Most of the time, I make jam on my turquoise, 45 year old, electric stove. I’ve also made jam on a camp stove, on an induction burner, on an plain gas stove and even on a high-powered commercial gas range. And now, I’ve even made jam in a bread machine.
Several months ago, I spotted this post on the King Arthur Flour blog, in which they make a batch of strawberry jam in a Zojirushi bread machine. Being that I’m fascinated by all things having to do with jam making (don’t tell me you didn’t notice), I determined that this was something I wanted to try. In the interest of science, of course.
I got in touch with the folks at Zojirushi and they very nicely agreed to give me a review unit so that I could see how this whole bread machine jam thing worked. It arrived on my birthday (which was more than a month ago now) and I spent at least a week circling it warily, uncertain whether I wanted to trust my fruit to an automated machine that wouldn’t let me control the heat source.
Finally I unswaddled it from boxes and styrofoam, mashed up two cups of strawberries and got to work. The instructions that come with the Zojirushi say to combine 2 cups of crushed berries, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. For the first round, I followed the instructions exactly and cooked the jam without any additional pectin.
Fruit, sugar and lemon juice go into the pan. Then you close the lid and set it to the jam setting (don’t be fooled by the 3:45 time in the picture above, I took that before I set it run the jam cycle. It only takes 1:20 to make jam in the Zojirushi). When the cooking time is up, the machine issues a couple of friendly beeps so that you can rush over and check on your jam (that is, if you weren’t hovering very nearby, occasionally lifting the lid a little to peek at the progress).
So here’s the good news. This machine, which was designed to bake bread, makes perfectly adequate jam. It gets quite hot, the paddles keep the jam moving to prevent any scorching and it’s dead easy to use. If you’re the type who likes to freeze fruit and make small batches of jam throughout the year, making your jam in a Zojirushi is a really good option. However, it has a major flaw as a jam maker and that is that with the lid closed, you’re just never going to get the necessary amount of evaporation to get a really thick jammy jam.
I did one batch without pectin (sorry, no pictures of the jam with pectin, I knocked it over just after pouring it into the jar and splattered my kitchen entirely in sticky fruit spray) and one with and both remained stubbornly runny and without the body that a good jam should have (though the batch with 2 teaspoons of powdered pectin did firm up more than the batch without).
The picture below pairs a stove cooked jam (on the left) with the jam cooked in this bread machine. You can see the difference in the body of the jam. The stove top jam reduced by more than 1/3 during cooking, resulting in a thick-set, glossy jam. The bread machine jam on the right is juicier and has saturated the bread with its syrup. Not a bad thing, but an imperfect thing to use on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It would be perfect stirred into yogurt or drizzled on ice cream though.
I will say that I’ve been absolutely blown away by the quality of the bread that the Zojirushi makes. Of course I couldn’t resist using it to bake up a few loaves while it was hanging out in my kitchen and wow. We haven’t bought bread in weeks thanks to this machine.
Now comes the fun part. Zojirushi has given me one bread/jam machine to giveaway to one of my readers, so that you can experience with making your fruit preserves on your counter top. To enter, leave a comment and share a story of jam making (when I taught canning classes at Terrain at Styer’s last summer, I made jam in a barn. That’s where we used camp stoves. It was really, really hot). One entry per person. United States residents only. Winner will be selected at random. Comments will close on Friday, June 24 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be posted the next day. Good luck!
Disclosure: Zojirushi gave me a bread machine in which to make jam as well as the one I’m giving away (all of this at no cost). However, my opinions are all my own.
