A delicious and perennially favorite way to preserve and serve fruit is by making it into a jam or jelly. Locally grown fruit available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market includes blueberries, red currants, cherries, goose berries, raspberries and apples. Any one or a combination of them can be used for making jam or jelly.
A jam includes the whole crushed fruit while a jelly is made from the juice only. To make these jelled products a proper amount of fruit, pectin, acid and sugar are needed to get the desired consistency, so always use a recipe.
Pectin can come naturally from fruit which vary in the amount of pectin they contain, or commercial pectin may be included in the recipe. Blueberries are low in pectin and currants are high in pectin, so the Blueberry-Currant Jam recipe below requires no added pectin. Using a recipe with added pectin shortens the cooking time and is more reliable in forming a gel. There is a special pectin that is available for making no or low sugar jams, if desired. The pectin label will indicate the type of jelled product it’s made for.
Another type of pectin can be used for making “no-cook” or “freezer” jam. This is an excellent product to make with children since it requires no cooking, and is quick and easy to make. A freezer jam can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or in the freezer for longer storage.
If you’re interested in learning how to make jams and jellies you can attend a Cornell Cooperative Extension (Saratoga County) food preservation workshop or learn online at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s National Center for Home Food Preservation web site, www.homefoodpreservation.com.
To make the recipe below please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning. Both of these documents can be found on line at the National Center for Home Food Preservation, www.homefoodpreservation.com.
1 quart (4 cups) stemmed blueberries*
1 cup water
1 pint (2 cups) stemmed red currants*
1 cup water
3 cups sugar
Sterilize canning jars by boiling them for 10 minutes. Keep jars in hot water until filled.
Combine blueberries and 1 cup water; cook slowly 5 minutes. In another pan, combine currants and 1 cup water; cook slowly 10 minutes, then press through a sieve, strainer or food mill to remove seeds.
Combine blueberries and currant pulp; cook rapidly 5 minutes. Add sugar, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Pour hot jam into hot sterilized ½ pint (8 oz) jars, to within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process jam for 5 minutes in a Boiling Water Canner. Makes 4 half-pint (8oz) jars. Recipe source: www.homefoodpreservation.com.
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on High Rock Avenue. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays from 3-6 pm and Saturdays from 9-1 pm. For information about food preservation contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995or firstname.lastname@example.org.