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Well, here goes nothing! My first Post! I have always thought about writing a cookbook. I still have a huge three ring binder full of recipes I have collected since I was about 12. The ‘Early Collection’ consists of lots of jellos, cakes, cookies and desserts! In other words, the 4 basic food groups for a twelve year old!
Thankfully over the years my tastes have changed, or I would weigh 5,000 lbs! Moving right along… in this age of technology, I have switched to saving my recipes “in the cloud”. So in recent years I added 100’s of recipes on the smart phone (I use Chef Tap, it’s easy to use and for $9.99 a year you can’t beat it! Update they just raised it $15.99 a year if you have over 125 recipes on it) and spend every waking moment possible inventing and locating healthier dishes, with lots of flavor and fresh ingredients!
Living in Upstate NY, near Lake Ontario has it’s benefits this time of year (Ask me in the winter and you’ll get a totally different response). Namely, fresh fruit! We are surrounded by Orchards on all sides! Fresh Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and tons of Berries are ripe for the taking! My next door neighbor has approximately 500 acres in stone fruits and he generously donates fruit that has lost some of it’s appeal for his numerous stands. That is to say 5- 10% are past their prime and are tossed. The other 90% are perfect for fresh Jams, Jellies, Preserves, Salsas and Desserts. You get the picture!
Last week the donation was 4 baskets of peaches and 1 basket of plums! Score!! Naturally I had to make Plum Jam first!
Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Sterilize jars in a water bath canning pot for approximately 10 minutes. Place lids and bands in another small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Let jars, bands and lids stay in the hot water until ready to fill.
When it comes to a full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down), add sugar all at once. Again, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and continue to boil hard for at least 1 full minute. Immediately ladle into hot sterilized jars. Put on lids and hand tighten rings. (Not too tight!) Place jars in a water bath canning pot and process for 10 minutes. Let jars rest in canning pot an additional 5 minutes. After the rest remove the jars from the canning pot and let cool on the counter for 24 hours. After a short amount of time you will here the lids “pop” that is always a good thing because that means that they have sealed.
Check the lids after the 24 hours. Any lids that snap in the middle have not sealed properly and should be refrigerated. The sealed jars are best stored in a cool, dark place, like a basement.
Last year I bought a utensil kit which includes a jar lifter, lid lifter, and a funnel for about 10 dollars. It has saved me a few burns since!!!
This year i found a jar of Ball pectin. 3 tablespoons equals one of the old boxes and the jar makes 22 half pints of jam. It is a lot cheaper, if you process a lot of preserves. I always use low sugar recipes to reduce our sugar intake. The flavor in the low sugar recipes is much brighter. More reminiscent of actual fruit, instead of sugar. We actually prefer it to full sugar jams. Here is a Strawbeery Low Sugar Jam!
Plums are great in sweet and savory dishes!
- I use the recipe from Ball and usually make 10 jars per batch , if I have enough fruit. Their low sugar recipe is as follows:
- For every 2 half pint jars you need:
- 1 1/3 cups Prepared Fruit
- 1/3 cup Unsweetened Fruit Juice , thawed frozen juice concentrate or water
- 3 tsp . Bottled Lemon Juice (for Peaches, Blueberries or Sweet Cherries only)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp . Low Sugar Pectin
- up to 1/2 Cup sugar , sugar substitute or honey
I wanted to post a link to this recipe from Ball’s Website www.freshpreserving.com but I cannot find one. They are all listed separately. There are some great tips on the website, though. You should check it out, if you have an interest in canning.
I always blanch my plums, peaches and cherries and then transfer them to a water bath with bottled lemon juice to retard browning. (More on that when I post the peaches section.) It is soooo much faster than peeling. The skins just slip right off. It reduces your prep time by half.
Prepare jars. Wash in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Place directly in water bath canning pot. Cover clean jars with water about 2 inches above jars. Boil jars for 10 – 15 minutes to sterilize. Let jars sit in hot water until ready to fill.
Place washed lids in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Let sit until ready to use. I also add my ladle and funnel to this pot to sterilize them. Sort, and rinse raspberries. Mash with potato masher. Add to 8 qt. sauce pan. Add water.
Measure sugar and pectin. Add a few tablespoons of sugar to pectin.
Bring raspberries to a boil and add pectin/ sugar mixture. Again bring to full boil (one that can’t be stirred down).
Add the rest of sugar all at once. Bring to a full boil and boil for 1 full minute.
Wipe rim of jars with clean paper towel and place lid on. Add band and tighten to fingertip tight.
Place filled jars into canning pot and bring to boil. Low boil for 10 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 5 minutes.
Check lids by pushing down in center. If lids flex up and down, the jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated.
Jars that have sealed should be stored in a cool place for a year. (If it lasts that long!)
This recipe makes 2 half pint jars jam.
Originally Published 9/11/2014