Todays blog talks about jam. I blogged about the first time I made jam here. It was so rewarding to have a cupboard full of jam that I made. And even back then [in September] I knew that I wanted to make jam for gifts. On Saturday I made blackberry/raspberry jam and today I made another batch of Strawberry jam. I followed the recipes in the Certo pectin package for both, but anyone who knows me knows that I'm no good at following instructions to a T, so I guessed on my quantities of fruit. I'm pretty sure it was about four cups for each batch, but who knows and who cares, it tastes wonderful. I plan on making at least one more batch of blackberry jam (seems someone wasn't listening when her husband said he'd prefer plain old blackberry jam as opposed to blackberry/raspberry jam).
Some suggestions to you, the novice jam maker: don't buy jars!!! I've been pretty good about saving jars for the last several months since I made that first batch of jam because, let's face it, jam is not only a wonderful way to feel accomplished as a mother, wife, and woman, but it's also a way to try to provide your family and others with something nice while still keeping a budget. If you save all your jars and use those instead of buying jars, you will not only save that money on the jars, but each jar will be a different size, shape and the lids will be different colors. My favorite jars are from Trader Joes, they are bruchetta jars: square with a black lid. Very much in keeping with my idea of a homemade gift from the heart. I also have short squat jars from artichokes which are adorable with jam inside. If you're worried about the writing on the lid, grab some wrapping paper or scrapbooking supplies and embellish it to reflect your style or the style of the person getting it. I ran out of jars for this last batch so bought a flat from Walmart from their Better Home and Gardens jam making section. I bought the smallest ones I could get in a large quantity: pint. Turns out they are gigantic for jam (They would be perfect for salsa though) and I filled up four jars with one batch of jam. Not a good thing if you're trying to give them as gifts.
Another tip: Buy your Certo pectin first to review before you buy your fruit. If you're anything like me you'll decide on a whim while you're out and about one day that you'll make jam for the first time ever. Then you'll have to guess how much fruit you'll need because the recipes are inside the Certo package and you'll get home, start mashing and realize you're short about 1/3 of the fruit. So if you do end up wanting to only make one trip, overbuy! Use the extra fruit (if you end up having any) for your family.
So there you have it, one of my 2011 Christmas presents is jam. Don't tell my family!
Strawberry jam setting