Earlier this summer, Ball released an automatic jam and jelly maker. Called the FreshTECH, this self-stirring pot promises fresh, homemade preserves in three easy steps. It’s got settings for both jam and jelly and yields approximately 4 cups (that 2 pints) with each batch.
When I first heard about this appliance, I was deeply suspicious. I really didn’t see why a counter top machine was necessary to make jam when it was so easily done in a pot on the stove. However, I’m also a fan of anything that helps people get interested in canning, so I couldn’t dismiss it without first-hand experience. So, I asked the nice folks at Ball if they would send me a review unit. They did so happily and I’ve taken it for several runs this summer.
First one of my first batches in the FreshTECH was a batch of Peach Jam. I used their Reduced Sugar recipe, because I couldn’t bear to follow a recipe that instructed me to add more sugar than fruit. However, even this reduced sugar version contains more sugar than the jams I typically make.
The recipe I used called for 3 1/4 cups fruit. I got that from three large peaches. This is not an appliance for those who have massive amounts of fruit to preserve.
There’s a precise order to how you add your ingredients to the FreshTECH. You start by sprinkling the required pectin across the bottom of the pot. I used the traditional pectin from a canister of flex-pectin (something tells me that they designed those products to work in tandem).
Then you spread the crushed fruit evenly over the pectin.
The recipe calls for bottled lemon juice, but for this batch, I only had lime juice in the house, so I made a quick swap. Since the yellow peaches I used were high enough in acid to be safe for boiling water even without the addition of lemon juice, I knew that my swap wouldn’t have any impact on the safety of the finished product (and bottled lime juice is the functional equivalent of its lemony counterpart).
I never add butter to my stovetop jams because in most cases you can easily control foaming by using a large pot and stirring regularly. Because I was adhering to the recipe for testing purposes, I popped in the required 1/2 teaspoon butter.
Then I pressed start. It was a very different jam making experience from my norm.
You let the pot stir with the lid off for four minutes. When the machine sounds four short beeps, you add the sugar and place the lid on the pot.
Here I am, adding the sugar. As you can see, I was oddly inspired to go all Pioneer Woman on you guys in this post. So many photos!
The lid fogs up while the jam cooks, though some steam does escape through the holes in the rim of the lid.
When the jam is finished cooking, it will sound a final beep. You’re supposed to press cancel to end the process and remove the lid immediately. I was distracted when that finish alert sounded, so I let my jam sit for five additional minutes before I got the lid off. It didn’t seem to do any harm.
My yield was precisely four half pint jars, which was on point with the recipe. The jam took about 24 hours to fully set up and three of the four jars are now resting comfortably in my hall closet. I opened the final jar to give it a taste. It’s perfectly fine jam, though sort of without character (in subsequent batches, I went rogue and added some cinnamon and grated lemon zest — much better).
And honestly, that sort of sums up the experience of using this machine. It makes perfectly acceptable jam. Far better, in fact, than most of the stuff that you can buy at the grocery store. But it sucks all the soul out of the art of making preserves for me. I like standing by my stove and stirring. I like watching how the bubbles change in texture and consistency. And while I do like making small batches, I like having the option of making larger batches that fill seven or eight half pint jars (all the better for holiday giving).
Still, for those of you who are just starting out making jam, this pot offers something akin to training wheels. It’s a good way to get started and find your feet in this world of homemade sweet preserves. If your life is full of distractions and you can’t manage 30 minutes being tethered to the stove but still want freshly made jam, then add the FreshTECH to your kitchen. Though I don’t see it finding a regular place in my canning world, I really can recognize its utility for a number of folks.
Have any of you taken the plunge and gotten a FreshTECH this summer? What did you think?
I bought this thinking that there would be more recipes than what came with the machine. So far, no new recipes. Liked the Low Sugar Pepper Jelly recipe—but be sure to follow it exactly in amounts or it will not setup. I tried all the low sugar recipes and several others of them didn’t set-up and I had to transfer the fruit into a pot on the stove and thicken it with additional cooking. (Perhaps I put too much fruit or didn’t cut it into small enough bits?) It is a good machine for very small batches, but if I am going to make jam, I want to make more than the small amount this machine makes. On the shelf it goes until I have only small amounts to make.
Can anyone tell me why my jam/jelly is cloudy and mealy, not clear?
Interesting. I don’t find making the jam to be time-consuming, it’s canning it that’s a bit of a pain. If they invent a machine that sterilizes jars and canning tools, fills jars leaving proper headspace, wipes the rims clean, tops each jar with a hot lid and ring, then processes it for storage–I’d be all over that. 🙂
I am with emmycooks!
Sign me up for one of those sterilizer/wiper jobbies whenever that gets invented!!
I was thinking exactly this as I read the article! If it could do all that without sprinkling boiling water on you (without fail, I do this…) that’d be even awesomer.
