Do you have an abundance of fruit from your garden this year or did your farmer’s market have the most amazing prices on berries ever? Hands down the best way to preserve fresh fruit is as a jelly or jam!
These fruit spreads can then be used throughout the year on toast or bagels. Jellies and jams also make a great addition to your oatmeal or muffin and you can even cook or bake with them. Oh, and think of the amazing, homemade and inexpensive Christmas presents they will make for friends and family!
The Difference Between Jelly and Jam
The basic process for making jellies and jams involves combining the ripe fruit and sugar to turn it into a fruit spread or preserve that won’t spoil. The sugar and heat work together to preserve things. There is a difference between jelly and jam though.
A jelly is a spread made from just the juice of the fruit, while both the flesh and juice are used to make jam. The process is very much the same.
To make jelly, you simply add one step that involves straining out the juice before proceeding through the rest of the process. This process involves cooking the fresh fruit with sugar and, if needed, a little acid like lemon juice. Once everything is cooked down (and the juice is strained if needed), a jellying agent like gelatin is added, the hot mixture is added to jars and allowed to cool.
Freezer Jams Are A Great Place To Start
A fun place to start your jam making adventure is with freezer jam. Most recipes call for nothing more difficult than fresh fruit and sugar. You cook them to make a jam that’s then frozen until you’re ready to use it. It’s a quick and easy way to put up fresh berries.
Keep one container of jam in the fridge to use right away and store the rest in the freezer. These types of jam are quick and easy to make. Perfect when you don’t have a bunch of fruit to put up but have the freezer space to store the extra containers. While you can use glass jars, there’s always a risk of the glass busting when it is frozen.
It’s safer and easier to use plastic jars like these on Amazon when making freezer jam.
Granite Ware Enamel-on-Steel Canning Kit, 9-PieceYour next step on the jelly making journey is to prepare traditional jellies and jams that are canned for long term storage. Since there is only so much jelly you can consume in a given week or even month, it makes sense to choose a preservation method that allows you to keep the fruits of your labor for a year or longer.
This is where canning comes into play. You can make a batch of jelly or jam, ladle the hot fruit mix into canning jars and then process them in a hot water batch.
Follow your recipe’s direction for processing the finished canned jellies and jams. I have included a few links for recipes below.
Making jams and jellies is definitely the best way to preserve fresh fruit! Don’t you agree?