When I was growing up my Grandmother made an incredible fresh peach pie. Since she has been gone, I’ve longed for it. My Mother tried to make it from memory and while good it just wasn’t right. We’ve talked and talked about what & how her Mother did it. Last year I decided I would recapture Grandma’s recipe… I made mountains of pie crust dough and bought bushels of fresh peaches. 27 pies later (I’m not kidding…) I resigned myself to just not getting it right & that I’d have to settle for my memories & okay reality. Unable to face yet one more pie, I turned the remaining peaches into jam; peeled, chopped, cooked, canned, cooled. I’d had enough of peaches by that point so put the jars away. Midwinter — in the middle of one of the worst blizzards Chicago has ever seen — I pulled one out. Popped open the lid and scooped some up in a spoon (my favorite way to have the first taste of a batch of jam). Amazingly, the taste was exactly what I remember Grandma’s pie tasting like. Texture all wrong for pie filling, of course, but by some quirk of fate (stars in alignment? perfectly ripe fruit? correct sugar/fruit/acidity ratio? Grandma guiding my hand?) I had hit on the right combination of ingredients and successfully captured the taste of those long ago pies in jars. Jars! Now my question is, should I retry the recipe I followed and possibly be disappointed or should I hoard my jars like a miser does his gold?!
I actually prefer freezer jam, but until recently I didnt have freezer room. I do make my own bread and have a breadmaker that I bought at thrift shop.
I’ve only made jelly at this point – plum jelly to be precise. I’d really like to tackle jam this year!
I would love to try to make jam in a bread machine 🙂 I love canning and have been known to stick almost anything into jars!
I remember my first jam experience. I was 5 years old and in tote with my little brother and sister and set loose on a field of strawberries. After returning from the harvest (and while the little ones took a nap) I got to mush the strawberries so that my father could make the jam and then I sat very patiently on a stool next tot he counter to watch the whole process. 20 years later, I remember that day every time I make my own Jam.
I once knocked an entire pot of strawberry jam off the stove, spraying the floor, myself, and the entire kitchen with boiling fruit and syrup. Good times.
My first jam making experiment my husband and I kept asking each other if the blueberry jam looked right, and then debated back and forth on if they would be okay after the water bath. We ended up putting the jars in the freezer just to be safe. Now all my canned goods rest on a shelf in the basement!
I would love to win the breadmaker and try it for making jam for our waffles.
I’ve made jam in a crock pot, in the oven and on the stove, the stove being the worst results at times. I hate using pectin, a bread machine would be the best multi-tasker for jam!!
so many jam and jelly stories from when i was growing up! i’ll say that strawberry day was a family event – mom and grandma and i all picking and then the men, dad and grandpa, joining in the jam prep once they got home from work. the men and i diligently hulled and sliced the berries, mom and grandma at the stove, stirring and skimming the foam off the top. i was fascinated by the pinkish foam and always wanted to eat it. for years it was forbidden; the adults seemed to think it was full of impurities. i’m not sure how that was ever resolved, but i can remember ultimately sitting down with a very small bowl of warm, sticky pink foam and a spoon.
dad preferred really runny strawberry jam, without pectin – he and i would put peanut butter on ritz crackers, and drizzle the jelly on top, then race to eat the cracker before the jam ran off the sides.
the best sound? the *pop* of the lids as the heat of the jam sealed the jars!
I am sure I will have stories of incredible hilarity if I were to win a breadmaker to make jam in.
A good friend of mine taught me how to can two years ago, and then last year, she & I both taught another friend of ours to can. In one day we made orange-grapefruit marmalade, white peach jam, and blueberry jam. It’s one of my favorite memories: the three of us preparing the fruits together around the table, making the jams, and just talking about everything under the sun.
The first time I made jelly (haven’t made jam yet) I was visiting my friend in Prescott, AZ and we picked prickly pears and first boiled them and squeezed the juice out (tasted like artickoke with sugar, blech) and then grilled them on the BBQ (that worked). The actual jelly making part went pretty well!
In my social circle, I’m the only one that makes my own jam and other preserves. It’s always fun to have a “you made this? by yourself?!?” reaction when I gift a jar or make something that includes home-canned items. I love it! (and I’ve been lusting after a breadmaker –I bake most of our bread and it’s getting so hot!)