That’s funny – I have exactly the opposite reaction to making jam! I start boiling jars while I’m cutting and peeling fruit, and by the time I’m done, they are sterile. I leave them sitting in the water to keep them warm. I put the lids and rings in a pan of water on simmer while all that’s going on.
It’s the standing over my jam that gets old for me! Getting to 220 often takes me well more than 30 minutes – I’ve been left standing close to an hour watching, stirring, shifting on my feet. I know it would go a lot, lot faster if I used pectin, but I don’t – hence my devotion to getting to exactly the right temp and consistency. But once I’ve gotten there, I find the canning part is really no trouble. Maybe it’s just that I am so relieved not to be standing over a boiling pot on a hot stove any more by that point!
Haha, agreed Emmy! and I just don’t see the point of tiny batches when it takes so much work to sterilize/can
This seems like a waste of kitchen space. I have a betty crocker bread machine and it also has a jam/jelly setting, dough, gluten free, ect. I’ve used the jam/jelly setting many times when I didn’t want to stand in the kitchen and watch/stir or just be on my feet after a long day already and it works fantasticly and it does more than make jam.
I think a multi-setting bread maker would be a better option at making jam, it was the first way I made jam on my own, I was 15 and now 12 years later I still have the same machine.
I’m so glad that you reviewed this!!! I’m an avid reader of your blog & have commented on a few things in the past. As a “semi professional jam maker” myself yours is one of the few blogs I turn to when I have questions about something, need inspiration or just to see what other people are doing. I first saw the FreshTech jam maker a few months ago & after my initial shock that there even was such a thing (!), I was also skeptical about it (especially with a price tag between $100-150, although I know it’s already come down closer to $100 now). However after reading several positive reviews & since I had a coupon (on top of it being on sale) I decided to buy it to try out. I thought that if I didn’t like it I could always return it, especially since I wasn’t sure about the supposed small batch size limitation. In addition to making/selling my preserves at local farmer’s markets I also make baked goods & I thought that if this could free up my hands, time & stove top space it would be worth the investment … boy was it ever! The first time I used it, like you, I followed their directions (with my own recipe) of only filling it so full, putting everything in a certain order & using the preset times. It worked like a dream, no muss no fuss, although my no sugar jam/jelly never did set up very firm, liquidy at room temp then a soft set once in the frig. Since then I’ve pretty much thrown their rule book out the window & use the jam maker just as I would a regular pot with the automatic stir paddle standing in for myself. I use my own (low/no sugar) recipes, mixed as I usually would – mix the sugar, pectin & spices together with lemon juice & any other liquid then add to the fruit. I add everything at the beginning, disregarding the 4 beep signal to add the sugar & I set the jam/jelly timer to 30 mins (the highest it will go). Also I do make big batches of jam in it with no problem! – 8 cups/5 lbs of fruit or as much as 1 gal of juice for jelly at a time, that yields at least 10-16+ half pints. The only thing I don’t like about it is that you have to wait 30 mins between each batch & even if you unplug the machine (so far) I haven’t found a way to “trick” the machine to reset sooner. Although even with that being said in the last few days I’ve been able to crank out 24 cases of preserves (288 jars) & counting … now I’m just waiting to get some more pectin & I can finish the rest, for now! The best part is: no standing/sweating over a hot stove, no stirring, no burnt pan bottoms & best of all no little bits of molten hot jam flying out of the pot onto my arms, hands, or into my eyes! I have even used it to start off a batch of caramels, let the machine do the first 30 mins of stirring then transfer it to a pot to finish myself, worked great! Sorry this comment turned out to be longer than I intended but I just couldn’t help but tell you all about my experience with this fabulous machine, I highly recommend it!
Can I make things like green tomato mincemeat in this machine and use it just to do the stirring for me? How hot does it get? I have lots of questions that probably don’t make any sense now that I think of it, but sometimes I get sick of stirring my salsas for so long.
I don’t see why you couldn’t use this machine to make other things as well. As I mentioned above, I’ve also used it to make caramels, so far. The first time I did it I set the machine for 30 mins but then I got busy doing other things, so then I set it for another 30 mins. By the time I came back to had already went thru the “tried to boil over phase” & had taken on a nice golden amber color. Now I’m not sure how hot it gets, I would image it only gets to around 220* since that seems to be the magic number in jam making. However judging by my caramel experiment I think that if you leave your mixture in the pot & run it thru a 2nd (or 3rd) cycle it can get progressively hotter. I don’t make salsa myself so I’m not sure how hot you need it to get? As far as how much will fit in the machine – I’ve filled it almost to the top & have yet to have any problems with it boiling over. Most of my recipes are based on 5lbs of fruit at a time or 64oz of juice (although if I’m in a hurry I will put a full gallon of juice in it). Well I hope that helps you!
