Does making jam or preserves conjure up long sessions at the stove with an even longer canning or freezing session to follow ? If so, it does not always have to be that way.
For example I made a small batch of jam on the weekend in no time at all.
Yes it makes sense to go strawberry or blueberry picking and to spend a day or the entire weekend canning or freezing jams, preserves, or jelly from the fruit of your labors. It saves money and the end result is far better tasting than any commercial product that you will find on the store shelves.
But it does not have to be all or nothing. On the weekend, I had four very ripe peaches and half of a small bag of cherries that I either needed to eat that very day or make a small batch of jam with, lest that fruit go to waste. I was pretty sure that these would equal 3 cups of cut-up fruit and that is all that I needed for a small batch. ( plus 2 cups sugar and one lemon )
What is nice about small batches is that 1) no need to can or freeze; just store it in the fridge and you’ll use it up quickly 2) the project can be broken up into small increments of time because the cut up fruit + sugar can sit in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours or more until you are ready to cook the jam.
Peach & Cherry Jam :
- Pit and cut up cherries to equal 1 cup.
- Place 4-5 large peaches in boiling water for a few minutes until the skins come loose. Drain and cool.
- Peel skins, cut up peaches and toss the 3 cups of fruit with 2 cups sugar and put that into the fridge in a covered container.
- Place the fruit mixture into a pot, & start the heat underneath to bring to a boil.
- Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze all of the juice into the pot.
- Stir your mixture as it boils.
- After about 5 minutes, scoop out half of the fruit to blend in a blender. I like to have some whole fruit chunks in the jam and this is why I only blend half. This is a matter of taste & preference. Return to the pot and stir.
Since this was a small batch it only needed to cook about 15 minutes or so…and while it is very hard to show a sheet test with only one person and no kitchen assistant, with steam rising like crazy and a phone, I think that I caught it though the picture is of poor quality. The sheet test is how you know that your jam is done. The jam becomes thick and syrupy, and rather than drops quickly dripping off of a spoon, the drops run together into globules.
In the end, I had one full canning jar of jam and one plastic container to send home with someone. The next morning’s taste test of jam on rye toast was a success. It turned out great!
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