Thursday, March 22, 2012

M*t**r F**@*XX Jam

Yesterday, I had lunch with my old Bossman, drank a little wine and picked up my candy thermometer.  I made sure we were dining next to a Williams-Sonoma.  Always, multi-tasking! I started to have a sore throat around 4 and was feeling no bueno so I almost ditched the jam idea when I put LO to bed at 7:30 but then I spied my candy thermometer and decided to just do it.  Everyone said it was EASY.  The act of putting jam ingredients together is easy but HOT DAMN if the whole canning process isn't a major pain in the behind.  I decided to use a recipe without Pectin as I am all about the natural even though Pectin appears to be not harmful but my philosophy is, avoid additives when you don't need them.  I used this recipe and about a billion sites to learn how to sterilize the jars and what the F*@X is a water bath.  I only used three cups of sugar as some reviewers said four cups was too sweet.

At one point, I said to myself out LOUD after an hour into the process, "You live in a townhouse with immature trees WHY are you MAKING jam?"  A few things in case you live in an urban environment and feel like canning.  I pulverized the fruit in my Magic Bullet as I don't have a Cuisinart or a blender and I didn't want to mash the fruit by hand.  It made the jam a little runny in the end but that will work better for me for my oatmeal cookie bars and jelly sandwiches.  I have a feeling that the jam may set more so it shouldn't be an issue.  You absolutely need a thermometer as the mixture changes drastically at 215 degrees and then take a million years to reach the desired 220 degrees.  I almost gave up at 218 but the mixture boils down and changes again at 220. 

I was going to skip the water bath which is putting the jars back in boiling water but I am all about  finishing the project.  I have to tell you that when I heard a little pop that the jars were sealed I felt like a JAM QUEEN.  It took me a good 45 minutes to clean up as the stickiness was everywhere.  My only heavy bottom pan was a small Le Creuset that overflowed when the jam reached 215 but I see why you need a heavy bottom pan as even the Le Creuset burned a titch at the bottom.  I let the jam cool and set overnight and LO and I tried the jam this morning.  I was pleasantly surprised and excited to use it for the party.  DH refused to try the jam as he didn't see me slaving away for HOURS.  He got home just as everything was cleaned and I was turning the dishwasher on.