Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Preserving Jams & Jellies

Follow These Steps in Making Jam or Jelly at Home:

  1. Wash and sterilize mason canning jars (either 1/2 pint, or pint) in dishwasher. You want to make sure the jars will be hot until ready to use. If you don't have a dishwasher, boil jars for 10 minutes.
  2. Put lids in simmering water for 2 minutes to soften the seal.
  3. Prepare jam or jelly according to recipe directions. Boil for the recommended time in the recipe and then quickly skim off foam (if needed or desired).
  4. Remove presterilized jars from the dishwasher one at a time. Fill quickly with the hot jelly or jam mixture, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the sealing surface of the jars with a clean paper towel, dampened with hot water, to remove any jelly, jam or sugar crystals. Put lid and ring on jar (finger tight only). Work quickly to insure that the filled jars stay as hot as possible until all are filled and ready to load into the canner for processing. However, remember the jam or jelly mixture is very hot and take precautions not to burn yourself!
  5. Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner one at a time, using a jar lifter. Keep the jar upright at all times. Tilting the jar could cause the hot jelly or jam mixture to spill into the sealing area of the lid, which should remain clean and undisturbed. The water in the canner can be close to boiling when the jars are added, if you have made sure the filled product has remained very hot until the canner load is ready.
  6. Turn the heat under the canner to its highest setting, cover the canner with its lid and heat until the water boils vigorously. Process the jars for 10 minutes (altitude 1000-3000 ft) 15 minutes (altitude 3001-6000 ft) or 20 minutes (altitude 6001-8000 ft) after the water boils. The water level in the canner should be 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars. The water in the canner must remain boiling during the entire time, so keep the heat source on high and a tight lid on the canner.
  7. When the jars have been processed in boiling water for the recommended time, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner; use a jar lifter and keep jars upright. Carefully place them directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Avoid placing the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft.
  8. Cool jars upright for 12-24 hours while vacuum seal is drawn and jam or jelly sets up. Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.
  9. Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
  10. Wash jars and lids to remove all residues. Label and store in a cool, dry place out of direct light.
  11. -Some information taken from National Center for Food Preservation

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