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Jams, Jellies, and Preserves

Making homemade conserve (jam or preserves) and jellies is a rewarding hobby. Thanks to a steady decline in home-canning, items like boiling water canners and pressure canners have become obsolete in many parts of the country (well, the U.S. anyway). While that is a shame, you do not have to have a canner to make jams, jellies, and preserves! Truthfully, you really only need glass canning jars, lids, rings, tongs of some sort, pectin (sometimes you don’t even need that), a wire mesh strainer, and two kettles (one with a thick bottom). You can also create your own boiling water canner and I’ll show you how. First, let’s talk jam!
Here’s our sample recipe:

Cranberry-Apple Jam

  • 3 pound bag of fresh cranberries
  • 4 apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 box Sure-Jell Lite

Step One:
Wash the jars you plan to use (just buy a pack of jars with lids and rings to start out). For the cran-apple jam, you’ll need about a dozen half-pint jars. Place them in a kettle with the metal lids and cover them with water. Place on the stove to boil while you follow the other steps:

Step Two:
Place cranberries in a thick-bottomed kettle (I like my cast iron kettle) and pour 2 cups of water over them. Cook until nice and soft.

Step Three:
Place your wire mesh strainer into a bowl and spoon the soft cranberries into the strainers. Mash until you have 1 quart + 1 cup of puree (can add a tiny bit of apple juice or cranberry juice to make up the difference but you shouldn’t have to).

Step Four:
Cook the apple slices in one cup of cranberry juice until soft. Pour into a blender and puree. Pour into a large, thick bottom kettle with your cranberry puree.

Step Five:
In a small bowl, mix a box of Sure-Jell Lite with 1 cup of sugar. Stir into the apple-cranberry puree and bring to a boil over med-low heat. Stir constantly. When it reaches a boil, add 4 cups of sugar (STIR!). Bring back to a boil (over med-low heat). Simmer, stirring often, until mixture forms a soft ball when dripped from a spoon.

Step Six:
Fish out a jar and lid from your boiling water with your tongs (be sure that you pour out all the water!). Now use a funnel of some type to fill each jar to the start of the glass lid ridges and place a hot lid on top. Screw a ring on tightly and then set each jar to cool on the counter. You should hear the lids popping down. Be sure you only work with one jar at a time. Allow to set up overnight and then remove your rings for later use.

Need more recipes? Have a TON of questions and need expert advice? Me too. When I have questions or need recipes, I turn to Freshpreserving.com and then spend the next four hours scrolling through their site trying to soak all that canning goodness in.

The recipe above is an original recipe by Rev. Nancy Clark and her niece, moi. Do you like original recipes? Right on. Well, we got a site full of them. And speaking of cooking… you just gotta check out my good friend, Mrs. Darling, at Dishpan Dribble. She’s a hoot. From the moment she first appeared on my computer screen — we became full-on buds. She can cook in my kitchen any time and she doesn’t even have to wash the dishes.

  • Robin - Hey Miss Lacy. :mrgreen: I hope this finds you doing well! It looks like you are doing some reorganizing of your blog, too. I’ve been trying to make mine more user friendly and add some things I find interesting. I’m such a information-lover! 😀

    Doin’ super on your blog m’dear. :mrgreen: Have an awesome weekend with your sweetie!

    P.S. Continuing to pray for your adoption!ReplyCancel

  • Mrs darling - Well thanks for the shout out and sweet words! You know Im lovin your blog too!!!ReplyCancel

  • CC - Step seven, ask Lacy to please send some out west!ReplyCancel

  • Valarie Lea - MMMMMmmmmm that looks good 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kirstin - Hi,
    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the nice compliment. It’s fun having a blog and I’ve been enjoying meeting so many new people. I have visited your site a few times, but I haven’t had a chance to really comment (C:

    Have a great week!

  • Fishing Guy - Lacy: We used to do canning when we had the kids at home. Now we just buy a jar of jelly and it lasts for months with the two of us.ReplyCancel

  • Tia Julie - The Wineberry Jelly is my favorite, Raul loves the Wineberry-Peach Jam, and Amber is partial to the Cranberry-Apple Jam shown above. Lacy is soooooooooooo talented she can please her husband and her extended family as well. 🙂
    Lots of Love to you Lacy and to Joshua and to all of the critters!ReplyCancel

  • Barb - Wonder where my comment went..
    This jam is something I’m goin to try! Got the stuff today, so plan to make it this weekend.
    I make all kinds, but have never seen this! I can’t wait! Anything with cranberries HAS to be good!
    (where is the link to that magazine June/July? can we read your on ling?)ReplyCancel

  • Meadowlark - I’ll give it a shot. I noticed you doing this in a cast iron pot. For some reason I thought it would remove the seasoning????? If you’re POSITIVE it doesn’t 😉 I’ll give it a try.

    What’s nice is that I can make this recipe in the fall when it’s cooler outside. HURRAY!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy L. Bert - This is how I sterilize my jars. I wash and rinse them carefully and then place them into the microwave with several inches of water in each and cook them until the water boils. As I am preparing the jam/jelly I periodically reactivate the microwave so the jars stay hot. I cover the lids with water and bring this water just to a simmer; I do not boil as the rubber portion may get too soft. When the jelly is made, I pour it carefully into one jar at a time, apply the lid securely and then turn the jar up-side-down. I do the next jar and turn it up-side-down. When the 3rd jar is turned up-side-down, I then turn the 1st jar upright and continue in this fashion until all jars are filled. I wait the appropriate time before turning up the final two jars.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I want to make the Cranberry Apple Jam. I have regular pectin. How much sugar do i add to it ?ReplyCancel

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