Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jams and Jellies!

In my first attempt at "jamming" we made three different ones and I made a variation of one a bit later. My goal was to do Jams and Jellies that would be good for Cheese for serving. I like the idea of these as gifts which was another reason I liked the cheese type jams because I feel like maybe not everyone needs another regular strawberry jam. Making these was super easy and I'm fairly sure any one can do it. Just make sure you pay attention and take your time!

You have to completely sanitize your jars and lids. This is unfortunately a great germ breeding ground. I just ran my though the sanitize cycle on my dishwasher and boiled the lids and rings until I was ready to use them.

They exist alot of places but I got some really cool Jam tools at Williams Sonoma. Including a jar funnel, jar lifting tongs and a lid lifting magnet. These help and come in handy for sure.

We used two different types of Pectin. For my pepper jellies we used a no sugar needed Calcium Activated Pectin called Pomona's Universal Pectin. This comes with some calcium that you mix with water for your very own Calcium water. You then add this and the pectin to the future Jam mixture. I got this Pectin at Williams Sonoma. One box has so far made 16 jars and I still have enough left for say another 4. For the other two we used plain old Certo Pectin which you can pretty much find everywhere you can get jars. Certo comes with a ton of recipes and I'd say that most of the jam recipes we found were made for the Certo Pectin. Liquid or Powder.

Links and some stories below!

Jalapeno Jelly

The Jalapeno Jelly turned out great! It was really simple and a really good one to start out with. I used all Jalapenos and added a little extra sugar so it definitely has some heat. If I made it again I would probably use some green bell peppers and green food dye. Just for the look, I don't know how much they would add to the flavour. But it's not super appetizing looking with Jalapenos floating in some goo. So I think the green would help. There was no call to strain the jelly which I like but I think alot of people think this jam should just be green with no peppers actually in it. This jelly is great on cheese and even just some buns... say those Jalapeno Cheddar Rolls.. Tried and Tested. Delicious.

The recipe I used was actually right from the packet! Certo didn't come with any pepper recipes but I've found a ton more on the internet for whatever will suit your needs and wants.

Here's the recipe:

This recipe makes 4, 250mL jars. It can be easily doubled or tripled!

1 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Jalapeno Peppers
1 1/3 Cup Vinegar
2 1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Pectin Powder
2 Tsp Calcium Water

*If you just want the regular green pepper jelly use 1 Cup of bell peppers and only 1/3 cup of hot peppers. Adjust to your needs though.

1. Bring the peppers and the vinegar to a boil.
2. Once boiling, turn down, add Calcium Water and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Mix the pectin into the 1/2 Cup of Sugar until thoroughly mixed.
4. Add the sugar-pectin mixture to the Peppers and Vinegar, stir to dissolve.
5. Add remaining Sugar.
6.Stir vigorously while bringing mixture to a boil once again and  to dissolve the rest of the sugar and combine.
7. Remove from heat after mixture has boiled.

8. Fill jars to 1/4" of the top. Screw on the two piece lids.
9. Put in pot over boiling water to cover.
10. Boil 15 minutes (or 10 minutes + 1 minute for every 1000 ft above sea level)
11. Remove from water and let cool. Seals will suck down while cooling.

These last about 3 weeks after opened, 12 - 15 months while still sealed.

Red Pepper Jelly

I made the Red Pepper Jelly a bit later on with my boyfriends Mom. She was going to buy some from Epicure and I'm sorry Epicure, I love you but its so simple to make!! So we made some that she wanted to share with her sorority sisters. Super awesome. We used all red peppers, probably a bit over the required amount but it made the jelly a little less "floating peppers" like my Jalapeno one. We used 6 Serrano Chili peppers in it to give it some heat. If I made this for myself I would add a couple more of those peppers or not seed them all. I seeded 5/6 of them because she didn't really want the crazy heat I would enjoy.

Recipe for this one:

This recipe makes 4, 250mL jars. It can be easily doubled or tripled!

1 Cup Finely Chopped Red Bell Peppers
1/3 Cup Chopped Serrano Peppers (seeded if you don't like as much heat)
1 1/3 Cup Vinegar
2 1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Pectin Powder
2 Tsp Calcium Water

Follow the same steps as above that I used for the Jalapeno Jelly.

Ginger Pear Jam

I had really high hopes for this one since I love the spice of ginger. We actually doubled the ginger and it still didn't make it all that "warm" I suppose.I won't lie to you. I hated making this one. We had to peel and core all the pears, which was alot. Then had to grate them on a cheese grater. My hands got pruney. It was horrible. The result was worth it though. Also I find it to be a little bit like an applesauce. Still another success!

Here's the link to the Ginger Pear Jam!

Apple Cinnamon Jam

This one was really hard. Maybe not hard, but it was complex. We ended up over cooking it slightly so its a little closer to a candy loaf or something. Still delicious though.

Here's the link for the Apple Cinnamon Jam, hopefully you will have better luck than we did!

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