Due to a recent sale on raspberries I organized and hosted an informal jam making party. It was definitely a success and I highly recommend you consider planning one too. We finished in the same amount of time that it always takes me to make jam but we put up 3 times as much and had so much more fun. And to finish the fun we ate the last jar which wasn’t full enough to process, with cheese and crackers. Delicious.
It’s quite a simple idea that I saw in Ashley English’s book last summer. Being that I am pregnant but love to can I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get a little help and have fun with my friends. All you really need is willing participants and a box of Sure Jell (okay well maybe a few more things than that). If you have never canned a thing in your life then Sure Jell should definitely be your first forage into canning. Jams are so forgiving and Sure Jell takes most of the guess work out of the process. The Sure Jell pamphlet inside the box will give you instructions and quantities of fruit needed. Really everything you need to know is right there. Just read it fully.
Next invite some friends over and provide them with a list of the things they will need to bring. Since supermarket sales often don’t last long, it’s a good idea to buy a bunch and freeze it until you can schedule a time to get together. Most fruit will freeze just fine and not affect the integrity of the final product one bit. I figured out how much fruit everyone should purchase then gave them a list of things to bring.
Here’s the list of ingredients that I sent out for our particular recipe:
4 pints raspberries
1 bag of sugar
1 box Sure Jell (yellow box)
9 half pint canning jars
9 new lids
9 screw bands, used okay
1 large bowl
1 6- 8 qt pot
I provided the straining equipment for the raspberries. That being my trusty Squeeze-O-Strainer. I also had two boiling water canners set up outside on our Camp Chef outdoor cookstove. This was so that our house didn’t heat up plus we needed the stove top burners for making the jam.
During the party make sure as the host you have read the directions and communicate them to the guests often. If you are new to jam making just make sure to take your time and don’t miss a step. This can be kind of hard because there is so much good conversation going on in the kitchen. No matter how many times I have made Sure Jell jam, as soon as I measure out the sugar I immediately want to dump it right in. But you can’t you have to wait, that’s so hard for me.
So go have fun and as a bonus if you have great friends like I do then they will help with the cleanup and let you put your swollen pregnant feet up.
Oh and remember jam recipes can’t be doubled so you will need to cook each in a separate pot. Why is this? Because there is chemistry going on in that pot and we don’t mess with chemistry. We just follow the chemistry rules. In fact that is a good motto for all canning. Don’t try to wing it, follow the rules. Maybe that’s why I love canning so much, it’s so structured.
Be adventurous, once you’ve made jam, try pickling, and once you’ve mastered pickling, try pressure canning. You could also spend time decorating the jars and preparing them for gifts too. All with friends what could be more fun.