by Jaimie Jusczyk, Co-op Marketing Specialist
The Co-op is a great resource for low-cost and free wellness and food education classes. Last night the Co-op hosted a small group for a hands-on class “Home Canning & Preserving Your Harvest: The Basics of Preserving Food Safely” with Alice Mullen, MS, RD, LD, UNH Cooperative Extension Specialist.
Alice gave us a great introduction explaining the importance of following USDA tested recipes for safety and also great taste! So once we all understood the process and chemistry to creating blueberry jam we got to roll-up our sleeves, wash our hands and start cooking!
Alice had picked for us some delicious wild blueberries near Newfound Lake. So the first step was to mash them up. This was really easy, we just used a potato masher in a big pot and did it in small batches.
Then we stirred in the sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice before placing the pot on the stove top on a medium heat. We took a few turns stirring continuously to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn until it started to boil and expand.
Once it had boiled for one minute we added the pectin to speed the process along. You can make jam without pectin but you will need to boil it a lot longer. Once the mixture came back to a boil it was another minute then off the stove and start to place it in the jars we had prepared.
To prepare the jars we boiled them in the canning pot and placed the new lids in a pot of warm water to help soften the rubber gasket so they will seal completely.
Then the fun part begins, scooping our jam into the jars! Alice explained to leave a 1/4 inch head space for the best results and to also wipe clean the top of the jar before placing the lids down to create a tight seal.
To create the seal the jars go back into the canning pot with at least an inch of water covering the top, brought back to the boil and then wait five minutes. Once it has boiled for five minutes Alice suggested we wait another five minutes to let the water and the jam in the jars settle as they cool then take them out of the pot.
We carefully removed the jars and placed them on a terry towel to cool down. As we finished up we could hear the seals “popping” and we knew we had a successful class! Making jam is easy and rewarding! We all got to take a jar or two home with us to enjoy. I can’t wait to get some fresh local bread and open my jar!
The recipe we used:
- 4-1/2 cups mashed berries (buy or pick about 6 cups blueberries)
Bring to full rolling boil on high heat; cook 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in liquid pectin. Stir and skim foam for 5 min. to prevent fruit from floating to surface.
To read more about classes at Concord Food Co-op or to register, click here!