After writing up my synopsis of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s course at the King Arthur Baking Education Center, I found there were a few things that I thought were great tidbits of information so here are five additional tips about jams and preserves.
- If the recipe calls for processing times of 10 minutes or greater, there is no need to sterilize the jars in boiling water beforehand. I can’t believe what a great time saver this will be! I think my mouth actually dropped open when Cathy shared this information. The jars should be warmed through so you can run them in a dishwasher or warm them as you bring your canning pot to a boil. Lids and rings do not need to be heated and can be kept at room temperature until they are applied to the jars. I knew the latter tip, but the former was a very happy and welcome surprise!
- I was always confused as to when you would need to use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles, but this step is only needed for chunky preserves, especially tomatoes.
- If you have hard water that is making the outside of your jars cloudy, add a splash of white vinegar to the pot. I didn’t think our water at home was particularly hard, but I’ve been having issues with cloudy jars for a while now so this tip should clear them right up!
- While I’ve never made any curds, such as lemon, lime, etc., I’ve been put off by doing so because I didn’t know what to do with all of the final product since it can’t be canned. However, I learned it can be frozen so now I may need to add this one to my rotation!
- I’ve always made my preserves using fresh fruit from the market, but this makes for a really busy (and hot) time in the kitchen all summer, whereas I’d like to do more year-round canning, two to three times a month. One tip was to freeze market fresh produce and make it in the fall or winter. It won’t compromise the flavor. This tip especially made sense to do when we go pick the fruit ourselves in bulk or there is so much in season in the market at once and I can’t whittle down my projects! Additionally, this allows experimentation to combine fruits that come to the market at different times, strawberries and peaches, for example. Love this tip and will readily employ this one next summer!