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Old 07-29-2008, 12:06 PM   #1
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Help please, first time making jam.

Ok, i have never had the interest of making jam or jelly before because i was afraid of killing myself or my family with making a mistake when sterilizing the jars or something. Well, i don't want to spend $8 for a jar of delicious organic jam anymore, i want to make my own. I would be basically the only one eating the jam so i only need a small quantity. First I'm not going to buy canning jars so i was thinking of using a cool whip container (thats what my grandmother used for freezer jam) or these glass containers i use for leftovers. Second, i need to know how long my jam or jelly will last in that glass thing or cool whip container in the fridge. Third, should i make freezer jam or not? Do i have to keep it in the freezer? Please help me, i have tried to find these answers myself all over google, but no luck. I would really appreciate it.

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Old 07-29-2008, 12:12 PM   #2
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I forgot to add that what i want to do is to make a little jam, keep it in the fridge and use it up in 2 or 3 weeks, then make some more. I just want delicious jam thats cheap easily.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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This is what I am reading and forgive me if I misinterpret

The good
- The kind of Jam you like is getting too expensive
- To counter this, you'd like to make your own Jam
- You're concerned about health issues related to canning.

The scary
- You don't want to buy the proper materials to do canning safely.

The price of canning jars is really trivial. I think I can buy 20 at my local market in California for less than $20. In fact, to make jam, over time you'd be spending more on the fruit than you would on the jars. I suggest getting them. They have lids which help you seal everything safely. Cool Whip containers do not.

I know nothing about freezer jam, someone else does that can be more helpful, though :)
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:20 PM   #4
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I don't want to bother with those jars if i can just use a plastic container or something with a tight fitting lid. Its not really the price of the jars thats holding me back. Its the sterilizing etc. I also have another question, do i have to sterilize what ever i plan to put my jam in even though i plan to use it within 3 weeks?
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:31 PM   #5
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Buy a box of Shur Jell or Ball Fruit Jell...Read the instructions inside the box. It will tell you how to make the jam/jelly from several types/kinds of fruit. The amount of fruit, the amount of sugar, and the expected yield from following the directions. If this is too much...then 1/2 or 1/4 the recipe...The final step will be processing in jars...which you could omit if you only made a very small amount, and kept sealed in the refrigerator.
If you choose to make larger amounts...making and processing jam/jelly is extremely simple....The cost of jars is nothing...they can be used over and over for years....I have some that are 50+ years old.

National Center for Home Food Preservation | How Do I? Jam and Jelly

Relax, Have Fun, and Enjoy!!!
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:31 PM   #6
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Look for "Freezer Jam" pectin in the stores and also for the Ball Canning plastic jars/lids made specifically for freezer jams. Fun, very easy and very safe.

Much easier than "canning" jams and jellies, but if you decide to ever try it, don't worry about poisoning anyone. Follow the recipes in the pectin boxes (sugar, no sugar needed, or freezer) EXACTLY and you will have great jams or jellies. The sugar and high acid of the fruits will keep the bacterias away, so you only have to be on the look out for molds that form after being exposed to the air too long. Then you toss.

ALL jams and jellies (except freezer type) must be processed in a Boiling Water Canner. This is important because there are lots of old recipes out there using outdated methods...and people still doing it too (shame on them).

All your jams and Jellies will last a long time in the refrigerator because of the sugar, but not as long as the commercial ones (which have preservatives in them). Weeks if not months is possible.

http://www.freshpreserving.com

You might also want to buy a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving which has recipes and instructions for jams, jellies, etc. The book is less than $10 and under $5 from the Ball website.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:42 PM   #7
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IMO freezer jam is easier and tastes better. I actually don't think it's a good idea to put freezer jam in glass jars. Because the glass can get brittle in the freezer. You can buy those zip-lock throw-away tupperware containers or something like that to store it in. The following recipe makes about 5 of those containers. I keep one in the fridge and move the rest from the freezer to the fridge as I use them up. DH and I can use a whole container on one batch of pancakes so we could probably put it in one big container in the fridge and it would stay good.

4 cups finely chopped or crushed fruit or berries (Using a pastry cutter/mixer works great to crush the fruit).
2 cups sugar or sweetener
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup ultra Gel

Combine crushed fruit,sugar, and lemon juice in medium bowl. Gradually add ultra Gel, stirring constantly. (Use the hand mixer) Let stand 5 minutes until thick. Stir until smooth. Freeze up to 6 months. (Makes 5 cups).
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #8
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I wonder how many people will have "Ultra Gel" in their pantry. I believe that is a version of ClearJel®. Good stuff really. Far better than using pectins.
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:06 AM   #9
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I make both types of jam - processed and freezer. You do have to keep freezer jam in the freezer until you use it. If you make a "lite" or "sugar-free" jam, you can keep it about a month in the refrigerator before it molds. Full sugar jams keep longer.

If you are concerned about sterilizing jars, why aren't you concerned about sterilizing the cool whip/plastic containers? I believe bacteria would be in un-sterilized plastic containers also.

If you make fruit "in season", the flavor will be much better. If you have to buy fruit in the middle of winter, it will be much more expensive and not as tasty.

Good luck.
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:09 AM   #10
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I don't have canning equipment and for 20 years have made jellies from our berries using the inversion method from the certo box. The jars are sterile and kept upside down in a 200F oven until I fill them. All the jars seal, I count the pops! Is this no longer a safe method? I guess I figured if the jars sealed they were ok. I sure hate to invest in canning equipment but I do want safe food. My jellies are usually given to friends through the holidays.
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