Thursday, November 15, 2012

no muppets were involved in this jam session

Kiwi Jam
Sometimes plain and simple can yield the most amazing results.  Take this kiwi jam, for example.  My youngest, a lover of kiwi and all things sweet, had been asking me for a preserve made of this favored fruit.  Our local warehouse store was conveniently selling big plastic breathable boxes of kiwis so after putting them in school lunches for a week, I peeled and chopped the remaining just as they were reaching that too-soft stage.  Then I opened up my trusty Ball Blue Book of Preserving.

Set up a giant stockpot or water bath canner pot of water.  I use my Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit, which is perfectly sized for small batch canning and fits into an 8 or 12 quart stockpot.  Bring the water to a boil and know where the rest of your equipment is located in your kitchen.

Kiwi Jam

3 cups of chopped and peeled kiwi fruit
1 package powdered pectin
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
4 cups of sugar

Mix the kiwi, powdered pectin, and pineapple juice in a large saucepan.  Don't skimp on the size of the saucepan unless you enjoy burnt sugared fruit laminated to your stove top!  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  (Pause for laughter)

Um, ok.  So really, at this point, keep an eye on that mess in the pot while you drop your 4 plus an extra half-pint jars into the boiling water.  Scoop out a few ladles of hot water into a sauce pan, set it to the lowest temperature on your stove, and drop in your lids to soften.

Once you have a boil going in your fruit mixture, add the sugar all at once and stir until it is dissolved.  There will be a quiet moment before boiling picks up again and when it does, you do actually need to be there with your long-handled rubber spatula.  Bring it to a rolling boil.  Rolling boil means a boil you cannot stir down, the kind that is making the mixture creep up the sides despite your frantic stirring, threatening to spill over the pan.  It will randomly blurp hot sugared fruit mixture at your unprotected hands.  Big pot and long-handled spatula?  You will thank me later!

Boil hard for one minute, more if you are at altitude.  Take it off the heat and skim any foam that may have accumulated.  Those jars you had boiling?  Take a moment to fish those out onto a towel set up next to the pan of kiwi jam.  Ladle the jam into the jars, using the canning funnel and leaving a 1/4-inch headspace.  Wipe down the edges with a clean towel or moistened paper towel to ensure there is nothing between jar and lid to interfere with the sealing process.  Adjust the two piece cap, which means this:  place that softened lid onto the cleaned jar and secure the ring to finger-tight.  Do not crank down on that ring, it's just not necessary.

Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner with at least an inch or more of water above the jars, two inches is better.  Keep some water boiling on the stove to add, if necessary.  Start your timer when the canner water begins to boil, not when you place the jars in the canner.  Put the lid on the canner to keep the water boiling.

When the timer goes off, remove the lid from the canner, take the canner from the stove, and set a 5 minute timer.  Remove the jars to a towel on the counter and try to leave them alone at least until they cool!  Eat the now cooled jam that you ladled into the spare jar, you know, the one that didn't fill enough to put in the canner.  Enjoy!

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