Sweet Summer Flavor

A Toast to Jam

Photography by Tiffani Jones
Hair by Kortne Fagundo
Prop Styling by Lisa Malott
Wardrobe Styling by Mercedes Grainger
Model – Jess Stephens

Making jam transports me back to the warm summer evenings of my childhood. As the sun set, my friends and I would sit on the creaky swing set in the backyard, nibbling on flaky pieces of French bread dripping with homemade strawberry jam. Sticky hands and faces would be rinsed with cold water from the garden hose as we giggled and danced back and forth from foot to foot. As summer arrives, it seems only appropriate to share some favorite recipes and tips.

TIPS FROM CANDACE KIELLA

Prepping fruit to make jam often takes longer than the actual making of it. I usually prep batches of in-season fruit (wash, de-stem, cut up, etc.) and freeze in the exact quantity I need to make the jam. This enables me to both make a variety of jam year-round and cut down on waste. In addition to freezing fruit, I freeze fresh lemon juice so I’ll have that on hand for recipes that call for it.

I like to sterilize my jars and lids in the dishwasher first by running them through a wash cycle. As I’m making the jam, I sterilize them a second time in a pot of boiling water. The great thing about canning is you can reuse jars. You’ll need to buy new lids to ensure they properly seal, but it’ll save you money (and eliminate waste) to keep the jars and reuse them. You can find complete tips and canning procedures on any Ball brand mason jars.

You can find Candace’s booth at the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market, where she sells a variety of homemade jams, jellies, and butters.

BLUEBERRY LAVENDER JAM

2 Tbsp dried lavender buds
8 cups fresh blueberries
4-1/2 cups granulated sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
one (1.75-ounce) package low-sugar powdered
pectin, such as Sure-Jell
1/2 tsp unsalted butter

Put the lavender buds in a small bowl and pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over them. Let them steep for 10 minutes, then strain the “tea” into a bowl and discard the buds.

Working in batches if necessary, pulse blueberries in blender until coarsely crushed. You should have about 6 cups.

Measure 4-1/4 cups of sugar in one bowl. In another bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and pectin. Combine blueberries, lemon zest and juice, and lavender tea in large, heavy saucepan or stockpot. Stir in sugarpectin mixture and the butter. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add remaining sugar all at once. Return to a full rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Remove jam from heat, and skim off any foam from surface.

Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of the jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight. Place jars on rack in pot and cover completely with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest in water for five minutes. Remove jars from pot and allow them to rest undisturbed on countertop for six hours or
overnight.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB JAM

4-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
4-1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar

Mix rhubarb and sugar in a large, heavy pot and let stand for 2 hours. Stir in lemon juice and strawberries. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set heat to medium-high, and cook jam at a full rolling boil until thickened, stirring often to prevent scorching, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove jam from heat and stir for 2 to 3 more minutes; skim off any foam.

See previous recipe for canning process.

Margaret Sebastian shared the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Jam from a 1950s Kitchen Klatter cookbook, which we’ve adapted here by combining ingredient lists and steps from various food blogs and culinary websites. The Blueberry Lavender Jam recipe can be found on seriouseats.com. The recipes make large batches of jam — adjust as necessary!