Here’s what I do to make Peach Rhubarb Jam, but it’s the same recipe no matter what fruit I use.
I assemble my jamming equipment on the counter just the way I like it.
I stick the recipe on the wall with tape.
- 8 cups mashed fruit
- 8 T. lemon juice
- 5 t. calcium water (which is a 1t calcium powder per 1/2 cup water mix)
- 4 cups sugar PLUS more sugar to taste after it boils
- 5-6 t. Pomona’s Universal Pectin powder
I mix 6 cups of mashed peaches (I used 10 peaches), 2 cups of pureed rhubarb, 8 T. lemon juice and 5 t. calcium water in my 4 qt. pot and start it heating.
On the other burner sits the big 21-qt. canning pot full of boiling water and 7 pint jars.
I measure 4 cups of sugar and mix in 5-1/2 t. pectin powder. I buy Pomona’s pectin in bulk and it is much cheaper that way. It also takes a lot less sugar to jell. When the fruit starts to boil, I dump in the sugar/pectin and stir.
I keep stirring until it comes to a boil again, and then I do a woo-woo thing. I ask the Deva of Jam — the nature intelligence or spirit — how much more sugar this particular jam needs. A half cup? A full cup? A cup and a half? I ask, muscle testing for a yes, which means my left thumb and pinky stay strongly together when I try to separate them.
This is called applied kinesiology, it’s a feedback mechanism using the electrical field in our bodies, and it’s why pendulums work for this, too.
Above is a No. Below is a Yes.
You can also guess how much more sugar by how sweet the fruit is to start with. There’s no wrong answer. Less sugar means a more tart flavor, which is how the Bearded One likes it.
I stir the additional sugar in — in this case, one more cup — bring the jam to a boil and let it boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. If foam starts to form on the top, I add a tablespoon of butter and keep stirring.
Then I remove it from the heat and stir it some more, at least five minutes, letting it cool down a bit. This helps keep the fruit suspended in the thickening jam and avoids fruit float. Pureeing the rhubarb is the other trick I’ve learned to battle fruit float.
Finally I ladle the jam into the hot jars, stir out the air bubbles, and secure a hot lid on with a threaded band.
I boil the jars in the covered canner for 10 minutes, then remove the canner from the heat and uncover it and let the jars sit for 5 more minutes in the hot water before removing them to the counter to cool and seal. The lids make a “pop” when they seal, a few minutes to a half hour later, but don’t move the jars for hours.
Let them cool overnight, then check the seals.