Thanks for this extra review! I was very skeptical, too, but now I see how it would be great for someone cranking out a lot of jam.
Great review. I bought this machine too, but am often afraid to vear off of the recipes provided fearing they won’t turn out. This is great to know. Thanks for your positive review. I will experiment more.
So, I decided to try two recipes by using Heather Z’s method, putting it all in the fresh tech jam maker, turning it up to 30 minutes and letting it go. The first was Vanilla Pear Jam and I made a batch and a half sized recipe. I used the recipe that was in the Fresh Tech recipe book. I used the low sugar recipe and also added Fresh Vanilla bean and cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I think 30 minutes may have been too long. When there was 5 minutes left, it was beginning to look “crinkly”. So, I immediately unplugged the machine and began putting it into the jars. I did the waterbath for 10 minutes. It just looks thick. I hope I didn’t overcook it. Haven’t tried it yet. It is just thicken than the other jars I’ve made by using traditional cooking.
The second recipe I tried was a wine jelly, using a recipe I found elsewhere and set the machine to 30 minutes and jelly. It was loose, not real thick. It seemed like it needed more time? It was ok over cream cheese with crackers.
So, know I don’t know what to do? I don’t like to waste fruit and ingredients, but I am looking for anyone else’s true and tested recipes in the Fresh Tech machine. I am also beginning to experiment with Pomona’s pectin and low sugar recipes. Any suggestions?
Great post, do you ever use Pomona Pectin? If so do you have any suggestions about how to add the Ca, what amounts of the pectin to use and amount of sugar, lets use blueberry jam as an example. Thanks, mh
My husband just bought me a Ball Jam and Jelly Maker for an early Christmas present. He thought it would make my Quince Jelly/Jam making go much faster. I am wondering if my quince jelly recipe would work in it. I never use any added pectin for my jam or jelly since quinces are loaded with pectin. I like the fact that you have been able to make large batches of jam and jelly with yours. When you make batches with 8 cups of fruit or a gallon of juice, you set it for 30 minutes, is that right?
I made a few batches of quince jelly with the FT device — they turned out swell. I used juice made by steaming the whole washed, cut-up fruit (seeds, skin, the works). I steamed the fruit with a small amount of sugar and a couple of crushed cardamon pods tossed in. For the jelly I used 3C juice, 3C sugar, 6T lemon juice and 1 uncrused cardamom pod. No pectin. The jellyturned our s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y loose at room temperature.
Thank you for the review. I can not picture paying $100 for something that makes such small batches. And then having to wait at least 30 mins before doing another batch is also a drawback. This would probably be good for someone who doesnt do as much canning as I do 🙂
FYI You can get it at walmart online for $75 and pick it up in the store. It is $100 in the store, go figure.
Good review, I didn’t know this existed.
I can see the use of this for the average person. After all, the average consumer wants to toss ingredients into a machine and get a product out. I can see a bunch of these being bought in cities where everyone is rushing around.
I think it could also be useful to make experimental small batches of jelly or jam. But I doubt I’ll ever use one of these.
Sounds interesting. However, my favorite canning recipes are big batch: green tomato mincemeat, hot salsa, and salsa verde. I wonder if all of the ingredients would fit into that thing. I will ask Heather Z. exactly how many cups of preserve she was able to fit in it. Also, is it just for jam and jelly making? I do make a lot of jams and jellies, but the afore-mentioned are very important to me, too.
I bought this despite the high price tag and am delighted I did. I tweaked the recipes immediately and have made strawberry balsamic, kiwi, and blueberry ginger jams along with half a dozen others. I have had an average yield of 4 to 7 pints per recipe. If you are new to preserving you should probably start with the recipes in the handbook. I can’t stop myself from experimenting so that’s what I did. You can also substitute your own tried and true recipes. The best part for me is NOT standing over the stove stirring. And, it’s so easy that you can make a batch in no time. Waiting in between batches for 30 minutes is not a big deal for me, I scaled and prepped during that period. I am very happy indeed with this item. Highly recommend it!
I completely agree… I love the jam and jelly maker and recommend it too!
I wouldn’t pay for the device. I make jams in the microwave in small batchs. Of course, the jam is only for myself and my husband and I don’t need more than a jar at a time. The process in the microwave is so quick and easy that I can’t see doing it any other way. The recipes are out there if you do a search on the computer.
Thank you for your review and honesty. When I first saw the machine I thought it was a lovely idea for someone who didn’t know how to make jam or perhaps was overwhelmed with Other Things To Do in Life and needed a time-saver. After reading comments above I’m encouraged to read that it will make a higher volume than the company states. But….I don’t think it’s for me. Yet. Maybe when I retire…
As there are only two of us, I jumped on this machine when it came out several months ago. I LOVE it! I have made several batches of jam this summer, something I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t purchased this machine. I also picked up a small stock pot to use for my water canner instead of hauling out the huge pot I used to use. Ah…things are so much easier and quicker now.
