Online Jam: jam-making resources on the web

16 08 2009

My regular bookshelves have several books I use as jam recipe references — but one thing today’s jammers have that wasn’t available when most of my paper references were written is the web. The internet provides easy access to thousands of jam recipes, sites about canning and preserving, and general how-to information. Web resources are a vital part of my kitchen bookshelf. Some of my favorites are linked under blogs and websites. Here are some never-fail resources:

Ball, one of the leading manufacturers of canning equipment and jars, is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a salsa contest and issuing special commemorative jam jars. Find more information and recipes under the Recipes | Home canning link in their menu bar at http://www.freshpreserving.com/

Sure-Jell, owned by Kraft Foods, makes powdered and liquid pectins. Look for recipes using pectin and general tips for jamming and jelly-making on their site. Sure-Jell also makes a no-sugar/low-sugar pectin which, while not sugar free (it contains dextrose) makes it possible to create a no-sugar-added jam that has no artificial sweeteners added and adds only about 1g of carbohydrate per finished tablespoon of jam. See the basic no-sugar recipe here.

Certo is liquid pectin also made by Kraft Foods. At the main Kraft site, type ‘Certo’ in the search box to get a refreshed list of recipes. When I created this link, Kraft’s site had over 100 jam and jelly recipes using Certo on the web.

Looking for recipes which are a little more exotic than strawberry jam? Make sure to go to Recipezaar and search for jam (RZ is also linked under Websites). Recipezaar has almost 400 jam and jelly recipes to choose from, many submitted by home cooks. Cooks.com has several hundred jam and jelly recipes in its files and even the Food Network features fresh jam recipes in its files.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has collections of recipes both with and without pectin, and with and without added sugar, along with tips and how-tos for jamming and jellymaking.

At http://www.foodsaving.com you can view the entire USDA booklet Complete Guide to Home Canning. Guide 7 is the section on jam and jelly making, and contains valuable safety and how-to tips along with a handful of basic recipes.

JamJellyRecipes is listed in BlogCatalog as a jam and jelly recipe blog — and the site does have a large recipe collection as well as links to hard-to-find canning supplies and lots of preserving cookbooks. However, the recipe content can sometimes be overwhelmed by the amount of advertising on the site.

I’ll be sharing other online resources as I find them; what are your favorite sources for new and old jam recipes?

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Bookshelf Jam: References beyond the big blue book

13 08 2009

I collect cookbooks — at garage sales and in thrift shops and flea markets. Cookbooks from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, cookbooks that celebrate the tastes I grew up with and the recipes I learned to cook from are favorites. I enjoy most the way they’re written — the recipes tell stories; they are informative and fun to read. Here are some favorite cooking references from my preserving bookshelf, and (when they’re available) links to them at Amazon.

Every jamming kitchen bookshelf should have a copy of the standard preserving reference – the Ball Blue Book, which I discussed here. It’s inexpensive, available and only as far away as your nearest supermarket’s display of canning supplies:

Ball Blue Book – The Guide to Home Canning and Preserving, © Ball Corporation (various annual editions; I own three.)

When you’re ready to move beyond the big blue book, expand your bookshelf with these resources:

The Home Canning and Preserving Book, Ann Seranne, © 1975 Barnes & Noble Books (originally published by Doubleday, 1955, as The Complete Book of Home Preserving

Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, Revised Enlarged edition, ed. by Nell B. Nichols, Farm Journal, © 1959, 1972 Doubleday & Co.

Putting Food By, Janet Greene & Ruth Hertzberg, 4th. Edition © 1988 The Stephen Greene Press

Jams, Jellies and More, Carol W. Costenbader (Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin a-282) © 2003 Storey Books

Trying to figure out which book to own, or just experimenting with your very first batch of jam? Kraft Foods, manufacturers of Certo (TM) and Sure-Jell (TM) pectin, include a jam-making pamphlet in every box or package or pectin. Since the 70s, I’ve saved various KF pamphlets on jam and jelly making. Each pamphlet includes at least two dozen recipes, suggestions (beyond toast and jam) to use your jam creations, and all of the basic jam-making information you’ll need to get started.

Can’t find one of the resources listed above at Amazon? Ebay booksellers often carry older editions of cookbooks, as well as the newest version – and on Ebay, you’ll only pay a fraction of the original price for a used edition. Happy bookshelf stocking!


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All-Access Jam: The Ball Blue Book

12 08 2009
20 jars of jam!
Image by chrisfreeland2002 via Flickr

Chances are the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is the first canning and preserving reference you think about when you think about jam-making. That’s no surprise – Ball Corp. began publishing their preserving reference in 1909, and the 2009 Ball Blue Book is the proud 100th edition of this handy preserving reference. It’s inexpensive – full price is under $10, and many places reduce the price during canning season. And it’s only as far away as your nearest supermarket’s display of canning supplies.

The big blue book is actually only around 125 pages; earlier editions were even smaller. But it’s more than a collection of recipes. Every edition (I own three) is packed with the most up-to-date recommendations for canning, pickling, preserving, and jamming. Editions since the 90s have included USDA recommendations for water-bath canning of jams; earlier editions described other sealing methods such as inversion of jars and covering preserves with paraffin.

The Blue Book describes everything from the materials you’ll need to the processes involved in jamming, canning, preserving and freezing. It includes conversion charts to help you purchase enough raw fruit and vegetables to make your canned goods, and illustrations of things like ‘head space’ (the amount of air you need to leave in a jar between the top level of food and the bottom level of the jar lid.) This year’s commemorative 100th anniversary edition includes more recipes and suggestions for your canned and preserved bounty that take jam beyond a spread for toast.

When you’re ready to take your jam-making beyond the recipes included in the box of pectin, or if you’d like a broader canning and preserving reference that’s fun to read and easy to own, it’s time to add an edition of the Ball Blue Book to your kitchen bookshelf.

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