Preserve the harvest with jams and jellies

Create simple or complex flavors and enjoy the tastes of the summer at meals throughout the year

    It’s time to reap the bounty of the harvest and keep it for the coming winter months.
    One of the best ways to preserve the flavors of the season is to create jellies and jams.
    It’s a process that can be simple or complex, depending on whether you use a refrigerator jam recipe or a canning method.  
    And you can create a multitude of flavors, savory and sweet, fruity or spicy, that will play well with everything from toast or bagels to crepes and ice cream.
    Remember when making jams and jellies to pick or purchase high-quality fruit at its peak. Skip mushy, overripe and diseased fruit, and only prepare the amount of fruit needed for the recipe.
    Always wash fruits or vegetables under cold, running water rather than soaking them. This is especially important when cleaning fresh berries and delicate fruits that have a tendency to absorb moisture.
    Cut, crush or juice produce exactly as stated in the recipe to help maintain the correct balance between ingredients.
    Measure the full amount of sugar listed in the recipe. If you wish to use less sugar, use a recipe specifically developed to get the taste you want.
    For the best results, use a wide-diameter saucepan with a flat, heavy bottom and high sides when cooking your jam or jelly. This will prevent boil-over during cooking, help with evaporation and result in improved gelling.
    If you prefer seedless jam, heat crushed berries until soft and press through a sieve or food mill.
    Prepare only a single batch at a time. Doubling the recipe can cause your spread to have a soft set or not gel.
    When cooking the jam or jelly, foam will form on top. To reduce foam, you can add an optional 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine after removing the saucepan from the heat or use a spoon to skim the foam off the spread prior to filling jars.
    Once the jam or jelly has cooked for the appropriate amount of time, ladle the hot spread into pre-warmed jars.
    Use only the jar size specified in the recipe. You can always use smaller jars, but it is never safe to use larger jars as this could affect processing temperature and time. For most jams and jellies, a half-pint, or eight ounce, jar is used.
     For refrigerator jams, cool filled jars to room temperature. Place lids and bands on jars and label. Refrigerate jam or jelly for as long as three weeks or serve immediately to enjoy now.
    If making freezer jam, leave 1/2-inch headspace when filling jars. Cool, lid and label. Freeze jam or jelly for as long as one year.
    Glass jars with straight sides work best for freezing as they allow for food expansion that occurs
    If you’re canning your jam or jelly, fill your canner halfway with water, enough to cover the jars by at least one inch. Lid the canner, adjust heat, and bring water to a rolling boil. Process according to your recipe, only counting time after the water is boiling.
    When done, turn off heat and remove the canner lid. Let jars sit for five minutes, then remove the jars and set them on a towel. Do not retighten bands if they are loose. Cool jars for 12 to 24 hours, then check the seals before labeling and storing your preserves.
    Following are jam and jelly recipes from www.saveur.com.

 

    https://www.saveur.com

Four Pepper Jelly

1-1⁄2 cups apple cider vinegar
5 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small poblano, seeded and finely chopped
6-1⁄4 cups sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3-ounce packets liquid pectin

    Place vinegar and peppers in a blender. Pulse 10 to 15 times, until peppers are slightly broken down.
    Heat pepper mixture, sugar and salt in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat until boiling. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, five minutes. Add pectin and boil one minute more.
    Submerge six one-cup canning jars, along with their lids and ring bands, in a large pot of boiling water and sterilize over high heat for 10 minutes. Transfer sterilized jars, lids and bands to a clean dish towel. Fill each jar with hot jelly, leaving at least 1⁄4 inch of space at the top. Wipe jar rims with a clean dish towel, place lids on jars, and secure ring bands.
    Transfer filled jars to a canning rack. Place rack in a pot of gently boiling water so jars are submerged by at least one inch. Let boil 10 minutes.
    Place jars at least one inch apart on a dish towel and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
    To test that jars are properly sealed, unscrew bands and lift each jar by the edge of the lid. If the lid holds, the jar is sealed. If it loosens, jar is not fully sealed and the jam should be refrigerated and used within two weeks.
    Sealed jars will keep, in a cool, dark place for as long as a year.

Rhubarb-Rose Oven Jam

2-1⁄2 pounds rhubarb, cleaned and cut in 2-inch pieces
1⁄2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1-3⁄4 cups sugar
2 2-inch strips orange zest
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1⁄2 tablespoons rosewater
1 to 1-1⁄2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, as needed

    In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, vanilla bean and seeds, sugar, orange zest and salt. Transfer mixture to an eight to 10-inch roasting pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes, stirring gently every 20 minutes or so. The juices should be thick and syrupy and the rhubarb should be very soft.
    Remove from the oven and add the rosewater and lemon juice to taste. Transfer jam to an airtight container and use within one to two weeks.

