Friday, July 20, 2012

Following Directions

"Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, don't go astray.  Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet he knows the way."  The children at church sing this song and even as an adult I remember part of the words.  What does this have to do with canning?  Well those simple lines have taught me so much in life.  Mom made jam the other day, while I was gone.  The apricots were pre-cut, the sugar measured correctly, everything was in place.  The problem you ask?  She didn't add everything in the RIGHT order.  The sugar went in before the pectin, the pectin was almost forgotten.  Three days later and instead of jam we have apricot syrup.  I'm sure it will set up, just not anytime soon.  Like life some rules and be bent, and broken.  Ice Cream for breakfast sure!  Jam has some definite rules and ones that I break and bend all the time.
Rules never to break in Jams and Jellies
1) All ways add the right things at the right times.  Sugar goes in after the fruit comes to a rolling boil.
2) Never add more sugar then the recipe states. 
3)Never add less sugar then the recipe states.
4) If the recipe asks for 1/4 cup Lemon Juice add it.  Sometime I do skip the lemon juice if it only asks for 1 tablespoon and I don't have any around.
5) Put in the correct amount of fruit, the way it asks for it to be prepared.  I sometimes puree a little more then I need and add it, but never more then say 1/4 cup.

Rules to break to make Jams and Jellies fun!
1) Just because a recipe says 5 cups apricots doesn't mean you can't substitute some of the fruit.  Often times I make my own Jam recipe off of the instructions given with the pectin.  In fact I'll give you a recipe for Apricot Pineapple Jam in a minute.  Never replace more then 2/5ths of the recipe. 
2) Adding spices is fun.  Cinnamon, sure.  Nutmeg, why not.  Cheyenne Pepper, well I would be careful, but what the heck!  Spice up your Jam.  Jelly is supposed to be clear, if making it for just you why not?  If you happen to be making jelly for the fair, keep it clear.

I hope this helps you in your quest for delicious homemade goods.  As promised a recipe

Apricot Pineapple Jam~ Courtesy of Aunt Linda
4 cups mashed Apricots
1 cup Pineapple
1 Box of Pectin
Sugar, Butter, and Lemon Juice asked for in the Pectin instructions

Add fruit, pectin, butter, and lemon juice in to a stock pot.  Bring to a rolling boil and add sugar.
Bring back to a rolling boil and boil typically for 1 minute. Ladle into sterilized canning jars and process for 10 minutes, adding time for altitude.  I had to process mine for 25 (I'm at 6,100+ feet).  Fetch jars our of the water bath canner and let sit for 24 hours. 

Letting the jars sit for 24 hours has nothing to do with the jam its self, but the lids.  Go ahead go get a lid, I'll wait.  If you have the nice shinny side up flip it over.  There should be the white bottom and a rubber ring.  Letting the jars sit for 24 hours insures that the rubber ring, that was warm and sticky while your boiled it in the canner, sticks its self to the jar. 

Song taken form the LDS Children's Songbook.

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