Hot Jam!

A few years ago, I made strawberry (and orange, and banana) jam the wrong way. We were in Seoul, and while the berries were awesome, the world of home canning wasn’t known to me there. I didn’t have any of the cool tools. We did have a huge pot to use as a canner. We reused our spaghetti sauce jars.

Today, I did it the right way!

Thanks to Katy’s bridal shower gift of a canning kit (yes, it was on my registry), and my trip to Sprouts and Target the other day, I was able to get the job done easily.

I opted for the pectin-free recipe with just two ingredients: Strawberries and sugar.

8-10 cups cut strawberries, 6 cups white sugar.

jam1

In a large, heavy bottom pot bring strawberries and sugar to a rapid boil. Stir occasionally.

jam2

You’ll want to have your jars in a hot water bath to sanitize (boil the jars, lids, and rings in water).

To test if the jam is ready, dip a cold spoon (let it sit in the freezer for a while) into the jam. If it drips pretty fast, it’s not ready. If it sorta oozes off the spoon, it’s ready.

Once the jam is ready, ladle it into your prepped jars (which should now be out of the water). The canning kit is awesome for this… it comes with a funnel, a pair of jar tongs, a magnet to get the metal lids and rings, and a jar tightener. The funnel is great to keep the jars clean. Fill the jars up to about an inch from the top. Wipe off any jam that spilled onto the lip of the jars. Place the lid (the flat metal thing) on, then loosely screw on the ring.

Set the filled jars back into the hot water bath to set the seal and extract all the air from within the jar. I had them in there for about 5-10 minutes.

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When I removed the jars, they seals popped (a fun sound indicating a good, strong seal) and I tightened the rings with the tightener. And I’m letting the jars cool before refrigerating.

jam3These should last a good while unopened. Since there are no preservatives, once the jar is opened, it should be used within a week or two.

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We Be Jammin’

As a follow-up to my post from last week on turning my Jeju oranges into jam, I would like to offer up this short blog about another jam recipe I found on WikiHow. It has been a yummy alternative to banana bread when you spread it over warm toast. The recipe doesn’t mention the shelf life, so I would suggest not letting it go too long. Bananas are fickle and while semi preserved in the cup of sugar melted down at the beginning, the bananas themselves may not last very long. But, if you find it as delicious as we did, it really wont last very long.

Orange in the Back, 'Nanners in the Front
Toast with Orange Jam (back) and with Banana Jam (front)

Orange You Glad?

It’s the Lunar New Year, or 설날 in Korean, and my company gifted everyone with a 3 kilogram box of oranges (hallabongs) from Jeju island. These are special oranges that taste amazing.

Hallabong from Jeju

The only problem with receiving such a gift, is that there only two people in my household and 3 kg of oranges is A LOT. Actually it was ten oranges, but we couldn’t eat nearly that many. So, I sought out recipes. I usually begin my searches on AllRecipes or JoyOfBaking, but they didn’t give me any solid leads aside from orange smoothies, orange marmalade, and orange chicken (more on these later). So I went to my backup, YouTube.

I found an awesome poster who submitted this great recipe. I didn’t have a cake pan, so I improvised and the result was one and a half dozen cupcakes (we still have 6 left) and they are SUPER tasty. I especially loved how I made the entire batter in my food processor. A fantastic WIN.

But, what to do with the rest? Over the last week, we ate all but four oranges and with those oranges… jam. Last year, I made strawberry jam with just the berries and sugar. Today, I simply substituted the strawberries with oranges. It was actually quite simple.

Not wanting to waste any part of my orange, I used my box cheese grater to get the zest of all the oranges, which I then set to dry in my oven at about 100C (just over 200F). I can use the dried zest later in a variety of recipes.

I sliced up the oranges (with a bit of their peel still on) and mixed them with the sugar over medium-low heat for nearly an hour, until the orange/sugar mixture reduced. The end result was just about 600 grams of orange jam.

Jam is nice to make because you don’t need preservatives (like pectin which is something I am not even going to attempt to look for in Korea), and if you’re canning, all you need is a hot water bath (ie place your jam-filled jar in boiling water, let the water return to a boil, then remove) this site is lovely. Jason and I also have a few books on the topic, purchased happily from Amazon.  

This jar in the picture is actually 400 grams worth, so the rest is sitting in a plastic container. I plan on making this tomorrow night for dinner and will use the jam in place of marmalade since the jam was made with some of the orange peel. I will let you know how it turned out.