Saturday, September 04, 2010

We be jammin'!

In case you were wondering why I've been MIA this week. I blame the peaches.

That's right: peaches.
Peaches from Morton's Orchards. I love their peaches. Love 'em!

And mangoes, raspberries, cranberries and other fruit.

I'm on a canning bender.

Partly it's because after eating several pounds of peaches fresh, you've just gotta do something else with them. Partly it's because my mom is coming out for the twins 3rd birthday party and I'd better, by gosh-gum-golly, have something nummy for her to take back to NY for Dawn and Canada for Cindy. Thus, I've determined that I must can like a mad woman to be "ready" in 3 more weeks. Ready to part with 3 or 4 or 5 different versions of peach jam and mango-raspberry jam and cherry jelly and so on and so forth. Also, my nephews love me more every time I give them fresh peach jam, so I must enslave lure them to me with new offerings.

I don't have pictures of all of the ones I've done so far, but here's a quick look at me canning mango-raspberry jam.

I love mangoes. Have I ever told you? I mean, I really love mangoes. If there's a dessert on the menu at a restaurant that has mangoes in it, changes are extremely good that I'm going to order it. Dicing mangoes can be a lot of fun, too. First, you slide your knife down on either side of the flat pit and lop off the pieces on either side. Then you slice through the flesh, but not the skin.

Once you've cut it horizontally, turn it 90 degrees and slice it again. Then invert the mango. Suddenly you have a mango porcupine! So cute! Now you just slice off the individual pieces and you're done. Repeat x4 to get 4 cups of diced mangoes.

You'll also want 1 1/2 cups raspberries. Fresh or frozen. I went with frozen, since I was able to get 40 ounces frozen for the same price as 24 oz fresh. Defrost, then mash and measure. Throw them in the pot with the mangoes, lemon juice and pectin and stir.
Keep stirring.

Are you tired of stirring yet? You're probably not done yet. Keep stirring.

Meanwhile, you should have had your lids and jars hot and ready. You did remember those, right?


You'd better still be stirring that pot!

I learned something new this year: in order to form a gel, the boiling jam needs to read 8 degrees (Fahrenheit) above the boiling point of water at your elevation. That's key. This whole imprecise blather about a "full rolling boil" doesn't mean a thing to me. I like scientific, repeatable measurements. Also, at our elevation, the boiling point is 204 F, instead of 212F, which means I actually need to get the jam to 212F and keep it there for the 1 minute the recipes always require. Thus the need for a good thermometer. Suddenly, I now know exactly what the gelling point is and what "sheeting" looks like on a cold metal spoon!

It was a jamming revelation.

At that point, you can finally stop stirring since it's time to take the jam off the heat and start pouring it into hot jars. On go the 2 piece tops and into the canner!

Now it has to process for 20 minutes (At my elevation, we add 10 more minutes to the standard processing time. The things you learn!) at a full rolling boil in the canner.

Et voilà! Jam!

It is a beautiful and tasty one, too.

Yup. Jam.

And yes, I really did mean for you to hear this song while you read the post.

What have you been up to this week?


alessa said...

The last time I did any 'Jammin' was last year when the cherry tree in the side yard had it's fruiting. I missed it this year. Damn crows!

Missy said...

I had to laugh because I had Bob Marley singing in my head before I got to the end of the post!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

What a great post! I am going to come back and read all tomorrow because it is almost 3 a.m. LOL!

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