 

Rock ‘N’ Rye Peach Jam

3 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons rye whiskey
1⁄2 teaspoon unsalted butter

    In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, lemon juice and cardamom seeds. Cover and let sit at room temperature two hours.
    Pour mixture into a colander set over a six-quart saucepan and let drain a few minutes to release the syrup, then stir to release more. Transfer colander to another bowl to capture any remaining syrup.
    Bring syrup to a boil in the saucepan over high heat. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook about eight minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 220 degrees. Add peaches and any accumulated juices and continue to cook eight to 10 minutes longer, until the fruit no longer floats and is dispersed evenly throughout the gel. Remove from the heat and stir in rye until incorporated, followed by the butter.
    Submerge four one-cup canning jars, along with their lids and ring bands, in a large pot of boiling water and sterilize over high heat for 10 minutes. Transfer sterilized jars, lids and bands to a clean dish towel. Fill each jar with hot jelly, leaving at least 1⁄4 inch of space at the top. Wipe jar rims with a clean dish towel, place lids on jars and secure ring bands.
    Transfer filled jars to a canning rack and place rack in a pot of gently boiling water so that jars are submerged by at least 1 inch. Let boil 10 minutes.
    Set jars at least one inch apart on a dish towel and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
    To test that jars have properly sealed, unscrew bands and lift each jar by the edge of the lid. If the lid holds, the jar is sealed. If it loosens, jar is not fully sealed and jam should be refrigerated and used within two weeks.
    Sealed jars will keep in a cool, dark place for as long as a year.

Plum and Raspberry Jam

3-3/4 cups raspberries
3 cups pitted plums, finely chopped
2-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 small cinnamon sticks
3 star anise pods

    Place berries, plums, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and star anise in a large bowl and toss to combine. Cover and mascerate for at least 15 minutes or as long as one week. If mascerating for longer than 24 hours, transfer mixture to the refrigerator.
    Wash three eight-ounce Mason jars and place upside down on a baking sheet. Bake in a 250-degree oven for at least 20 minutes.
    Transfer fruit mixture to a wide, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil 15 to 20 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the bubbles are sputtering violently, the surface is glossy and jewel-like and the jam is thick when stirred with a silicone spatula. The jam should slide off the spatula in sheets or clumps or try to cling to the spatula when you bring it to eye level. If you’re uncertain, pour a teaspoon of jam on an ice cold plate and place in the freezer for two minutes. Remove and run your finger through the jam. If it has formed a skin and parts evenly, it’s ready. If not, continue cooking for three to four minutes.
    Remove jars from the oven and flip them over carefully. Working over the sheet pan and using a funnel or ladle, fill the jars to within 1/4 to 1/8 inch of the rim. Tap the jars gently or use an air bubble remover, then wipe the rims clean. Place snap lids on the jars and screw the ring bands on tightly. Invert the jars for two minutes, then flip right side up.
    Set aside and do not disturb for 24 hours. If canned properly, the jam will be hot enough to create a vacuum and seal the jars closed.

 

Rhubarb and Angelica Jam

1-1⁄4 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-3⁄4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 small angelica stalks, optional
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Chartreuse
Sweet cream scones

    In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb with half the sugar, toss to coat and let stand one hour.
    Add remaining sugar to the pan along with the angelica and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then place pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Stir in the Chartreuse and continue cooking three to five minutes, until jam is thickened and beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan.
    Remove pan from the heat and scrape the jam into a bowl. Let cool completely. Store jam, covered, in the refrigerator for as long as two weeks.

Blueberry Jam With Lemon and Thyme

3 pounds blueberries
3 cups sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme

    Bring blueberries, sugar and salt to a simmer in a four-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the berries burst and release their liquid. Stir in lemon juice, butter, and thyme. Continue to cook about two hours, uncovered and stirring continuously, until jam is thick. Discard thyme sprigs.
    Follow canning procedures or let cool and refrigerate for as long as two weeks.

 

Garlic Jelly

2 pounds cored and chopped semisweet apples, such as Fuji
4 heads garlic, cloves crushed
8 cups water
2 cups sugar
1-1⁄2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    Boil apples, garlic and water in a six-quart saucepan for 20 to 25 minutes, until garlic is soft.
    Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a measuring cup, pressing gently on the solids to extract their juices. You should have eight cups liquid. Return liquid to pan and stir in sugar, then bring to a simmer. Cook about 1-1/2 hours, until reduced to two cups.
    Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Chill before serving.
    Store as long as two months in the refrigerator.

 

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