Well, I have no jam-making stories to tell…. YET! I would LOVE to get started, though! I have been wanting to start canning but just haven’t done it yet. I need a good kick in the rear to get started! 😉
I made amazing fig jam last year, and amazing marmalade this year! I want to make more jam, it’s a pleasure.
Last year, I made apricot-lemon jam with pieces of lemon peel and it was my favorite jam of the whole year. I wrote down the recipe and lost the paper and now I can’t figure out how to make it again!
oh this sounds fabulous!!
I’m a jam maker with a ancient bread machine. my kids call it the
“dented robot”. lol
its round with a huge dent on the side, truly a sad sight, but i use it all the time as i do not buy store bread.
But, it was a freebee from freecyle so i love it.
it would be a dream to have one that would help with my bread and jam!
I make no-cook strawberry freezer jam. Easy. No-fuss. Deeeeelicious!
I wonder if I could use my bread machine…different brand but if one can do it, why can’t another? You can save me the ?’s and make me the winner of the correct machine! Thanks!
We’re cutting back on sugar but I may try it with honey! Thanks for the chance to win a Zo–what a great machine!
I’ve been making jam for three years here in Washington with Walla Walla strawberries! I can’t go back to store-bought….
Last year was my first trial making jam. It was a little like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. One was too stiff, the next too runny! It was a little while before I found my groove – now my husband refuses to eat anything but “my” jam 🙂
I made my own jam for the first time about 2 weeks ago. delish. Then I went to a favorite restaurant and I always thought their raspberry jam was so good… it couldn’t hold a candle to homemade. I am now a jam snob.
My favorite jam to make is strawberry. The last time I made it, I bought two flats of berries from the farmers’ market. I canned and canned and canned and still had berries left over that were quickly becoming overripe. Eventually I froze a bunch also, and still lost a few. This maker would make it such less labor intensive to make the jam!
The first jam I ever made was rosepetal jam for a high school project. I raided my neighbor’s bushes and painstakingly clipped the white bitter tip from each of the petals. Unfortuneatly I got out of the car and my jam fell out – the jar shattered leaving a sticky rose scented mess of shards. I’ve never tried to make it again. Will be trying my hand at strawberry this weekend, though!
I’m loving this machine for jam! It always takes forever to squish, boil and can. I love jam and this machine is awesome!
Jam making. Yum. I make jam all summer now. But the very first year I made jam was in 1989. When I didn’t know anyone who did. I had the Blue Book, no internet and a few boxes of jars and pectin. In my first two batches, one turned out like syrup, the other like road tar. Seriously, you could have patched driveways with it. I happily gave it away for Christmas gifts that year to people I love. (I know! What was I thinking?? But I was so proud of myself!) You might ask yourself, “how does she know exactly what year it was?” That’s easy. We have been cleaning out our house this year in preparation for a possible move next year. Buried in the back of a storage unit that is 6′ high and 3′ deep, on the very top shelf in our basement, behind a bunch of other stuff were two tiny jars. Labeled “Bing Cherry Jam, 1989.” No idea how they were missed. Nothing else was that old in there. And they are still like road tar.
Hi! I have never actually made jam, jelly, or marmalade but my mom promised we would give it a try this summer. I am so excited to start making jam because of your blog, and I think it will be SO much easier with this bread machine! I’ve had my eye on your recipe for Watermelon Jelly for a while, ever since I heard about it on Cupcakeproject.com and if I win I’ll definitely have to try making some. Who knows, I could even end up having quite a few canning adventures!
Everytime I make jam, it seems to come out too runny. So last year, I thought I’d leave the raspberry jam to simmer just a little bit longer. Ended up basically with raspberry fruit leather! lol
My fondest jam-making memory is one June day when I had a flat of strawberries and I thought, “Hey, I should make jam! Why not?” and I proceeded to do just that. Problem was, it was 100 degrees out, and I had no air conditioning. To say I wilted during the afternoon would be an understatement. But looking back, it was fun!
Hubby and I made our first jam this year! We did hte kind without pectin and just tossed in random berries from our fridge and it was a total win!