It looks like the interior may have a nonstick coating. Please let me know if it is nonstick. It may be easier to clean but I don’t like the chemicals used to make those surfaces. I also agree that the whole process of stirring and watching the pot is what makes canning enjoyable to me, so a machine like this would not be for me.
I have been wanting to try out that Fresh Tech Jam and Jelly maker, BUT, wanted to hear about how it worked….THank you thank you….so glad you tried it out and let us all know how it worked…
i love your blog!!
thanks for sharing! Melissa from WA
I’m so glad you reviewed this! I noticed it on the shelves last year and see it everywhere this year. I agree that it would be great for someone starting out. I just like to make big batches and get it all done. On a side note I wanted to tell you I bought your book preorder and love it! I have made the dill pickles and will be making the caramelized onion relish today. I’m glad you did a book I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now and have used your recipes frequently. Thanks for the review!
I’ve seen this in stores and am glad you reviewed this-I was curious to know if it worked. This machine could be good for making cooked jams with kids-get them hooked early!
I surely appreciate your extended review and many pictures. I also very much appreciate the other commenters reviews as well.
I am, also, deeply suspicious of such an item, but i am frequently reminded by the high-tech boyfriend that i am a Luddite at heart. (i’m not sure i could even sanction the machine-canning, if and/or when such an item is ever invented. You’re SUPPOSED to get hot, sweaty, tired, covered in tomato juice, etc. when canning. If it were all that easy, would you truly appreciate the home canned tomatoes on January 25th, when opening a fresh jar? Or would you lose even a teensy bit of the thrill of popping open the seal on that jar, listening to the air rushing into the jar, remembering the summer weekend you canned 90-something quarts and you’ve-forgotten how many pints? Would you lose that feeling of being connected to the generations of women who worked harder than most of us to preserve the foods they grew? To your mother, grandmother, and all those who went before? I admit that when i am canning, and when i am hanging laundry out on the line are not only my favorite times, but the times i feel connected and grounded. It seems more real than the 5 days a week i am connected to the computer. Whoa, talk about off topic. Sorry for rambling.)
But, as someone who is known to can and make jellies, etc., i am frequently asked about things, and i will be able to refer them to this website, and offer a secondhand opinion (better than saying i have no clue).
At any rate, thank you for such a well written blog, and thank you also, commenters, on your opinions (long or short!) on it as well. I appreciate it.
I don’t think I’d bother with it just yet; I tend to do larger batches. But it would be a perfect appliance for either a younger or an older single woman who like having their own homemade preserves.
I don’t think I would use this machine. I actually enjoy stirring the pot and watching how sugar and fruit become jam. I also then don’t have to answer all the questions from my kids “where’s this? and where’s that?” – “I’m busy making jam – you’ll have to wait” is probably my favorite line. Making jam is my one respite and release from every other chore in my life. That said – I would love a canning pot that heated in 20 minutes and didn’t need a million gallons of water!
That would be a steam canner! With only 2 quarts of water, it heats real fast and isn’t that heavy. I know alot of people don’t trust them, but if you do a little research, you’ll see that there are a whole heck of alot of people that swear by them. I use one for all the really high acid stuff (jam and pickles…). But stick to the traditional BWB for tomato products. Just a thought.
I use my steam canner for tomatoes too with no problems. I wouldn’t use it for any low acid food, but tomato puree and whole tomatoes work very well.
“go all Pioneer Woman on you guys”=made me laugh out loud and almost snorted on my coffee!
I’m so glad that gave you a chuckle!
Maybe I need this. I’ve had luck with marmalade and cowboy candy (yay to PW) but my attempt last weekend to make blueberry jam using the sheeting test for gel ability resulted in rock-jam. I mean diamond quality rock hard jam. Sigh.
I just got this product…..still in the box though, haven’t had time to “play”. I’m so happy that YOU reviewed it! I loved your detailed description & especially the photos. It makes me more confident in getting started. As a fairly new canner, I think this will be a good addition to my appliance collection! Lol. I also have 3 boys…2 are aged 11 & 1 is 9 (blended family) and I have one on the way…..I can not imagine having 30 plus interrupted minutes without someone sidetracking me! I am also looking to make some jam gift baskets this holiday season, so I think this will be perfect in allowing some trial & error and variety! Thanks for always giving us honest reviews and great recipes! You rock!
I was so interested to see your review of this! When I saw this online I thought, while not for me, it might be good for someone who might have difficulty standing for the long time required to cook down the jam–in particularly long sessions I have noticed this myself–maybe I should get one of those special mats that cooking stores are always trying to sell.
I don’t think I am the target audience for this product but I’ve been pleased with it. I actually like that it makes small batches and is hands-free. We are only a family of two and I make lots of different flavors of jam/preserves frequently. Four jars is enough for us to have some and share a jar or two without being overwhelmed.
I still make tons of jam the old fashioned way but this machine is perfect to use when I am making something else (rarely do I can one type of product at a time) and have a bit of leftover fruit. For example: I’ve been canning summer fruit for my “save the summer” canning recipe week I have coming up and had just a bit of fruit left. I made jam in this using it while I was hands-on making sauces. It was perfect because I had room in the pot for 4 more jars and it used up fruit I probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance to eat. I think of it sort of like the slow cooker. Would I like to make everything on the stove-top/oven all the time? Sure. But is sure is nice to come home to dinner that I didn’t have to fuss with before serving. Not to mention avoiding standing over a hot stove in August in our un-air conditioned house.
I think it is far too expensive for a single-use appliance, and I also enjoy the challenge of doing it the regular way.
This sums it up perfectly. I wouldn’t get any satisfaction out of the final product if it was just a matter of dumping ingredients into an appliance.
This review is tempting me to want one, even though my husband’s not in favor of any more kitchen appliances. 🙂 I often make small batches of jam, rarely big ones. I would be out there right away buying one if you could run it longer than 30 minutes – with the auto-stirrer it would be perfect for cooking down apple butter. I don’t mind cooking down jam, it doesn’t take that long, but good apple butter takes *hours* and gets all over your kitchen (I’ve never had good luck with the reduce it in the slow cooker approach).
You need an old style slow cooker to make apple butter in it. The new ones don’t work as well for the long cooking. I’m not sure why. Anyhow, look for the old ones at a second hand store. They’re about $10 around the Seattle area.
OK, now I want you to do a risotto hack on this thing 🙂
And then maybe dulce de leche.
I was wondering about risotto! Still not worth the price tag or space to me, though.
I’m confused. Can you please answer whether there is need for additional processing? I’ve always done freezer jams because the whole buying all that other stuff seemed like a lot for a person who really only makes a few jars here and there. You say you’re storing it in a pantry environment, so did you skip the steps (bad Pioneer Woman, that made me laugh) or is it ready to seal and go?? You can tell I know squat about canning. It’s somethng I have on my bucket list, but then I think, “I’m going to kill my family or have explosions.” 🙂 Thank you!
Kristianna, this machine simply does the work of cooking the jam. Once it was cooked, I funneled it into hot jars, placed lids and rings on those jars, submerged them in hot water and boiled them for 10 minutes. The boiling step is what preserves the jam and allows for the jars to be stored in a pantry environment. That’s how it works with all canning. I didn’t include the canning steps in this post because I wasn’t talking about the act of canning here, but instead about how this particular machine works as a jam maker. Does that help?
Yes, thank you! I, like I said, am pretty ignorant about canning, but it seemed unlikely that the dream of skipping processing in water, etc would be possible for a safe shelf stable item. It would have been cool! I keep saying next year is the year for me to can, so maybe really in 2013. 😉
That seems like such an unnecessary $100 spent. I don’t see how attending cooking fruit for a little bit is so onerous that someone needs to spend that much money on such a large machine to take space in their kitchen — but that’s just me.
I’ve seen this on clearance at Target for $54.95 just two days ago. If I had room in my kitchen, I’d be tempted to pick one up.
I was at Target in Madison, WI, last week and purchased mine for $32…..a 75% discount! I’m overjoyed …Also I’ve been canning since I was 12…and for the last 50+ years my worst nightmares were staying up til 2am canning a jam that refused to set up or get to the 220 degree mark. I’m hoping this will save me hours of sleep. If you can get a great bargain at the end of the season, go for it. I did and can’t wait to try it out. My game plan is go for one or two regular recipes then start in experimenting. I’ve two pineapples ripening and can’t wait to play around.
Glad to see this in use. I wanted one several years ago when I saw it in France. Now that the there is one with a proper “American” plug, I will have to check it out.
My mom and I bought the FreshTech a few months ago. The use of it is what caused us to Google and find you! 🙂 We have not had any success and getting a good set on our jam/jellies. We have tried strawberry jam, apple jelly, and grape jelly (from grapes in our backyard). NONE of them have set well. We have used Sure Jell pectin because that’s all we could find in our area. It has not worked well. With the Grape jelly we tried Sure Jell liquid pectin and it did not set. Thats when we found you. We saw your post on recooking to get a proper set- we didnt know there was such a thing. We tried recooking our grape jelly and added more liquid pectin. It got a little firmer but nowhere near where we need to be. Now we are just frustrated. All this canning and processing and no good sets 🙁
In your opinion of the Fresh Tech – do you think it gets hot enough to cook all the way? Is our setting problem because we were using Sure Jell pectins and not Ball brand? Have you ever had a problem getting your jams to set when using the FreshTech?
