Jam Session: How To Make Your Own (Super-Delicious) Preserves

by Lauren Richel-Kelly (Madewell)

Long story short: I’m part of one big, weird, jam-loving family. My Berkshires-born grandmother won many an award at the county fair for her superior preserves and canned fruits, and it’s become a real family tradition. After giving out jars of my own homemade jam to the Madewell Team for the holidays, I got enough inquiries about the jam-making process that I decided to lay it all out.

Jamming is not all that difficult, but it does take precision and patience (it’s kind of geeky and scientific, like chemistry class). My advice is to try it out a few times before you plan to make a batch. Below, my time-tested guide to making delicious strawberry-pineapple jam.

TOOLS:

Measuring cup
Potato masher
Measuring spoons
Small shot glass–sized liquid measuring cup
Wooden spoon
Clamp for handling hot glass jars
Ladle with spout
6 8-oz. glass jam jars

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups chopped strawberries
1 can  (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter
1 pouch Certo fruit pectin

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare jars by boiling all parts (jars, lids, rings) in a large saucepan of water. Keep at a low simmer throughout jamming process. (Why? It’s important for jars to be sterilized but also for them to be hot so they don’t crack when you pour hot jam into them.)

2. Place all fruit and sugar into a large pot (copper bottoms are best because they conduct heat more consistently). Crush fruit to desired consistency with potato masher. (Optional: Add butter and/or lemon juice to reduce foaming.)

3. Bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

4. Stir in fruit pectin. Return to full rolling boil for exactly one minute, stirring constantly.

5. Remove from heat.

6. Ladle into jars immediately, leaving a little room at the top. Cover with two-piece lids and screw shut.

7. Place jars upside-down on a wooden cutting board for five minutes.

8. Flip jars over to seal shut. As jars cool, you will hear a small popping sound as each jar seals itself. After jars completely cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If a lid springs back, it is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

9. After all jars are cooled, remove rings from each and wash jars and rings to remove any excess jam.

10. Spread the love!