Adventures in Jam Making
If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you may have noticed that I started making my own jam. Yes, my tiny little condo kitchen has been turned into a jam making factory. In the last month, I’ve churned out two batches of strawberry jam, two batches of strawberry/rhubarb jam and one batch of lemon/strawberry jelly. The canning addiction has hit me full force and we’ve barely scratched the surface of raspberry, blueberry, apple or peach season. I keep joking with Trevor that by the end of summer, he’ll be able to build himself a fort with all the jars.
One of the reasons I wanted to learn how to make my own jam was because I wanted to take advantage of all the wonderful, local produce in Southern Ontario. I don’t have a backyard (#condolife) so I’ve been regularly visiting the farmer’s market in and around Toronto. On the non-market days, I hit up the grocery stores to see what’s on sale and then replenish my jam making supplies – jars, lids and pectin, soooo much pectin. Fresh, local produce really makes the best jam and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to have too more fruit than not enough.
Another reason is that I really wanted to carry on the jam-making tradition that my Grandma started. She grew raspberries in her backyard and would regular purchase local blueberries and currants to make her own jam. Her basement pantry was always filled with colourful, jewel-like jars that seemed to last well into the winter and even the next year. Everyone in the family would have an open jar of “Grandma Jam” in their fridge and my brother, sister would trade it amongst ourselves like a precious commodity. We ate the last of her blueberry jam at the beginning of spring when I discovered a sneaky jar hiding in the back of our pantry and since then, making my own jam had always lingered in the back of my mind.
I’ve burnt myself more times that I can count, my arms ache from dragging crates of empty jars on the subway and once a hot foamy mixture of strawberry, pectin and sugar overflowed out of the pot and right down into my stove elements. But looking at all the jars I’ve filled and seeing people’s excitement when I give them a jar, I realize that I wouldn’t trade this feeling for anything.
The two main resources I’m using are Amy Bronee‘s book The Canning Kitchen and Marisa McClellan’s blog Food in Jars. Join me this summer as I document my jam-making journey here, on Instagram and on Snapchat!