I love home made jams and jellies, but the process can look pretty daunting. I’ve simplified it so you don’t have 10 pots going at the same time. You do need to be careful though, because if your jam isn’t cooked right or properly sealed, it can spoil and be unsafe to eat.
Fortunately, it’s not rocket science. At least, it’s not quite rocket science. Okay, in my kitchen it’s not even in the same neighborhood as rocket science. Still, it’s worth being careful…
Here’s what you’ll need:
a big pot for the jam or jelly
a big pot for a water bath
a small pan for lids
jars, lids and rims
Tongs for lifting the jars in and out of the water (Optional but they make for fewer burned fingers)
a wide mouth funnel for filling jars
1. Fill a big pot 2/3 full of water, and set it on to boil to use as a “water bath.” Start a teakettle at the same time so you can add water as needed.
2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Wash jars in hot soapy water and rinse, but do not dry. Place them upside down in a baking pan and place in the oven. Bake 20 minutes. Turn oven off and remove only when you’re ready to fill them. Be careful – they will be pretty hot.
3. Bring water to boil in the little sauce pan. Once boiling, add the lids. Remove from heat and keep there until you need them. Some people use a magnetic thingy, which I may invest in. For now, I just dump out the water when I’m ready to use them.
4. Make the jam or jelly according to the recipe.
5. Position funnel over empty jar and fill, stopping 1/2″ from the top. Carefully wipe the glass tops of the jars with a damp towel and put the lids on. Put the bands on, but don’t completely tighten.
6. Place the jars in the water bath and top up with boiling water until they’re completely covered. Bring the water back to a boil, then turn down and let them cook for at least 10 minutes. (This is call processing.)
7. Remove from the water bath onto a clean dish towel, and let cool for several hours or overnight.
8. Check the lids after the jam has cooled to be sure the centers are firmly down. Tighten the bands and label the jams.
If the lids are loose or they bobble up and down, they aren’t sealed. Just remove the lids, wipe down the glass again, wash the lids and replace them and the loosely tightened rims. Process them for another 10 minutes, or just keep those jars in the refrigerator.
That’s it. It’s actually pretty easy!