We adore jam not only as a spread for our brie or toast but also as a gift; because what is a sweeter gift (literally and figuratively) than a jar of jam made from scratch? Making jam may seem a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done it before, but we’re here to help with our best tips for beginner jam makers.
Make sure you always use undamaged fruit for your jams. Sure, when you’re making a pie or bread you reach for the fruit that is a little bruised or soft, but that’s not the case with jams. In fact, the flavor of jam can become compromised if you instead opt for fruit that is a bit too damaged.
Sterilize your jobs by washing them in very hot, soapy water; then rinse and place them on a baking tray in the oven to dry completely.
Don’t worry about buying a bunch of equipment that isn’t totally necessary. For instance, you could buy a jam thermometer, but you don’t need to and oftentimes these lead to a burned jam. But what you do need is a zester, a nice big pot, a spatula, and your sterilized jars, of course.
Don’t skimp on the sugar. Seriously, jam has a lot of sugar. Like a lot. And that’s okay because sugar does a lot for jam; it preserves the fruit, helps the jam set, and gives it that sweetness we all know and love. So if you feel like you’re adding a lot of sugar, that’s because you are; in fact, if you skimp on the sugar, your jam will more than likely not set. You should also make sure that your sugar is completely dissolved before you bring your concoction to a boil, if not, you’ll end up with grainy jam and that is not the goal.
Don’t go reaching for the stars when it comes to how much jelly you want to make. Working with a lot of fruit and sugar means you’ll be waiting a long time for ingredients to set. Instead, make a couple of jars of *chef’s kiss* jam to savor.
Wondering what kind of jam you want to make? Our advice is to keep it seasonal because this is when you can get the best fruits in the best condition with the best flavor, and that is exactly the kind of fruit you’re looking for.
The setting point temperature for a jam is typically between 104 and 105.5 degrees; at this time, you’ll want to remove the jam from the heat to sit for 15 minutes. This will prevent the fruit from rising to the top of the jars once they’re poured into the jars.