Jams can be made from many types of fruits; it all depends on your preferences. When you get the hang of it, making jam can be quite easy. A lot of people even decided to make and sell homemade jams.
To make your own jam, you need to cut your fruit and mix it with sugar and leave it overnight so the fruit releases its juice. The next day, you cook the fruit and its juice until it reaches the thickening point. The jam you make needs to be stored in sterilized jars.
Many people decided to make their own jams, instead of buying them. Online, you can find many recipes for making your own jam. We bring you details on how jam is made, how should it be stored, and how long it can last.
How to make your own jam?
Marmalades and jams have common characteristics, that is, they are produced from fruit with the addition of sugar, pectin, and citric acid, and to make these fruit desserts, different types, quantities, and combinations of fruits and methods of preparation are used.
Jam differs from marmalade mainly in that it is made from only one type of fruit, meaning it is made from whole fruits or larger pieces of ripe fruit that must be seen in the jam. Marmalade is also obtained by cooking the fruit, but it must not have pieces of fruit. It must be completely smooth, which is why gelatin is often added, which also speeds up the preparation process.
Regulations distinguish between jam and extra jam. The difference between these two jams is in the proportion of fruit. Thus, the jam must contain at least 350 g of fruit in 1 kg of the finished product, while the extra jam must contain at least 450 g of fruit in 1 kg of the finished product.
Plums, cherries, apricots, and peaches are especially suitable for the production of jam, but quality jam can also be made from berries, such as strawberries and blueberries.
Fresh fruit must be of very good quality, well washed, and selected. Fruits intended for jam production must be fully ripe. Jam made from fresh fruit has better color and aroma, and its special advantage is that it does not contain any traces of preservatives.
Jam is a product of smaller pieces of fruit and sugar, cooked until it becomes thickened and prone to stretching. The jam is cooked to the thickening point. The thickening point is usually reached when the jam and fruit pieces fall off the spoon in thick pieces.
For the jam to last longer and for bacteria not to settle in it, or for mold to develop, it should be sterilized immediately before using the jar. You sterilize the jars by washing them thoroughly in hot water with detergent. Rinse and drain the jars and place them upside down in the oven at 140°C. After 15 minutes, the jars are ready for use.
Strawberry jam is one of the most popular flavors of jam, and it is easy to make it at home. You can make your jam using 1kg of strawberries, 0.5kg of sugar, vanilla pods, and lemons. But, most recipes recommend that the amount of sugar be twice less than the number of strawberries, but to some, that amount of sugar is too sweet, so you can use less than the recommended amount.
Start by washing the strawberries and dry them with a paper towel. Cut the strawberries into pieces, mix in a bowl with the sugar, cover and leave in the fridge overnight to let the strawberries release their juice.
Strain the strawberries by separating the juice they have released. Put the juice in the pot large enough so you can stir normally. Here, you can add vanilla. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds. Add the seeds and empty pods to the juice. Put the pot on the stove and cook it on medium heat, about 20 minutes from the moment it boils. You will feel when you stir it that it starts to thicken slightly.
Then remove the pot from the heat, remove the vanilla pods, and pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars. Put the lids on, close tightly, and turn the jars upside down to create a vacuum. Leave them in that position for at least 10 minutes or until the jam has cooled completely. After the jams have completely cooled down, you store them in your cupboards.
Is it cheaper to make your own jam?
First, you must analyze how much jam costs in stores and how much money you need to spend to make jam.
While making jam the biggest cost is buying fruit, if you’re buying it. Most people have gardens at home, and will usually use their own fruit. Some people will even take a stroll in nature and find blueberry or raspberry bushes. The price of fruit also depends on what type of fruit you’re using.
You need to buy sugar to sweeten your jam, pectin, and lemon juice. You will need the jars to store and preserve your jam and lids.
One kilogram of strawberries will cost you around $5. That amount of strawberries will make enough jam to fill up around 10 jars. If you divide $5 on those 10 jars, it means that you spent 40 cents of fruit per jar.
One kilogram of sugar costs around $1. The amount of sugar depends on the amount of fruit you’re using. For 1kg of fruit, you will need 0.5kg of sugar. That means that for 10 jars of jam you will spend 0.05 of sugar per one jar.
Jars also vary in price. Mason jars are the most expensive jars, but you can find retail jars and buy a pack of dozens of them for a price of around $10. Lids are included in this price. The price of one jar equals around 80 cents.
In total, even with some additional minor costs, the production of 1 jar of jam will cost you $1.25. On average, the price of strawberry jams varies from $3 to $6, depending on the manufacturer and size of the jar.
Is homemade jam better than store-bought?
When you make homemade jam, you make sure that you have the highest quality ingredients. In homemade jams, there are usually not many preservatives or any at all. You know what you put inside so there aren’t any suspicious ingredients that you might not want to eat.
The factor that makes homemade jam better than the store-bought is that the homemade jam is cheaper to make.
When you’re making jams, you’re allowed to experiment. You can make your own flavors and mix whatever you want in them. The only downside to making jam is – making it. To get quality flavored jam, you need to take time to properly make it. That is the reason why most people will buy jams because it is easier and doesn’t require too much hassle.
How long does homemade jam last?
Jam contains sugar, which acts as a preservative and keeps it from going bad. Unopened jars need to be stored in a dark and cool place. The jars need to be protected from heat and sunlight, so they don’t degrade. If the jam is exposed to heat and sunlight it will change its consistency, color, and flavor.
Once the jar of jam is opened, keep it in the fridge. Every time you take it out of the fridge, make sure you seal the jar tightly when putting it back.
Unopened jars of homemade jams can last at least a year. The jams will be perfectly fine for a few years if the jars are closed tightly, preventing air from coming in. Store-bought jams come with a printed date which tells you how long it can last. The date usually says that it can last up to two years, but it can be stored longer than that.
Opened homemade jars of jams, if stored in the fridge can last for one month. If they are stored well in the fridge, meaning you seal them tightly every time you put them back, it can last even longer. The same goes with store-bought jams.