Triple Berry Wedding Jam

You have probably noticed my posts dwindling in the last few weeks, but it’s getting close to the wire: That Jew and That Shiksa are finally getting hitched this weekend!  Wedding planning has fully consumed our lives, and I doubt you wanted to see a super exciting post on take out pizza, beefarino or cereal.  Even my photography has been put on back burner.  I whipped out the shot above, but I am not happy with the lighting (I bought some new lights that I haven’t quite figured out how to balance properly).  No Tastespotting or Foodgawker for this guy.

Nicole and I both love jam, so it was a natural decision for us to make it for the wedding favors.  This sounded great on paper but after making 96 jars and labeling them, it would have been easier, cheaper and less stressful to buy candy apples, or curmudgeon that I am, a sock full of coal.  96 jars is a LOT of jam (10 batches of 10), the picture above is only about 2 dozen — who would have thought we needed over 20 pounds of sugar!

This recipe is very simple because we wanted something that everyone would like and would be reasonably easy to make.  In the end we chose the recipe in the box of pectin and made it ‘ours’ by adjusting the blend of berries.  Maybe we should call it a meritage?  Next time, when we make jam purely for our enjoyment we will have to try adding cinnamon or vanilla.

Once you have tried homemade jam, you won’t ever buy it in the store again.  Even the gourmet brands suck compared to home made.  I can see a blueberry, peach and cinnamon jam in my future.  Now I just need to see how to reduce the sugar, my teeth hurt just typing this.

Ingredients:

(Makes 9-10 8oz jars, they need to be made 1 batch at a time)
  • 5 cups of berries.  We used blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.  A few raspberries may have snuck in too, but we didn’t want to call it Quad Berry Jam
  • 7 cups of sugar.  Really.
  • 1 box of Sure Jell pectin
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 pat of butter (to reduce foaming)

Directions:

  • Pulse berries in food processor, but leave nice large chunks.  Alternatively you can mash ’em up however you like (stepping on them is probably not the preferred way, this ain’t making wine you know)
  • Bring berries, lemon juice, butter and pectin to a boil, stirring frequently
  • Add sugar, stir and bring back to a rolling boil for a minute.  This will take a while, it’s a lot of sugar.
  • Remove foam, add to jars, cool and eat.

Canning:

Before I list how I do it, the TJCC legal department reiterated that if you dear reader get botchulism, hoof and tail disease, male pattern baldness, erectile dysfunction, or anything else due to improper canning, we ain’t responsible.    Just like pressure cooking, you should read up a bit on canning before doing it the first time.

  • Bring a huge honking pot of water to a boil
  • Add empty jars and rings to pot to sterilize
  • Remove jars, and add jam leaving 1/4″ of air on top.  Be careful when working with the jam it’s freaking hot!  A jar funnel is key here.
  • Dip the lids in the boiling water for a minute or two (any longer any you may melt the sticky stuff that helps hold the seal)
  • Seal up the jars, but not too tight — you want any air to be able to sneak out.
  • Add the jars back to the boiling water for 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes, remove and tighten the lids a bit more.
  • Let cool to room temperature, you should hear the jars pinging as the vacuum button lowers
  • You may be able to put them in a closet, but I am new at canning and scared to get botchulism or any cooties so I fridge ’em.

Here is a picture we took while sampling the jam.  You may recognize the scone picture from earlier posts, we’ve been planning this for a while.

I have no clue how I made it to the end without using the line “Pump Up the Jam”.   Damn.