Making jam and canning are traditions for many North American households, but for me it was a completely new discovery thanks to a class I took with Chef Heidi Fink. In Heidi’s ‘Bountiful Berries’ class I was not only introduced to the magic of turning fresh, local berries into jam, but I also tried my very first tayberries in this delicious recipe for raspberry-tayberry jam. I don’t want to assume that everyone knows how to make jam, so I have included a bit of details on utensils and procedure for those, like me, who have never attempted to make jam before. If you’re a pro at canning please disregard these instructions, as I’m sure you have your own magic procedure to make wonderful jam. Without further ado, I present you with my first attempt to make Chef Heidi Fink’s raspberry-tayberry jam, enjoy!
2 cups of raspberries, rinsed
2 cups of tayberries, rinsed
3 cups of sugar
4 250 ml jam jars, washed with hot soapy water and placed in a 250 degree oven for at least 1 hour to sterilize -leave them in the oven at that temperature until ready to use
4 sets of lids and screw bands, placed in boiling water and kept in hot water until ready to use
1 medium to large pot to cook the jam in, and a wooden spoon -ideally only used to make jam
1 canning funnel, canning tongs and a ladle
1 extra-large pot, with a round cooling rack placed on the bottom, and filled with boiling water, ready for the filled jam jars to go in -this pot should be big enough to allow the jam jars to be covered with the boiling water about 2 inches above the lid or more
Put a small plate in the freezer. Place the berries in a large pot, crush them a little bit to release some of the juices, add the sugar and mix with the wooden spoon to combine. Place on the stove at very low heat, and cook, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved increase the heat to high and continue to cook, stirring often, until the jam is bubbling, then lower the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes. Take the plate out of the freezer, spoon a little bit on the jam onto the plate and let cool a bit, then try to slowly run your finger through the jam. If you can see slight wrinkles forming on the surface of the jam on the plate when you run your finger through, it means the jam is ready; if your finger goes through easily and the jam is not offering any kind of ‘resistance’, the jam is not ready, so put the plate back in the freezer, let the jam cook for another 2 minutes and repeat the consistency test (the original recipe calls for no more than 7 minutes since it’s not a good idea to overcook jam). Once the jam is ready, take the jars out of the oven with tongs, place them over a clean, dry towel on a flat surface, and use the ladle and canning funnel to fill each one until all of the mix is canned (jars can be filled up to about 2 mm from their border). Use a clean, moist towel to gently wipe the tops of the jars to make sure they are clean. Use tongs to retrieve the lids and screw bands out of the hot water, cover each jar with a lid and then close with the screw band (no need to close super tight). Take the canning tongs and place each jar into the extra-large pot with boiling water, making sure they’re upright and preferably not touching each other. Cover the pot and let boil for 10 minutes, then take the jars out with the canning tongs and place on a clean, dry towel on a flat surface away from cold drafts and let rest for 24 hours. You should hear the lids pop shortly after you take them out of the boiling water, which indicates that the canning process was a success and your jam is sealed properly. Also, if you press the lids after the jam is cooled, they should not give or make any noise. If you get a jar that was not sealed properly, simply put in the fridge once cooled and consume first.
This process will take you from this: