Monday, September 19, 2016

Canning "Sunshine"!

For the past few weeks I have been slaving away in a hot kitchen for hours at a time to make jam for my family and friends.  (If you are a friend, you will most likely get a jar for Christmas!)  I have done several different fruits which include: red plum, peach, apricot/pineapple, green plum, and strawberry.  I will be making blueberry, apple, nectarine, and orange in the near future.  I tell you what, my feet and back are killing me!  I know it's worth it though cuz my family loves the homemade jams, and my baby won't even touch the store bought stuff!

Out of all the jams I have made over the years, only one type has given me pause.  I almost missed the joy of the jam because of the way it looked.  I often joke about "canning baby poop" when I do make this jam.  The first year I made it, I did all the prep work then just stared at the fruit puree.  It smelled AMAZINGLY sweet, but, well, like baby poop.  I literally stared at the stuff for about an hour often telling my sister that I just couldn't do it!  BUT, I "sucked it up" and decided to make it into jam anyway.  I was just going to do one batch of jam, but after tasting it, I ended up making three!  My sister and I joked about making "sunshine jam" cuz after all, that is what it looked like.

Step 1: wash well

This jam comes from an incredibly rare plum that comes all the way from England.  It is a tiny green plum that doesn't get much bigger than a golf ball.  It is green even when ripe, so if you don't taste or give it a tiny squeeze, you might just have all your fruit fall on the ground and miss out.  This plum is call a Green Gage Plum and has sort of a honey, sweet taste.

Without any further ado, here is how you make said "Sunshine Jam".  Let me know what you think....

Green Gage Plum Jam
6 cups fruit puree
2 TB lemon juice
4 TB low sugar pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
(This recipe will make Pints: 4 - 4 1/2 OR 1/2 pints: 8 - 9)

Preparation:  Place your jars and lid & rings into pans to boil.  This sanitizes your jars and makes everything seal better.  BE CAREFUL AS YOU WILL BE WORKING WITH HOT STUFF THROUGH THIS ENTIRE PROCESS!!  YOU DON'T WANT TO GET BURNED!

Step 1:  After picking your fruit off the tree, you will need to wash well in water.

Step 2: remove pits
Step 2:  Slice the plums in half and take the pit out.  This is tricky cuz the pit likes to stick.  I used a strawberry stemmer to remove the pits.  This is also a very tedious job cuz the little buggers are soooo small!  Don't give up though....the work is worth it!!

Step 3: simmer til mushy
Step 3:  Put the plums in a pan and add some water to the pan.  Only add about 1/4 of the pan of water, just enough to get the plums to simmer.  As the plums simmer, they will turn from a green color to a yellow-green color.  Simmer the plums til they are super mushy.

Step 4: run through Victorio
Step 4:  Put plums through the Victorio Strainer.  This will take the peelings off.  (I did try to blend the peelings last year cuz that is what I do with my apricots and red plums.  HOWEVER the Green Gage plum has a tougher skin and WILL NOT blend.  It will just make it look like chunky poop.)

Step 5:  Measure 6 cups of fruit puree into a large pot.  Add 2 TB lemon juice to puree to keep it from turning brown and to help it "set up" properly.
Step 5: measure 6 cups
Step 5: put in large pot

Step 6:  Measure 4 1/2 cups sugar into a large bowl.  Take out 1/4 cup of the sugar and put into a smaller bowl.  Mix in 4 TB low sugar pectin into smaller bowl of sugar.
Step 6: measure sugar & pectin
Steps 7&8: stir in pectin bring to a boil

Step 7:  Mix small bowl of pectin/sugar into the fruit puree.

Step 8:  Cook on HIGH and bring to a boil that can't be stirred down.

Step 9: add remaining sugar
bring back to boil BOIL 1 MINUTE
Step 9:  Add remaining sugar and stir well.  Stirring constantly, bring back to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  DO NOT BOIL FOR LONGER THAN 1 MINUTE!!  Turn off heat.

Step 10: put in jars
Step 10:   Pour into prepared jars using a plastic funnel and a measuring cup (I use a 1 cup measurer) (I use 1/2 pint jars for this jam, but I use pint jars for all the other types I make.  It all depends on how fast you go through your jams and how well you like this type of jam).  Be sure to use a plastic funnel, cuz things are HOT and metal transfers heat REALLY well.  Fill jars about 1/4 inches up the "neck" of the jar.

Step 11: clean off "lip" of jar
Step 11:  When jars are full, carefully wipe off "lip" or "edge" of the jar.  This insures a clean surface so the lid can seal properly.

Step 12:   Using a set of tongs, put heated lids and rings onto jars.  Using the "ommer" (aka, the bottle gripper"), tighten down the lids.
Step 12: put on lids & rings
use the "ommer" to tighten rings

Step 13:  Place jars into a black canning kettle and cover bottles with hot water.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat just enough to keep the water boiling.  Boil jars for 10 minutes.

Step 14:  When jars are finished boiling, turn off heat and remove jars using a jar lifter from the water bath onto a clean towel.  You will want to put the towel in a place close to the kettle, but not too close to a place that the jars will get bumped.  Leave the jars alone at least overnight so you don't risk messing up the sealing process.  My favorite thing to do is listen to the lids "pop" as they seal.  We call this "happy sounds"!

Step 15:  The next day, check to make sure all your jars sealed.  To do this, press down lightly on the top of the lid.  If it makes a popping sound, it didn't seal properly.  You will want to eat that jar first.  If there is no popping sound, the jar is sealed and you can REMOVE the ring, WASH the jar to get any stickiness off, LABEL the jar with what is in the jar, and STORE it on your shelf.

Now, sit back and relax........JUST KIDDING!!  After all, you are probably a busy mamma just like me that not only made jam, but you also washed two loads of laundry, made bread, washed the dishes and helped children with homework.  What can I say, life if GREAT at my house!  I hope you all enjoy this jam as much as my family does.  Peach and Strawberry are still our favorites, but this is  a close second.

No comments:

Post a Comment