Get started making jam – even if you’ve never made it before in your life. I’ve been making jams and jellies for about twenty years, and I tend to make two or three different types each summer once we have fresh fruit growing locally. Sometimes, I use fruits that we grow at home, but my Mom and Dad give me grapes from their yard as well. When I have time, I make jam using berries we pick at our local strawberry and blueberry picking places. There are just so many different types of jam you can make that you shouldn’t feel limited by what type of fruit you have to start with. If you don’t have fresh growing nearby, you can certainly begin with what you have available at the farmer’s market or the grocery store instead. Try to choose organic whenever possible to reduce the possibility that the fruits have been sprayed with pesticides. This post contains affiliate links.
Everything You Need to Get Started Making Jam
There are many different ways to make jam but most use the same equipment. Having basic jam making supplies on hand will get you started and you can add in specialty items as you progress.
- You will need to have canning jars with lids and rims to get started making jam,. Most jam or jelly recipes recommend that you use Crystal Jelly Jars which are 8 ounces. You can also use the 4-ounce Crystal Jelly Jars to hold smaller batches. These are ideal for giving jams and jellies for gifts.
- A funnel and ladle make getting the hot jelly or jam into the jars before canning much neater.
- You’ll need a water bath canner to hold the jars while you’re sealing them. You’ll also need a rack for the jars to rest on which helps prevent the jars from tipping over and spilling during the canning process.
- A canning jar lifter will make lifting the canning jars from the boiling water much easier. Without a lifter, you risk burning your fingers on the hot jars.
- You will find a candy thermometer to be very helpful when determining the correct jelly stages when making jelly.
- Depending on the type of jam or jelly you’ll be making, you may need powdered or liquid pectin. Some fruits have their own pectin and won’t require extra. Check the recipe carefully.
Not all jams and jellies need to be canned. There are a variety of freezer jam recipes you can make that are frozen instead of canned. You will need special freezer jars because the traditional jelly jars are more likely to break in the freezer. There are also a number of jams and jellies that are not sealed at all. They are refrigerated instead and need to be eaten relatively quickly before they go bad. When you create a jam or jelly like this, you can store it in a decorative jar like the ones pictured above. For a great selection of recipes, I recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and At Home Canning.
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