Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Jam!

The month of June is prime time for fresh fruits. Strawberries, apricots, raspberries, cherries, and other fruits are all at their peak during this month as the weather heats up. Since this is the best time to enjoy fresh fruits, it’s also the best time to incorporate them into your kitchen or even a housewarming gift. One of the best ways to do this? Homemade jam, of course.

Though the task of making your own jam or jelly may at first seem daunting, don’t be intimidated. It’s easier than it seems. You can find step by step instructions for making jam and canning it online, but here are some helpful hints:

First, mash the fruit so that you can mix in the sugar and pectin and boil it. Leaving some chunks of fruit helps add texture to the jam. When you mix in the sugar and pectin, make sure you have the right balance between them. This may take some experimenting.

Bring this mixture to a rolling boil (still bubbling when you stir it) and let it boil there for 1 ½ - 2 minutes. At this point, to test the jam, you can take a small amount on a sterling silver spoon (sterling silver is a good conductor of heat so it will help it cool more quickly) and set it on top of crushed ice. As soon as the jam is cool enough to not burn your tongue, try it!

Bon App├ętit featured an article a while back about secrets to making homemade jam called “Jam Session: The Simple Secret to Making Homemade Jam.” Check it out: Jam Session: The Simple Secret to Making Homemade Jam.

If you have any hints of your own for homemade jam and other fruit treats, feel free to leave comments!