Posts Tagged ‘preserving’

How To Make Jam: A Canning Tutorial

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Blood Orange Strawberry Jam

As our readers know, we spend a lot of time working with our awesome Kilner canning jars around here, but we haven’t posted a lot of canning recipes.  We figured it was time to change that.   Back in April we featured a post on how to make strawberry jam.  It was a basic recipe on how to make jam without pectin. This time, we took our awesome strawberry jam and made it even more delicious by adding juice from some delicious, seasonal, local produce: Southern California Blood Oranges!  The best thing about this recipe is that you can taste the blood oranges and the strawberries equally, and they go really well together.  So let’s get started. This post will teach you how to make your own jam in just a few easy steps.

Sanitizing jam jars

First, let’s start with the basics: How to sterilize canning jars.  No matter which way you choose to sanitize canning jars, you start the same way: Giving them a wash with soap and water.  Inspect them, and hold any chipped, cracked or otherwise damaged jars to the side. Those jars are great for craft projects, but lousy for canning. Next you either boil the Kilner jars, lids and bands in a big pot of boiling water (lined with a towel or a canning jar rack to keep the jars from chipping) or run them through your dishwasher on a sanitize cycle.  You just need to make sure that you time your cycle so that you’re pulling the jars out and filling them when they’re still hot.  I’m lucky to have a really nice sanitize cycle on my dishwasher that actually counts down the minutes, so I can have everything ready at just the right moment.

Strawberry Jam Ingredients

While the Jars are sanitizing, it’s time to make your jam.  We were making this jam for the IHA Show 2014 in Chicago (come visit us at Booth 1667 in the South building!) so we made a TON of jam. Think 35lbs worth of strawberries worth. The ingredients you see above would make a pint or two at most.  For the jam, you’ll need:

how to make jam- step by step

  • 2 10-0z packages of frozen, sliced, unsweetened strawberries OR 20 oz fresh strawberries, trimmed and sliced.
  • 1 3/4 oz powdered fruit pectin – 2 oz if you’re using frozen strawberries
  • zest of 2  blood oranges
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice*
  • 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar

* Once I zested my blood oranges, I put them through a juicer, pith and all. It made for a slightly  bitter juice, but in the end, the flavor is balanced by the sweet strawberries and sugar whether you hand squeeze the oranges or juice them in a machine.

To make the jam, get out a big pot or a jam pan. Make sure it’s a non-reactive pan to get the most beautiful jam possible. Add the strawberries, the blood orange juice and zest, and the pectin to the pot. Heat, stirring constantly with a large spoon or spatula until the pectin is dissolved. Once everything is dissolved, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Strawberries, orange juice, orange zest, pectin

After the jam has boiled for a few moments, add the sugar, and allow the mixture to come back to a boil. Continue to stir it constantly. It is very important not to add the sugar until the pectin is dissolved or you’ll end up with a delicious jam that won’t thicken. Frustrating, yes? This is one of the most important things my mother taught me when I was first learning how to do canning at home, and when I mix up my order, things go truly wrong. Once the jam mixture has come to a boil, it’ll begin to foam. Skim off the foam with a very fine mesh strainer or even a slotted spoon. It’ll ruin the texture of the jam.  At this point, let it boil around 5 minutes more, skimming as needed and you’re ready to can. At this point, bring another large pot of water to a boil.

how to make homemade jam

At this point, you’re going to need:

  • Sanitized jars, lids and rings
  • Jam tongs (hold these in boiling water a few minutes to sanitize)
  • A funnel that fits your jars (this should also be sanitized along with the jars)
  • Some sort of big spoon or ladle
  • A rag or paper towel to wipe your jar mouths

Pull your jars out of the dishwasher or pot of boiling water and make sure they’re completely empty.  Use funnel to pour hot jam into hot, sanitized Kilner jars neatly, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom for each jar.  Wipe the mouths of the jars clean (the most important thing to remember when we talk about how to seal a canning jar) and place the seals squarely on each jar.  Screw on each band until just tight, then unscrew each one a quarter turn.  Once all the jars are closed, it’s time to process the jars.  Boiling jars for canning not only helps the jars seal but it’s a good way to help making canned food last a long time.

how to prepare canning jars    photo 8

Remember that pot of water you brought to a boil? Time to use it.  Now that the jars are full and closed, it’s time to process those Kilner jars.  When I talk to people about canning, the most common questions I get are “how long do you boil jars for canning?” and “how long does canning food last?”  Time to answer the first of those questions: Once the jars are full, process them at a rolling boil for 5 minutes.  When I say process, I mean put the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch (I prefer 2) and let boil.

how canning works

If your canning goes anything like mine, as you add the jars to the water, the boiling will stop (see above, and pardon the jam-spattered cooktop.)  Don’t start timing the 5 minutes until the water is back at a rolling boil.    The jam may appear to loosen up a little and become more liquid, but don’t worry, it’ll set up as it cools.  After 5 minutes at a rolling boil, remove your delicious homemade strawberry jam with blood orange from the pot (use your tongs, these jars are hot!) and set on a heat-proof surface.  I just put a towel down on my butcher block and lay the jars out on that.

