How to Make Berry Jam – A Quick Guide
The absolute first step in learning how to make jams, jellies, and other delicious home made desserts is by starting with a good recipe. You’ll be surprised how many times you actually purchase jams from the store instead of making your own. I would suggest looking for a brand you recognize, such as Old El Cheapie Bride or Pampered Chef. They have great recipes for basic jams. Once you have found one that you like, you can then get started on making it at home.
The next thing you’ll need to know before you begin jam making is what all goes into jams. There are five main ingredients you will need, namely; pectin, water, sugar, wheat flour, and lactic acid. You can buy your ingredients pre-milled or you can purchase them fresh and then just mix them together. Be sure to mix the ingredients completely into your food processor or blender before adding any additional ingredients. If you’re using a food processing machine, be sure to clean out all the parts before beginning.
One of the best things about making your own jams is that you can use whatever fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, herbs, and spices you want. I usually use blackberries, strawberries, peaches, and raspberries in my jams. Sometimes I even add some raisins for a sweet, nutty flavor.
I find it easiest to put pectin in during the second half of the process (after the juice is extracted). Pectin is the sticky substance found in whole berries, pears, cranberries, and blueberries. To determine how much pectin to put, you simply take a piece of fruit, dip it in some pectin, and then test it by putting a little bite into your palm. If it clumps together, you can add more pectin; if it separates into pieces, you can reduce the amount.
Another ingredient that plays an important role in jams is liquid, specifically either apple cider or homemade apple juice. These two additions help to thicken the mixture and make it more smooth. In addition to adding apple juice or cider, which is very simple to do, you will also need sugar, molasses, and brown sugar. For the molasses, I like to use brown sugar that has been dissolved in water. This makes the molasses taste a bit nutty, which is exactly what I’m going for with berry jam making recipe.
Another way to enhance the flavor in your homemade jam is to add sugar or milk. Some of the classic recipes call for blackberries or strawberries. I like to add these because blackberries tend to be slightly tart. Strawberries are slightly sweeter and work well with a fruity flavor. You can also use both blackberries and strawberries, just be sure to keep them separated.
To add sugar or milk to your jam, simply mix together the ingredients. It’s best to mix them together completely before pouring the mixture into a jar, but try to avoid over mixing the ingredients. It will help to prevent the mixture from separating. Next, you will want to add your mixtures to a food processor or a blender. If you’re going to use a food processor, try to choose a fruit that’s fairly mild, such as a blueberry or an apple, so you don’t overpower the natural flavor of the fruit.
As for how to fill your jars, you will want to start with some fresh berries. You can use dried berries, but they will take several days to be ready for use in your jams. Once you have selected your berries, add your mixture to a jar, and then pour the jam mixture inside. Then, seal the jar air tight, and you are all set.