Whether you are trying to use up extra fruit or you’re thinking about a way to save money on extra-special homemade gifts, making your own jam can be quick and easy — something even the most harried mom (or dad) can do.
The foundation for this recipe appealed to me because it was the first I could find which didn’t mention something called “pectin,” which was not in my pantry and I didn’t feel like going out to buy. It claimed that the juice of a fresh lemon could substitute and still gelify the jam, so that was more in my comfort zone.
By dumbing down an already pretty simple procedure, I found that I could make quite good jam in about 15 minutes by doing the following:
- Pit cherries or peaches (OK add in some extra time for this). If you are using something pitless like blueberries you can thankfully skip this step.
- Put in sauce pan over medium heat and add the juice of one lemon. If you have more than say a pound of fruit, add more lemon. I was probably working with 4 cups of fruit so one lemon was fine.
- Stir that bubbling pot a lot. After maybe 15 minutes add in some sugar. The recipe I was going from said you needed to use a lot of sugar to keep the jam from spoiling. But I planned to use my jam up in a couple of days and I really didn’t want to add loads of sugar. I used about 1/3 cup and it turned out very sweet.
- Keep stirring over heat. It will miraculously become jam-like and you will know it when you see it. Shouldn’t take more than another 5 or 10 minutes – you don’t want to cook it too long or the sugar will caramelize and make everything taste funky.
- Take off heat, put in a jar, and let cool and refrigerate.
- If unopened, the jam can be stored in the fridge for a few months. After it’s been opened you can store jam in the fridge as long as you’d keep ordinary opened jam – maybe a few days?
My preschooler likes nothing, but he loved this. And added to my homemade bread I could feel like the ultimate urban homesteader. Now if I only had a cow so I could churn my own butter…