On Saturday, my friend Ari organized a jam session: She invited a few friends over to her home and taught everyone how to make homemade marmalade and jam.
It was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon – chatting over peeling clementines, stirring bubbling pots, and nibbling on the fruits of our labor spread on baguette and brie.
I had made brandied peaches before, but never marmalade or jam. It was surprisingly easy, given the right tools: Some 3-piece Mason jars, a canning funnel, a few cheesecloth bags, and a jar lifter.
Of course, there are also some important safety precautions to abide by, namely:
1. Clean all equipment and jars (except for the rubber banded lids) in the dishwasher prior to use (wash lids by hand in warm soapy water).
2. Maintain a consistent PH level of under 4.6 (to do so, see tip below).
3. Follow precisely (e.g. don’t adjust sugar levels – this will change the PH level) only trusted recipes, such as those listed on the Ball jar website (currently I am salivating over their recipe for apricot preserves and strawberry lavender jam).
4. Leave about 1/4 inch of room at the top of the jar and spin bands on only finger tight, so as to allow the jar to properly seal. Don’t adjust bands after boiling, but do check to make sure that the center of lids have flattened down to be completely concave.
5. Don’t consume any jam that smells or looks questionable or is from a jar with a popped lid.
For more information, consult the USDA Guide to Home Canning.
I am beginning to think it would be a great idea to cook like this more often – get a bunch of friends together and stir up a big batch of something that will last a long while.
Or, maybe attempt a time consuming and / or complicated recipe (layer cake, anyone…?).
The next morning, I slathered some ricotta cheese on a slice of Firebrand Breads’ olive rosemary fougasse, and drizzled our lemon ginger marmalade on top. It was a perfect way to start a Sunday.
How about you? What are you cooking up these days? And would you organize a jam session?
P.S. DIY Coconut Pecan Granola and Peaches and Mozzarella.
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