We also don’t buy commercial bread, we only bake it at home, but without a bread machine it sorta comes out artisan shaped, which is yummy but awkward for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. hehe
I learned to make jam with my grandmother as a kid. We’d go pick blackberries (they are everywhere here!) and then we’d spend the afternoon canning up lovely jars of blackberry jam – heaven!
I just started “jamming” last year. Now that I know that our favorite is grape, I will make gallons of grape jam in late summer. The bread machine would be fun to make the bread that we would eat with the jam. And we will need LOTS of bread!
Yummy, put my name in that drawing
Would’ve never thought to use a bread machine for anything but bread…cool! Love the blog and facebook posts. Thanks! Hope I win!
My girlfriend and I used to make peach jam (and can a bunch of peaches) in her basement, because ti was cooler than our un-air-conditioned kitchens.
So far this year I have picked fruit for and made orange marmalade, strawberry jam, peach jam, peach pit jelly, and blackberry preserves. I have been having a lot of fun learning how to prepare each one, but I would have to say that smuggling home 10 Navel oranges in my luggage from CA to TX was pretty memorable. Oh and the fact that the “chunky” batch of marmalade (think 1/2″ peel pieces) that I made was not a good idea. Please let me win this bread machine, I need to make some bread to work through that marmalade.
I didn’t know you could make jam in a bread machine! I think I will stick to using my stove, but would LOVE to win a new bread machine! Mine is just about to give out on me.
Jam I love to make, but no more apple butter for me… Last time I made it with a friend we used a bushel of apples, it took FOREVER, The ceiling, walls, and us were COVERED in splatter and when were done we had a whopping dozen 1/2 pints. Best Jam I ever made? Toss up between strawberry vanilla and peach ginger.
Would love to make preserved lemons this summer and maybe a grapefruit marmalade.
” Comments will close on Friday, June 24 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be posted the next day. Good luck”
what time zone? the post prior to mine is timestamped June 25, 2011 at 12:03 am but it is only June 24, 7:15 pm cdt.
I’m in Philadelphia, so they close at 11:59 pm in my eastern time zone.
My first memory of jam making was on a weeklong beach getaway with family when I was 5 or so. I was foraging for anything fun around the beach cottage and found a goldmine of ripe mangoes from a very huge tree! I picked the good ones off the ground and gave them to grandma. She said they were too ripe to eat so she and I peeled them and made mango jam on the beach fire pit. I could not wait for the jam to finish and burned my tongue testing it when grandma wasn’t looking. It was the best jam I’ve ever had.
Why is the time/date stamp incorrect? I’m on the west coast and it’s only 5:45 pm PDT.
Last year, as usual, we made plum jam from a tree next door; we decided this time to add freshly scraped vanilla bean to a batch. We couldn’t believe how strong one split bean could be! Although it turned into a “grown-ups” favorite, the kids found it a bit too much. We’ll have to do it again this year!
The first time I made jelly was in Home Ec. in HS. It was apple jelly and we made it from reconstituted frozen concentrate….lol It was definitely an interesting day. Since then I’ve made jam a couple times. My first try was peach jam in the microwave. I don’t think I cooked it long enough as the sugar didn’t seem to totally dissolve, either that or it boiled so hard it had all these tiny air bubbles trapped in it and I mistakenly thought that they would “settle out” if I left it to cool and then stuck in in the pantry. The sugar or air bubbles never did go away. Not sure exactly what happened with it, but I don’t remember us eating it. Since then I’ve tried my hand at blackberry jam, apple butter and pumpkin butter….all to successful ends and happy eating. :o)
I made jam on my own for the first time two years ago–strawberries from a u-pick with my toddler. Becasue I was determined to get enough to make jam I was really the only one picking!
My first experience was after buying a peck of peaches at the farm market. I had to do something with all those peaches. My brother came over to help. We were up half the night but we figured it out and had delish jam.