You’ll hear little pings and pops as the jars seal. That’s a good thing.  Let the jars cool overnight, then test the seal of each jar by pushing the center of the lid. If there’s any give to it, it hasn’t processed correctly, and your jar isn’t sealed. I got lucky in that all of my jars sealed. If they don’t seal, don’t worry, all is not lost. You cannot reuse canning lids (I’ve had a lot of people come to our booth at shows asking “can you  reuse canning lids?”) but you can get a spare pack of lids and re-seal your jars. Just wipe the mouths of the jars really clean, and process in boiling water for a little longer this time. Try about 8 minutes and it should do the trick. Once the jars hold a seal, you’re good. The jam should last 6 months at room temperature!

how to make orange jam

I hope that our little tutorial has you inspired to break out some Kilner jars and start canning. It may seem daunting at first, but it’s a really wonderful way to preserve awesome flavors at the height of the season!  Check out our little canning movie on Instagram! If you want to know more about canning with Kilner jars, come visit us at IHA in Chicago in just a couple of weeks. We’re in the South Building at booth 1667 and we’re happy to tell you all about Kilner jars, canning, and, if you’re lucky, let you try some of this totally delicious jam.




An easy guide to canning with Kilner by Pacific Merchants!

Monday, April 15th, 2013

With summer coming, it’s time to figure out the best way to preserve all the great seasonal fruits and vegetables long after school starts back up and the days get shorter. Our suggestion? Canning. It’s a great way to preserve food, it saves money in the long run, and it’s actually fun to do. There are tons of awesome books on canning out there, but here’s a list of necessities to get you started. Plus, we’ve thrown in an awesome recipe that’s awesome as part of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. And with an awesome line of beautiful, high end canning goods coming our way, we can’t wait to get started canning with Kilner!

The most important thing in canning (aside from the food) is the container. I highly suggest these half-liter Kilner by Pacific Merchant jars with screw tops. They’re sturdy, pretty, and really easy to use. I go through about a dozen half liter jars every summer canning my jam and tomato sauce for the rest of the year, so plan accordingly. You’re probably better off having a few too many jars than too few. You’re going to need to sanitize your jars and lids thoroughly before using them. There are a couple of methods. You can do it in the dishwasher (just time a REALLY hot cycle to finish exactly when you’re ready for the jars) or you can do it in boiling water. I suggest the water method since you can just keep the jars in there on the back burner until you’re ready for them. Just make sure to have a set of jam tongs handy to pull the jars out of the boiling water.


When you’re canning food you’ll find that a lot of canning recipes are pretty high acid, whether the acid comes from brine or the fruits and vegetables themselves. Because of this, it’s important to have a non-reactive pot to cook your food in. You don’t want to ruin the pot or create weird flavors in your food.

Other canning essentials include a funnel to fill the jars (I’d suggest a wide mouthed funnel. It makes life SO much easier,) a good non-reactive long necked spoon, a ladle, labels so you don’t go end up spreading tomato sauce on your peanut butter and jelly instead of strawberry jam, and a thermometer.
As you get into preserving and get more creative, you’ll want things like infusing bags, a strainer, funnel adapters for different sized jars, fancy jar covers, and way more seals (the jars are re-usable, the seals are not).

Now that you know what you’ll need to preserve all the great flavors of spring and summer, we’ll leave you with this awesome strawberry jam recipe. It’s simple, easy, and absolutely delicious. Keep checking back for more great canning recipes all summer long.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon juiced
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 24 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

Put a freezer safe plate in the freezer
Combine the sugar, lemon juice orange zest in a non-reactive pot and cook over very low heat for 8-10 minutes minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 25 minutes, until the strawberry juice mixes with the sugar and the mixture boils slowly.
Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on the frozen plate.
Pour car

efully into 2 canning jars and either seal according to instructions below or keep refrigerated.

  • To sterilize jars, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
  • Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water. Before using tongs, sterilize them by dipping their ends in boiling water.
  • Put the jam into the jars after it has cooled for 5 minutes but while it is still hot, leaving about a centimeter between the lid and the top of the jam. Seal immediately.

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