I love picking berries in the summer with my boys. It is one of my favorite memories I have from my own childhood and I hope they will remember it as well. My sister, mother and I would spend a day picking strawberries and raspberries and then our mom would spend days making them into amazing jams. It was a serious ordeal that involved boiling jars, pectin, paraffin and lots of time. It was therapeutic and a labor of love for her, maybe someday I’ll give real jam making a try, but for now I think I’ll stick with the cliff notes version.
I wanted to share the experience with my son, without all the steps. I found a few recipes online that allowed me to have the best of both worlds. The jam won’t last as long as the traditional version, but for our purposes it was perfect. Granny was even pleased with the results!
This is great if you have some extra fruit that you don’t want to go to waste- it’s another mix and match activity so there is really no wrong way to pick a flavor. We’ve made strawberry/peach, strawberry/raspberry and peach/vanilla.
There are quite a few versions online but here is the combination that worked the best for us.
- 3-5 cups of fruit
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup sugar (many recipes call for 1.5 cups but I found that to be way too sweet- 1 cup can even be a bit much depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
- 1 vanilla bean or vanilla paste for the peach vanilla recipe
Add the fruit to a pot (I used a 4 quart saucepan) and mash. You could use a potato masher, wooden spoon, or fork anything to mash up the fruit and release the juices.
Pour the lemon juice into a ziptop bag and add the cornstarch. Seal and shake the bag until the cornstarch has dissolved. Pour the mixture into the pot with the fruit.
Add the sugar and stir all ingredients together.
Turn the stove top to medium-high and bring mixture to a ROLLING boil. Allow the jam to boil for 20-25 minutes, stirring often. Mixture should thickly coat the back of a spoon. (Peach jam won’t coat a spoon, use the time as your guide, it will thicken as it cools)
Remove from heat and allow to cool before dividing the jam into jars. Store in the refrigerator.
I use the small jars from Ball to make sure I’m not giving people too much to use in a short time frame. The jam is great for PB&J, topping on pancakes and even ice cream. The Vanilla Bean paste was amazing and saved some money- can’t wait to see how else I can use it.
Let me know what recipes you’ve tried and what was your favorite.
For The Win,