I might try recooking the jelly in the FreshTech and add more pectin. Maybe then it will set. If not we are in danger of throwing in the towel on all canning.
As a new mom I love the idea of the automatic cooking that the FreshTech promises. I can make yummy jam for my baby and know how much sugar he is taking in all the while not having to take my eyes off him.
The formulation for the Ball pectin and the Surejel are different. Whether that is your problem, I’m not sure.
I have heard a lot of people say sure gel doesn’t set well. I use ball flex batch for all and have never had a problem.
Have you checked the expiration date on the pectin? It usually doesn’t work as good if it is old. I always use the low/no sugar pectin when I make jam. It seems to set up better (even with full sugar) than the regular kind. What kind are you using? As a last resort I would try just recooking on your stove… it could be that you have a unit with a defective heating element.
you must use balls pectin in the freshtech or you will not get a good set. It says this in the book that comes with your machine
Guess I’m not a purest…I say “YAY technology!” I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my jam/jelly maker and highly recommend it!
I recently purchased this machine on sale at Target also, and I absolutely love it. I’ve made several batches of strawberry jam and pomegranate jelly and they came out perfectly. It is ideal for me because I live alone. I’m still looking for a blueberry jam recipe for this machine.
I would love to give this gadget a try….I’ve been canning for thirty years and have yet to find a way to put up preserves without steaming up the kitchen and being tied to the stove for hours at a time. ANYTHING that would make canning a bit easier is certainly worth looking into!!!!
I have been canning for years and so this machine wouldn’t suit me but I would LOVE to give this to a young newbie canner.
stove type is what I do, love to try jam maker by Ball, this would be great for the specialiy jam I make ! as always love the blog.
I’ve been canning, pickling, dehydrating off and on for more than forty years, but I’ve never done much with making jam and jellies. I’ve just retired and it might be time. I love your blog and am thinking of starting on of my own.
Results of my jam making so far: Strawberry- with regular “box” Ball pectin..watery but tasty. Pineapply with Ball’s “box” pectin…no go at all until I went the traditional stove-top and water-bath canning (spectacular!). Peach jam – I used the CORRECT
Sorry Folks…computer failure…so to continue the previous post….
For the Peach Jam I used the CORRECT pectin which is the new Ball Plastic Jar…ta da! Don’t use any other type of pectin per the Ball folks. Must use their new jar wihc is labeled “CLASSIC”..it comes in both regular and low-sugar. Well I followed the recipe and the jam foamed constantly, I barely caught it before it foamed over the top so many times that I finally had to set the lid slightly off the pot. The jam was scorched and so was the pot bottom; the jam had bits of burnt stuff in it and I had to can it up tht way. It tastes OK despite the colorful addition to the peach jam. I will keep trying, but I’m getting frustrated.
I have never canned in my life, always been afraid of it. I purchased the freshTECH last week and tried it last night. Since the children have grown, there are only two of us and the small batch thing is a big plus. I made the low sugar berry jam without a hitch. Well, one small one. It came out far sweeter than I really like. According to the book, less sugar would prevent the jam from setting. HELP!
honey grandmother never used any sugar at all,
the cooking time is longer to bring out the natural sweetness
Look at ‘Simply Fruit’ they add apple juice for sweetness
I expect several of the oldsters to workup no sugar recipes
I am surprised to not see a pinch of salt in any of the recipes.
Will be fun to watch what developes with this equipment
I am thinking ‘steel cut oats’ that require constant stirring for 30 minutes
Even rice pudding
I plan to play to expand this otherwise ‘one trick pony’
Terry, if you go to Ball’s website there is a converter that will tell you how much pectin vs how much sugar. You can get away with less sugar, but it requires you to put in more pectin to offset it. And make sure you use the low/no sugar pectin not the regular if you reduce the amount of sugar. It has calcium citrate in it to help the pectin gel in lieu of the sugar doing it.
Since my stroke
eating store bought jams felt like ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’
Sorry Smucker boys.
This jam & jelly maker returns the fresh taste we were missing.
The small batches suit my energy levels.
I can make them with Splenda flavors not available anywhere.
I love the pinacolada jam,
and the black cherry jam, plus the strwawberry jam with Splenda
stirred into my homemade greek yogurtA+++++
This is perfect for oldsters that used to can.
