There’s something so wonderful about picking your own berries. I’m lucky enough to have a farmer behind me that has several different kinds of berries. The best part; he doesn’t use any of them! So i spend most of my summer mornings picking one berry or another. But what do you do with all those berries? Pies, muffins, and of course jam. Problem is, berries never come all at once. You have to freeze them until they’re all done for the season.
It takes some time and some patience, but when it’s all done, you’ve got lots of jam for almost nothing…other than some sweat and a few thorn pricked fingers…depending on the berries.
12 C Berries
5 C Sugar
½ C Lemon Juice
1 T Salt
First thing is first. You’re going to need a pot much larger than the amounts you’re adding. As it’s bubbling up and spitting, it’ll make a rather large mess if the pot isn’t much larger.
Add all your ingredients to the pot and stir to mix. Place it on about medium low heat. Since it’s all frozen berries, it’s going to take a little bit to come up to a simmer. Just let it come up slowly, otherwise you’ll burn your sugar.
Let it cook for a few hours on about medium low heat, stirring often.
After it’s cooked for a few hours, and it’s started to thicken slightly, take a stick blender, and blend it until almost smooth. Doing this helps to release the natural pectin from the berries skin and seeds.
After you’ve pureed it, you’re going to strain it through a fine mesh chinois. Using a small ladle that fits in the bottom of the chinois, move it up and down against the bottom of the chinois to push the liquids through until all that’s left is an almost dry pulp.
Continue until you’ve strained it all. Then return it to the stove to simmer on low for another few hours, stirring often. While it’s simmering, place a small plate in the freezer to test thickness later.
After it’s simmered for a few hours, you should be able to see it has thickening up quite a bit. But how do you tell when it’s ready?
This is where the frozen plate comes into play. Drop a little of the hot liquid on the cold plate and let it sit for a second. Tip the plate from side to side. If the jam moves, it’s not ready and needs to reduce a little longer. If it stays fast, then it’s done! Ladle it into your jars and place it in the fridge or move on to your canning.
There’re few things more satisfying than being all cozy in your home while it’s snowing outside, and you’ve got warm toast with sweet and bright homemade jam, watching the snow fall.
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