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Jam On: The Universal Jam Recipe (1)

5/27/2015 2:24:00 PM

By Kevin West in Mother Earth News

Yields about 2-1/2 pints

• 3 pounds prime, just-ripe fruit, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, etc. • 2-1/2 cups sugar, or adjust as explained below • 1 lemon

1. Clean and cut the fruit as you would for making fruit salad or fruit pie. For example: remove the caps from strawberries, and cut into quarters; or peel and pit peaches, and slice into pieces; or trim rhubarb and chop it into chunks.

2. Using a potato masher or your own clean hand, crush the fruit until soupy. Measure this puree, and note the quantity. You’ll probably have about 5 cups, but expect some variation depending on the fruit. Put the puree in a wide, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. The puree should be no more than 1 inch deep in the bottom of the pot.

3. For every two cups of fruit puree, add to the pot one scant cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir to combine, and taste. Very tart fruit (such as sour cherries or some plums) might need a little more sugar. Very sweet fruit (such as white peaches) might need a little more lemon juice. Adjust to taste.

4. Bring the fruit-sugar mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. After it boils, continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 12 to 14 minutes, or until thickened. Check the consistency by turning off the heat and putting a spoonful of hot jam on a chilled saucer in the freezer for one minute. When ready, the cold jam will form a light skin that wrinkles when you push your finger through it, and it will cling to the saucer when you tilt the saucer upright. If the cold jam is too runny, bring the pot back to a boil for another minute or two, stirring constantly, then check the set again.

4. When the jam is thickened to your liking, ladle it into clean half-pint jars or other air-tight containers. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator for up to a month.


  1. Universal jam recipe
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