I have been making jams for years and always hated standing at the stove stirring, so when I came across this machine at the end of August last year by accident I ordered it right away. (did an Internet price compare and found online coupon & got it for a grand total of $78.00 at k-mart). I love it, I like doing small batches and changing the ingredients a bit to make them a bit different. I have done variations all low sugar with peaches, pears, plums, peppers, apricots and pomegranate juice and with the exception of 1 batch of the Pom. That I played with the ratios that made it a bit loose every single one has come out great. I have been using the ball pectin in the canister that you just measure out what you need, however I think I am going to start experimenting with pectin amounts and lowering the sugar even more. After spending a long day today making blood orange marmalade the old fashioned way I am going to attempt 2 batches tomorrow in the fresh tech, because like others have mentioned I don’t think their booklet offers close to the amount of recipes I would like. Side note, I gave out some of my regular peach and pomegranate as Christmas gifts and got rave reviews on how great the fruity flavor was, I was surprised at how many of my co workers had never had homemade jams/jelly I don’t think they realized how much sugar is in the store bought stuff.
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I recieved the FreshTECH Jam and Jelly maker for the birthday from my boyfriend (clearly a keeper right?!) and I have loved it.
I like the idea of testing jams and whatnot because I’ve just started and I can pilot things. I am really excited about doing more jamming in the future and glad I found this site!
Maybe it’s just the perspective of the photo, but it looks like you yielded four 4-oz. jars, and not four half-pints (which are 8 oz.). Could you please clarify the size jars you used?
I know it kind of looks like those are 4 ounce jars, but they’re actually wide mouth half pint jars. The yield is correct as written.
I love this machine and since there are only two of us, I have a half pint for us and three to give away. So easy to use, but don’t understand why people have a problem with sterilizing jars and processing. I fill my canner with distilled water for cleaning the jars and processing the jars so it can be used over and over because there is no sediment.
I LOVE IT!!! Set jars to sterilize, by the time the jelly was ready the jars were ready to go. Started out with easiest recipe in book, the grape jelly; used Concord Grape pure juice with no sugar, turned out just perfect. Will try peach jam next, then apple jelly….
I just bought this, and have been reading these posts,…I am hoping to see more reciepes because I am not a canner, nor to great in the kitchen. So I thought this would be nice. I want to make the Jelly that I had, had either pepers and mango, not sure if it was chili pepers tho,……
Thanks to everyone who left input, helpful for us novis.
I was given the FreshTech as a Christmas gift because I make a lot of jams and marmalades. I don’t use pectin and enjoy making things completely from scratch. This isn’t an item I would have picked out for myself, but I have a pile of meyer lemons in the kitchen, and I’m thinking of making lemon curd. For some reason, I hate stirring the stuff as I’m cooking, so maybe this device will work for me, small batch tho it is. Anyone tried making lemon curd yet?
Easy for my daily Fig Jam’s. I have a fig tree and it ripens figs daily. That can be real pain when it comes to preserving them. I have to do small batches. This machine works great for my small daily batches of fig preserves. Sure keeps the mess and work down. No more messy stove.
I’ve had some wonderful batches and I’m still working on improving the texture of my figs. They do have a lot of their own pectin and thicken up nicely on their own.
I’m using the machine with my own recipe. Which takes a little time to get it right. I started with using their recipe for strawberry jam and using my figs instead and adjusting from there.
I also have the Ball Tec automatic canner and I’m using it for canning my own recipes. I think the company is very cautious in giving out recipes. So using common sense and my own canning experience I’m using the FT jam/jelly maker and FT automatic home canner and making my own recipes based on similar produce used in their recipes.
I would love your recipe for fig jam as I have a fig tree too
Sylvia, I have the jam/jelly maker. First time canning..love it! The FT canner arrived yesterday. Read the entire recipe book, now I’m getting leery (Ball scares you to death ). May I ask, when you’ve completed the jelly/ jam process how do you finish in the canner. Jam maker yields 4 half pints, canner 6 half pints. Your the first poster I’ve read that has both machines.
I have been making jam my entire adult life and now at 73 I’m happy to discover the Fresh Tech. It’s easy, it produces a very nice consistency jam, and you don’t get splattered with bubbling jam while stirring. I followed the recipe for peach jam but didn’t have enough peaches and added a cup of raspberries, oh my, it’s wonderful. So don’t be intimidated to try some of your own ideas, as long as the quantities are the same and you don’t substitute the pectin, lemon juice and sugar (unless it says you can.) One tip I’d like to pass on. While filling up my jars I spilled some jam down the hole where the paddle was removed. When it came time to clean up I got as much out of the hole as I could and the amount that ended up below the heating element I cleaned out with a Q tip. Next time I will be more careful because I’m sure you could end up with a mess and might have a hard time getting it all out.
I like the FreshTech jam & jelly maker. I have a question. Can you substitute liquid pectin for the powdered fruit pectin? and if so, how much?
The recipes designed for the FreshTech are pretty carefully crafted to work with that machine, so I just don’t know how it would work to switch things up.
I have made several types of jams, even going rouge and switching up the recipes they offer, and I love the FreshTECH jam maker. I like to cook a meal and have the jam maker going at the same time – two things get done. I have been very satisfied with the results. Plan to make jams for Christmas gifts.
