Whether you’re a jam lover or not (and we are), jam is the gateway preserve. It’s the preserve you learn first, that encourages you to learn to make other preserves. Here are a few of our jammy favourites.
EASY APPLE RHUBARB JAM
Makes four 250ml jars
3 cups diced rhubarb
3 cups diced peeled apples
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 (2 ounce) package dry pectin
In a large saucepan mix together the rhubarb, apples, sugar, water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Stir in the pectin and boil for 5 minutes.
Ladle into sterile jars, wipe rims with a clean cloth or paper towel, and seal with new lids. Process in a bath of simmering water for at least 10 minutes. Store unopened jars in a cool dark place. Refrigerate jam after opening.
EAST COAST BLUEBERRY JAM
Adapted from Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders
Yield: five to six 250ml jars
2 1/2 lbs wild blueberries
1 lb 14 oz sugar (approx. 4 1/2 cups)
6 oz lemon juice (3/4 cup)
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
several drops of vanilla extract
Place a saucer with five metal spoons in your freezer for testing the jam later. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cook on medium high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the juice begins to run from the berries. When the juice starts flowing freely, stop stirring and let the mixture cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then stir well and increase heat to high. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils. Once it reaches a boil, cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring frequently, and decreasing the heat slightly if jam starts to stick. Start testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
To test for doneness, transfer a half-spoonful of jam to one of your frozen spoons. Leave the spoon in the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes. After this time, remove spoon from freezer, tilt vertically to see whether or not the jam runs. If it does not, the jam is ready. If it does run, continue to cook the jam for another few minutes, testing again as needed.
When the jam is ready, turn off heat but do not stir. Skim foam from the surface of the jam. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
BLUEBERRY LIME JAM
Adapted from Bernardin
Yield: six 250ml jars
4 cups (1000ml) crushed blueberries
4 cups (1000ml) granulated sugar
1 pkg (57g) Original Fruit pectin
Wash and crush blueberries one layer at a time. Measure 4 cups. Wash and finely grate zest from lime(s). Squeeze limes and measure 2 tablespoons (30ml) of lime juice. Combine crushed berries, lime zest, lime juice and pectin in a deep saucepan. Stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Add sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam.
Ladle mixture into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles using a non-metallic instrument. Wipe jar rim to remove any stickiness. Centre snap lid on jar and apply screw band (not too tight!). Place jars in canner. Bring water back to a rolling boil and process for 10 minutes.
WILD BLACKBERRY JAM
Makes two-three 250ml jars
4 cups of blackberries
3 cups of sugar
1 Tbsp lemon concentrate
First, clean your berries. Next, place berries in a large pot (thick bottomed if possible) and mash. Add sugar and stir. Optional: let your berries sit in the sugar for an hour to bring out the juices. Add the lemon juice.
Heat your pot on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until bubbles appear. Simmer slowly until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring to a “rolling” boil. Boil hard for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The jam will thicken during this time.
Test the thickness (and readiness) of your jam by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate and leaving it for a minute. Then, push it with your finger. It is ready if it reacts by wrinkling (skin).
When your jam is at the desired thickness, take it off the heat and immediately pour into hot, sterilized mason jars. Fill, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles using a thin spatula. Wipe the rim clean of any spills and place warm, sterilized snap lid on top. Screw on the metal ring and tighten only gently (air will need to escape still). Place your filled jars into a pot of boiling water and boil for 5-10 minutes. Remove your jars from the boiling water and let stand as the seal forms.
Note: You can use this recipe for many other types of berries as well (for example, huckleberries or raspberries). You may need to alter your cooking time to get the desired thickness however. For a clear colour to your jam, skim the froth off the cooked jam before jarring it. This is not necessary with certain fruit such as blackberries.
Updated from posts originally published in 2010, 2011 and 2012