All of those strawberries, raspberries and other prolific fruits your garden and orchard produce can be transformed into delicious preserves. Jams and jellies are a tradition that have been passed down throughout the generations. Jams and jellies make excellent gifts around the holidays, can be used to pad your emergency food storage and make a great addition to any meal, especially those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the kids love. Just when you think you have enough jam and jelly to last you a year, think again. The stuff flies off the shelf and your family will be slathering it on anything and everything they can. Homemade preserves are the best and there is simply no substitute.
Before we get into how to make jams and jellies, let’s talk about the difference between the two.
Jamsâ€”Jam is made with fruit. Think strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The mashed fruit gives it a chunky texture.
Jelliesâ€”Jelly is made from the juice of the fruit. There are no chunky bits in the preserves. A perfect jelly is one that is crystal clear, except for the color. Apple jelly is a popular one. It is made from the juice of the apple peels and there are no actual apples in the jelly.
The type of preserve you make will typically depend on the type of fruit you are using. Feel free to mix it up and have a variety of both.
There are some basic supplies you will need:
- Jarsâ€”pints are best, but the small jelly jars are cute and make nice gifts
- Lidsâ€”only use new lids; you can reuse bands and jars, but never reuse lids
- Jar tongs
- Potato masher
- Lemon juice
- Sugarâ€”quite a bit
- 2 large stock pots
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