I was wondering if anyone has tried making a jam that does not normally require pectin (tomato jam) in their FreshTECH?
I just made tomato jam yesterday and I use 2 instead of 3 tablespoons of the ball powdered pectin. It did not work. next time I will use the required amount of pectin, the Jam did not set right.
I absolutely love the Fresh Tech! I can make a batch of jam or jelly while making breakfast & use it all the time. Ball has added more recipes, & I’m sure will have more as time goes along. I’ve used other approved recipes with very good luck & a little common sense…………What I especially like is the fact that I DO NOT have to stand over a hot stove on a hot day, & it hardly heats up the house… I have made spaghetti sauce & other things, too. Love being able to make small batches so easily. A really great product & I highly recommend it! Wish I’d had one when my kids were little. A real time saver 😉
I have a jam & jelly maker can I make a double batch?
You’d need to reach out to the Ball Canning folks for an answer. I am not an expert when it comes to the jam and jelly maker.
I have used the Fresh Tec Jam and Jelly maker for a few years, my daughter also bought me another one for Christmas last year. I have also played around with it and have done a few things different, mostly adding spices or extracts to the jam or jelly. I have also made a peach raspberry jam. I am thinking about getting the Fresh Tech Automatic Canning System. I would like to know how to get the new recipes that have been added.
It is a great product and very simple to use. It beats standing over a stove, which I still do occasionally.
Can I reboil my jam it did not get hard made with fresh strawberries?
You can try. Were you using a recipe?
I bought a freshTech for making jam as I have Parkinson’s and found this a safer option so I can continue to make jam and jelly for the family as I used to. No more having to lift hot pans from the stove.
I bought a Jam & Jelly maker about 2-3 years into canning. I was so excited thinking I could whip up my favorite jam recipes in this baby. Then I discovered that I can’t (or haven’t figured out how to) adjust the recipe. So I used it 1 year to make a lot of apple and strawberry jelly and haven’t used it since. I occasionally look for people who have recipe hacks for this thing but haven’t had a lot of luck. Part of the appeal of canning is trying new recipes but I don’t want to waste several batches of peach jam only to have not set up properly.
I just got my Ball-Freshtech Jam and Jelly Maker today. Will be making my Jams on Saturday…dr appt tomorrow or would be doing so that day. I have a raspberry bush outside my door and it gives me oodles of berries daily, now, I can make it right away, instead of having to freeze them, and get all the stuff out to do canning…I hate standing over the hot stove.
I would love to have your fig recipe for canning figs in the jam/jelly machine. thank you.
is there a recipe for salsa in the jam maker
Nope. It’s only designed for jams and jellies.
I have one my son gave me three years ago for Mother’s Day and I love everything about it! In fact I just bought one for a young couple in our church for a gift. I would love to see some new recipes. This summer I have mixed peaches and blueberries for jam and also I found a recipe for blueberry, pepper jelly and I used the maker! Has anyone used it for making fig preserves? Best part about is the clean up!
I love this machine! First let me say that I have only used sure jell pectin and have never had a problem. My first batch this year I used pectin from last year. It did turn out to be too soft so for the next batch I used an extra half tablespoon. It worked fine. For the soft batch, I just put it all back in the fresh tech machine with another half tablespoon of pectin and just recooked it. It worked beautifully.
I am not one for experimenting, but I wanted to make a batch of pepper jelly. Friends had given us some ghost peppers. The recipe called for jalapenos and sweet peppers. I was not going to use 3 whole ghost peppers (yikes) so I just used a combination of ghost pepper and sweet to make up the total amount of pepper required in the recipe. A half ghost pepper made a pretty mild jelly, a whole ghost pepper made a medium (my favorite) and a pepper and a half made a hot jelly, kind of equivalent to a hot salsa heat. My husband preferred that one.
Others complained that you have to wait 30 minutes for the cooker to cook before the next batch. I just use that time to process the jars and prepare the fruit for the next batch. If you don’t like to stand over the hot stove stirring constantly this product is great. Cleanup is so easy, and because you are only doing 4 half pints at a time, you don’t need a large water bath canner. Just any pot where you can cover them with water works just fine.
I am a newbie and I bought this machine because my first attempt at making Jam was a failure. I love the machine, as it is cooking, I am preparing my jars and lids. My canner can’t handle many jars and thus while the finished jars are in in the pot, it gives me time to clean up the area, get my next batch measured and gives me a little breather between batches. I also can’t handle standing in a hot kitchen ever since I experienced heat stroke many years ago. So this wonderful machine keeps me away from the heat. Love, Love, Love my machine.
I’m so glad to hear that you like it!
I REALLY want to use it for sugar free OR sugar substitute recipe. Has anyone tried it?
Unfortunately, I don’t know if any sugar free recipes were ever developed for that device. So sorry!