What could be more fun than getting together with a large group of amazing women on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to face your fears? Jamming can be pretty intimidating, with fears of botulism and all, so it helps to learn as a group with many different levels of experience and knowledge. Our 21 Acres team has everyone from, “What’s a jar lifter?” to “I’ve been making jam every summer with fresh-picked berries since I was 5!”
What started off as a one-two batch project, quickly turned into twenty pounds of fresh peaches, five flats of raspberries, two flats of golden raspberries, and finally one flat of marionberries. A big THANK YOU to Tualco Valley Produce, SAgE Student Farm, and Collins Family Orchards who grew the fruit and our Commander In Chief, Liesl McWhorter, who graciously organized this event and opened up her kitchen to us. These fearless women jumped right in, finding a fun place to station themselves and awaited their orders.
When we were all present and in place, we started by blanching peaches, washing berries, and sterilizing our jars, rings, and lids. Next we carefully measured out our batches of sugar and mashed berries. These mixtures were brought up to boil, the right amount of pectin was added, then brought back up to a boil that cannot be stirred down for one minute.
We then filled the jars with our jam, carefully placed the lids and hand tightened the rings. The final processing step was to place these jam-filled jars in the large pot of boiling water and let it boil for 10 minutes. The only thing left to do was to use the jar lifter to pull them out of the water and let rest on the counter for 24 hours. Oh, and of course, enjoy the jars that didn’t get filled all the way! We made several different flavors; peach & golden berry, raspberry, raspberry and marionberry, marionberry, and of course peach raspberry & golden berry! Our jams can store in the fridge and freezer. These are perfect gifts for friends and family, but also have been used to mix in with morning yogurt, flavor sun tea, as well as concocting some amazing rum and sparkling water cocktails.
Most of all, learning by getting your hands dirty (or sticky in this case) is the best way to get over the fear factor!
Photos Courtesy of Amanda Bullat
Post Written by Krystal Whitaker