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The Food Processor

Putting Up Your Own Homemade Jam Is a Wonderful Rite of Summer

July 14, 1988|JANE SALZFASS FREIMAN

One good way to capture the essence of summer is to make jam. There is something soothing and satisfying in spending a Saturday morning simmering ripe fruit with sugar until it thickens to a perfect, glistening consistency.

Jams should always be made in small batches, and I have found it best to put up about 1 quart at a time, dividing the mixture among small canning jars that can be easily stored in a cool cupboard.

My food processor is an essential piece of canning equipment because I use it for grating, slicing and other preparation chores, such as pureeing a small amount of the fruit with sugar to give each cooked jam a good consistency.

Puree Helps Flavor

Most machines hold up to two cups of a thick puree. Use the metal blade, add ingredients to the work bowl and process continually for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth.

Stirring the fruit puree into the mixture of sugar and whole berries, or fruit slices (in the case of nectarines or peaches), and letting the mixture stand overnight at room temperature will help to give jams even better flavor.

Be sure to simmer jam mixtures slowly and stir them often during cooking to avoid scorching. Test each jam during the last 15 minutes of cooking, keeping in mind that they thicken considerably as they cool.

BLUEBERRY-RASPBERRY JAM

3 pints blueberries, rinsed and drained

1 pint red or black raspberries

3 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Insert metal blade in food processor. Process 1 pint blueberries with 1/2 pint raspberries, 2 cups sugar and lemon juice until pureed. Transfer puree to large mixing bowl and stir in remaining sugar, blueberries and raspberries. Cover and set bowl aside at room temperature overnight.

Transfer contents of bowl to large non-aluminum skillet or saucepan. Heat mixture to rapid simmer. Remove any foam that rises. Simmer mixture very slowly, uncovered, 45 minutes to 1 hour or until 2 drops juice merge into 1 when metal spoon dipped into liquid is turned sideways and held over pan. (Cooking time may vary with each pan.)

While mixture is hot, transfer jam to hot, sterilized canning jars. Cover with hot, sterilized lids. Adjust caps according to manufacturer's directions. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Cool jars to room temperature. Store tightly sealed jars in cool location. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal. Makes about 1 quart.

NECTARINE-ORANGE JAM

1 medium orange

3 1/2 cups sugar

3 pounds ripe nectarines

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Insert metal blade in dry processor container. Strip off orange zest with vegetable peeler, allowing strips to fall into machine. Add 1 cup sugar and process until peel is minced. Process in remaining sugar and transfer mixture to large mixing bowl. Juice orange and add juice to bowl.

Dip nectarines into boiling water 5 seconds; drain and peel. Cut nectarines in half and remove pits. Insert medium (4 millimeter) slicing disc in processor. Slice nectarine halves with very gentle push. Transfer slices to mixing bowl and toss to coat with orange-sugar mixture. Cover and set bowl aside at room temperature overnight.

Transfer contents of bowl to large non-aluminum skillet or saucepan. Heat mixture to rapid simmer. Remove any foam that rises. Simmer mixture very slowly, uncovered, 45 minutes to 1 hour or until 2 drops juice merge into 1 when metal spoon dipped into liquid is turned sideways and held over pan. (Cooking time may vary with each pan).

While mixture is hot, transfer jam to hot, sterilized canning jars. Cover with hot, sterilized lids. Adjust caps according to manufacturer's directions. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Cool jars to room temperature. Store tightly sealed jars in cool location. Refrigerate any jars that don't seal. Makes 1 quart.

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