Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My First Lesson in Home-Made Jam

Every five weeks, Lovely Daughter #1 has an exam on the system her med-school class has been studying: renal, circulatory, respiratory  whatever. She studies like a madwoman possessed, takes the test, and then gets a blessed few days off before the mania ratchets up again.

This past weekend was her "down" time off, and she kindly showed me how to make jam. We decided to make fig jam.

One thing I learned about jam- and jelly-making, it's gotta be precise. Unlike baking or cooking, there's no monkeying around with ingredients or amounts. Mess with the recipe, and you could end up creating a yummy supply of botulism.

That, and jam-making requires a lot of very big pots:

And lots and lots of boiling water.

And everything--except your hands, maybe--gets plunged in said boiling water.

I wanted to learn how to do this, but I didn't want fortybajillion jars of jam at the end. So we started with a quart of cut-up, ripe figs.

We added some sugar and water...

And brought the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly:

The stirring spoon looked seductively lick-able almost immediately:

After a fair amount of bubbling and stirring, LD#1 put a small amount of the mixture on a plate straight out of the freezer (to cool the jam down fast). She tested it for done-ness by drawing her finger through the puddle. This isn't quite done yet--too thin and runny, still:

More stirring ensued:

At last! That's done. I love how her nail polish is almost the same color as the jam:

Then a little bit of lemon juice is stirred in to the mixture...

 Aaand, yet more stirring:

Then, using special gripper tongs, she lifted the glass jelly jars out of a wickedly hot bath of water:

With a special wide-mouth funnel, she ladled in the very hot jam:

She was aiming for filling each jar about 1/4" short of the top:

Using a nifty magnetized tool, she lifted the lids and rings out of the same scalding pot of water and plopped them in place:

Then she closed the jars and set them very carefully in yet another hot pot of water that's fitted with a rack. The submerged jars simmered for 15 minutes, then she carefully lifted them out:

And now they are sitting in an undisturbed corner of my kitchen, where they'll rest for 24 hours without being touched before they can be opened and enjoyed.

With just fruit, sugar, and a little lemon juice, we created four gorgeous jars of jam, in glowing shades of mahogany, ruby, and wine. I can't wait to try the results!

1 comment:

  1. Don't you LOVE preserving? It just seems so dang domestic and accomplished! Yours look fab! Wish we had fresh figs by the bushel....



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