August 18, 2012

Raspberry-Plum Jam

12 oz fresh raspberries
4 large black plums, finely chopped
3 tablespoons powdered pectin*
2 cups sugar

Use a potato masher to gently mash the raspberries. It should yield 1 cup crushed raspberries. Repeat with the plums to yield 2 1/4 cups.

Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit in a relatively even layer over the pectin. Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit mixture while the machine is still running. Cover and let it do its thing until it beeps again. Press the cancel button and unplug the machine. If not using a Ball Jam Maker, make the jam on the stovetop using the traditional method as seen in this recipe.

Ladle the jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 4 8-oz jars. (I was just slightly under so I canned 3 8-oz, 1 4-oz and had a bit leftover that I just ate)

*I recommend these jars of "flex" batch pectin. 3 tablespoons equals 1/2 of a pouch of boxed pectin.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
I recently aquired the new Ball Jam Maker and have been dying to try it out. I haven't been canning as much this year as last because it has been too hot or rainy to go berry or peach picking like we did last year. We had a bumper crop of raspberries and blackberries very early in the season but it was short-lived and I made other things with them. Anyway, all this means is that I've had this jam/jelly maker for a while now and it was just last week I finally got to try it out. I know making jam isn't the hardest things in the world (I've made plenty of it) but it does require me to be in the kitchen, over a hot stove during the hottest time of the year in our un-air-conditioned kitchen. Not the most fun even though I love the outcome. Enter the jam maker in 20 minutes or so (about the time it takes my enormous canning pot of water to boil) you get jam. From what I can tell, it is basically like a wide slow cooker with a paddle that stirs and cooks the jam without getting your kitchen hot. Or the need for you to watch it. It does make rather small batches of jam (4 8-oz jars or so) but you can clean it out and use it again in the same day of course and if you are like me and like to make a variety of flavors of jam, means you aren't overloaded with any one flavor. I went pretty simple this time since I hadn't used it before but I don't see why you couldn't add some other herbs or vinegar to the mix. I was pleased with the results. One of the issues I've had with plum jam was having too many big pieces of skin left (which I personally don't mind but other people have commented on) and this time there were few obvious pieces left in the final jam. I like the flavor of plum skin so I was glad I could leave on. The jam was also, as you might expect, very, very well mixed, not as "lumpy" as homemade jam can be.