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Giveaway: OXO Jam Making Essentials

Are you on the search for equipment to elevate your jam making game? Look no further than these tools from OXO and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a set!

I often think of July as the pinnacle of the jam making season. It is the moment when berries, peaches, currants, cherries, plums, and even early apples are all competing for space at markets and in our kitchens. I find that the secret to being able to make the most of the abundance is to be prepared with sturdy, durable equipment. To that end, I’ve teamed up with my friends at OXO to show you some gear that can help make your jam making efforts a little easier.

Most critical is a good pot to cook your jam. Some people like using copper preserving pans while others prefer enameled cast iron. While those are both good, my preference is always a low, wide, stainless steel pan that can hold about 8 quarts. Stainless steel is a non-reactive metal, so it will never impart a metallic flavor into your preserves (copper is reactive and can leave your jam tasting tinny if you don’t use enough sugar).

Stainless steel is also the most forgiving surface. If you burn your jam in an enameled cast iron pot, you might be able to soak and scrub the burned spot off, but the finish will never be the same. When you burn in stainless steel, elbow grease and steel wool will eventually make you whole again.

Right now, the jam pan in constant rotation in my kitchen is the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Pro 8 Quart Covered Casserole (OXO | Amazon). It is similar is size, shape, volume, and performance to my favorite All-Clad jam pan, but at a third of the price. I often briefly simmer small stone fruit and let them cool before pitting to make the process easier, and the glass lid makes it easy to see when to turn off the heat. It’s also got volume markers up the side of the interior, which helps you have an idea of what your yield is going to be. All in all, it’s an excellent pan.

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Sour Cherry Preserves with Bourbon

It’s day two of cherry week and today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes from my second cookbook, Preserving by the Pint. For this one, you simmer sour cherries together with sugar, lemon juice, and bourbon together for five or six minutes, until the liquid thickens a little and the cherries are just soft. The alcohol cooks off as the syrup boils, so there’s no lingering booziness, just a little extra richness that helps balance the flavor of the tart cherries.

This exact recipe doesn’t work well with sweet cherries, but one could add a splash of bourbon to this approach, to approximate the flavor.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for another recipe featuring cherries!

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Small Batch Spiced Blueberry Jam

On tonight’s live broadcast over on Facebook (Monday, June 18, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT), I am going to be making a small batch of spiced blueberry jam. This recipe is super speedy, because blueberries need so little prep and because it’s a small batch (it cooks down in less than 15 minutes!).

I will show you how to process the jars so that it’s shelf stable, but you could also scrape the jam into a couple containers, stash them in the fridge, and eat through them over the course of the next couple months. Perfect for folks who want to make their jam right now!

Oh, and don’t forget about Can Together! This month, we’re focusing on berry preserves. If you make something with berries and post it to social media, make sure to use the hashtag #cantogether so that your fellow jammers and picklers can find you. Let’s keep our preserving community strong!

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Mixed Berry Jam from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Nearly every summer since 2012, I’ve been issued a preserving challenge by my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands. Some years, they’ve asked me to develop a few new canning recipes. Other years, I’ve trekked to New York or Indiana to offer canning demos. This year, I’m really excited because they’ve given me a handful of their most popular recipes and asked me to create new ways to use them (a concept that’s much like my upcoming book!).

So from now until September, once a month I’ll be sharing my process for making the preserve and then unveiling a recipe that transforms it into something new and delicious. For this first month, the preserve was Mixed Berry Jam (I preserved it in some of the Ball® Smooth Sided Half-Pint Jars pictured above and available for purchase here. These are the best jars for labeling!).

Right off the bat, I was delighted with their pick of recipe. It’s a relatively small batch, with a short, simple ingredient list. I also know berry jams to be really versatile, so I knew I’d be able to make something interesting with it.

You start by washing and mashing enough fruit to yield 4 cups. For me, this wound up being about 1 3/4 pounds fruit (I used single 1 pound package of strawberries, and 1 1/2 clamshells of blueberries).

You want to make sure you have your jars warming and the lids washed before you start cooking the jam, because the cook time is quite short and you do want the jars to be ready for you when you’re ready for them.

Once the berries are well-mashed, they get scraped into a large pan. You add the pectin powder (4 1/2 tablespoons), stir well to combine and bring the fruit to a boil, stirring constantly.

Always take care when moving pots of hot jam!

Once the fruit is boiling madly, you stream in the sugar and stir to combine. Bring that to a rapid boil and cook for just a minute longer. Once the time is up, you pull the pot from the stove. As it starts to cool from the boiling point, you should see visible signs of set, both on the spatula and the walls of the pot.

Then, working one at a time, fill each jar to 1/4 inch headspace, wipe the rim clean with a damp cloth, and apply a new, clean lid and ring. When all jars are full, process them in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes (adjusting your processing time for altitude, if necessary).

The finished jam is well-set, brightly flavored, and gorgeously colored. Click here to see the Jammy Baked Oatmeal I made with this jam!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Newell Brands as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. 

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Meyer Lemon Ginger Marmalade + Giveaway

One of the things that happens when I get close to a book deadline is that my life gets whittled down to the bare essentials. I work, I cook, I exercise, and I sleep. Things get very messy in my apartment, save for the moments of intense procrastination cleaning (the seams and edges of of my kitchen faucet have never sparkled so brightly).

Because the book I’m working on is not dedicated to preserving, my canning practice has really fallen flat in recent days. In fact, until I made this marmalade, it had been nearly a month since I’d canned anything. That’s the longest I’ve gone without firing up the water bath in the last decade.

However, no amount of book work is going to keep me away from Meyer lemon season. They’re only available for a short time each winter and since my order arrived from Lemon Ladies Orchard, I’ve been carving out little pockets of time to salt, dry, and preserve all that sunny lemon goodness.

For this batch of marmalade, I chose to boost the flavor with three ounces of finely grated ginger. I sometimes opt to add ginger flavor by juicing the ginger root, but because I’m short on time these days, I went for the quickest option that didn’t require cleaning another appliance.

I don’t mind having small bits of ginger flesh scattered throughout my marmalade. However, if you need the jelly component of your marmalade to be crystal clear, I suggest you make or buy ginger juice and use approximately 1/4 cup instead.

The other thing that got me excited to make this batch of marmalade was the fact that I had these snazzy Le Parfait 200 ml terrines in which to can it. I really enjoy using jars from Le Parfait because of their heft and sturdiness. They also make me feel instantly transported to Europe for far less money than a plane ticket.

Assembling Le Parfait jars for use is easy. Once you’ve given both the jars and the rubber gaskets a good washing with warm, soapy water, you fit the gaskets onto the lids, making sure that the easy-open tab is pointing off to the side of the jar (so that it doesn’t get in the way of the hinge or the clamp).

I warm them in my canning pot, and while filling take care to leave a little extra headspace, to ensure that there is plenty of space for the lids to close.

I’ve done a lot of writing about the art of making marmalade over the years, so I’m not going to rehash all those details here. If you’re coming to this post without ever having made marmalade before, I suggest you read these three posts before digging in.

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Submit your December Mastery Challenge Projects!

Hey folks! I’m a little late with this post, but if you completed the December Mastery Challenge task (fruit butters!), you can use this form to submit your projects!

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