The first time I made jam, it flopped! Of course I thought I’d be cool and try to make in in the microwave, which I had been told you could do. I don’ t know if I did or didn’t boil it enough or too much. It had either sugar crystals or air bubbles trapped throughout the jam. I guess I thought they would either dissolve or settle out. It did neither. We threw it out hen we moved a year later. Sad but true story. Since then have made jam the old fashioned way on the stove top and had great success! 🙂 My favorite is blackberry!
I started making jam last year (your strawberry vanilla jam, actually) and love it! I’m really excited to try my hand at canning other things this summer. The local pick your own strawberry place here let its patrons clear the fields for free on the day they were going to mow the plants down, so I was able to squeeze in a bonus batch this year and it’s my best yet. Sadly, I’ve only been enjoying it on store bought bread. Woe, woe. And just how do you pronounce “Zojirushi”?
I recently started following your blog after I visited the cherry orchard and picked 24lbs of fresh rainier cherries. I wasn’t sure what to do with so many cherries. The orchard owner suggested I can them and make jam. Here I stumbled across your blog and have had a lot of fun learning how to make jam and plenty of other stuff. There are so many interesting recipes and posts on your blog, I can’t wait to try more recipes.
By the way, sorry to hear about the spill in your kitchen.
Jam is a family affair at my house. I involve my boys. The last time we made pineapple jam I mistakenly doubled the batch. The jam turned out great. But my youngest son told me “you are going to make me stir my arm off”. We use an old fashioned recipe, so instead of it taking 15 min to cook down to gel, it took closer to 30 minutes.
I’ve recently made my first two jams….no pectin strawberry and a peach jam with uber pectin!! Blech, I can do without super pectin. I had several nicely ripe/partly green peaches and I should’ve trusted my gut not to dump that whole box of pectin in. Next time, next time I tell ya!
I always loved the idea of making jam as a kid, but my family always thought it was crazy to contemplate. Cut to joining an organic food buying club and haivng all sorts of fruit and veg and learning to love berries! Small batch jam making?? Refrigerator/Freezer Jam? Jam in the microwave??? All do-able thatnks to tips I picked up via Food In Jars and the miracle of the interwebs. Now.. just to learn to like jam….
I love to can! My husband uses the word “obsession”–I tend to think of it as “thrifty” & “fun”. 🙂 My first jam making experience involved a thirty year old stove, strawberries from the garden, and a lot of taste-testing. Somehow my rapid boil turned into a violent overflow of strawberry goodness all over my stove (I may have been distracted by a shiny object). All in all, it turned out good & jammy once it made its way into jars. Now, I’ve evolved & learned, and can or freeze just about everything that comes out of my garden.
I recently made strawberry jam for the first time. I packed everything up and went to my local cannery. It was a great experience and I made some great new friends, but I would like to find a recipe that uses less sugar for the next time. Would love to win this machine.
Thanks for the opportunity.
Karen from Karen’s Kozy Kitchen
Please note: my blog site is not completely ready yet, but is far enough along to be bookmarked.
I haven’t made many jams but have spent hours over a number of stoves trying to re-create the amazing home made orange marmalade I gorged on in Australia. Hoping to have enough strawberries left from the garden this year to make jam but the baskets keep emptying every time on of my children walk by.
I haven’t actually canned anything myself, but I like to “help” my sister with her canning. Her efforts are much appreciated!
I grew up helping my dear sweet Aunt Ruth make her home made jams made from the fruits she grew in her garden. She has been the main inspiration for our family cookbook that now is our web site www. AdditionsToOurTable.com
In my family cookbook I wrote this about her: Titled Wax on Jam.
Aunt Ruth was always making jelly and jam.
I still remember the cabinet downstairs where she stored her glistening gems.
Oh, how good they were ! Sunlight shining through the wax topped vibrance looked like sparkling Christmas lights. I still can’t throw out a jar, no matter how small.
‘Could use it for a little jam.’
I would LOVE to win your bread machine…thanks for offering this contest! ~ Kim