever.
And someone has to carry on the tradition.
Making jellied products is not difficult, but it is important to follow reliable, tested recipes as well as the following guidelines from the University of Minnesota Extension.
• Choose ripe fruit that is free of bruises or mold.
• Using fresh fruit at room temperature helps dissolve the sugar.
• Wash berries thoroughly — do not allow them to soak which reduces nutritional value and contributes to a soft product.
• The proper proportion of sugar, fruit and pectin is important to get a good jellied product.
• Do not reduce the amount of sugar. Sugar contributes flavor, but is also a preservative which helps prevent the growth of microorganisms. Granulated white sugar is usually used – other sweetener flavors can overpower the fruit’s natural flavor and sweetness
• Use the boiling water canning process for all cooked jam and jelly products to prevent mold growth.
This means process 11 minutes in washed, but unsterilized jars (6 minutes in pre-sterilized jars); sterilize by standing clean empty jars upright on a rack in a boiling water canner; fill the jars and canner with clean water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars; boil for 11 minutes; keep jars in the water until ready to fill.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.