In the past year or two, I decided to try to make jam.
I had always thought it would be difficult or an arduous and expensive process. One thing I was always concerned about was that I wouldn’t preserve it correctly and I would be gifting people jars filled with well wishes and mold.
Turns out, making jam is super easy and very economical. Now that I know how to make jam, and have it down to a science, you’ll never see me drop $5 at the grocery store for jam.
Since I finally have it down, I decided to make a holiday jam as gifts for my bosses and family members. It was a hit. For family parties, I made thumbprint cookies with the jam pre-loaded in the middle, so people could try it and decide if they like it before swiping a jar to bring home. It was a big hit.
After bringing some to Paul’s parent’s house, we had it for breakfast on biscuits and english muffins. It’s wonderful if you make a sandwich with leftover turkey on it. I’m a big fan of mixing it in to plain oatmeal as well.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 lb frozen strawberries
- 1 lb fresh cranberries
- 2 oranges
- 1 tbs of minced ginger
- 5 cups of sugar
- 3 tbs of fruit pectin
Let’s Get Cooking:
- In a large stock pot, combine strawberries and cranberries. Turn flame on high.
- Stir in sugar until thoroughly coated.
- Zest oranges over the pot. When finished, cut the oranges in quarters and squeeze into the pot, making sure the seeds don’t fall in. You don’t want to hear about the seed that broke your uncle’s tooth.
- By now, some of the cranberries should begin to burst. Using a potato masher, smash the fruit inside the pot so that it’s less chunky.
- Stir in minced ginger.
- Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, you can scrape off some of the foam and put it in the trash.
- Stir in fruit pectin and continue boiling for 5 minutes, scraping off additional foam.
- Turn off flame and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- In another large pot, get water boiling. Do not fill to the top, as you’ll need room to place the jammed jars in. About half way should do. Take a moment to pause and practice being passively nice to that person who always shows up to family gatherings that you never remember who they are. A distant relative? You never talk to them anyway. Maybe create a backstory for them in your head.
- Slowly and carefully, scoop jam into sanitized jars. Leave about 1/4 inch room for expansion.Wipe down with a damp wash cloth any jam that has spilled on rim or side. Make sure lids and bands are on tightly.
- Placed jammed jars into a pot of boiling water and let boil for about 10 minutes. This is a good time to stress about if the gift you got anonymously for the grab bag was good enough or if everyone will realize that gift is yours because the gift sucks and it’s obvious that it’s from you because you are human garbage.
- Carefully jammed, boiled jars from the water. Place on counter and let cool. The little button in the middle should pop down, creating a seal, as it cools.
CHRISTMAS JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES
(we tripled this recipe to make about 75 cookies- we had 3 houses to bring them to this year) this recipe will yield about 24 cookies
What You’ll Need
- 1 cup of butter- softened, not melted
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup of holiday jam
Let’s Get Cooking:
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl for about 3 minutes. It will be light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and salt and beat for about another 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Slowly add flour to the mixture in the bowl and beat on low for about 2 minutes, or until completely mixed.
- Using your hands, form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and place the bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or as long as that awful Christmas Special that Mariah Carey put on Netflix, I think it was a grueling 42 minutes)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and cut parchment paper to fit 2 cookie sheets.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into 1 inch balls. Carefully jam your thumb into the middle of the ball, creating a little ditch for your jam. It’s better to have a deeper ditch than a wider one.
- Fill the cookie ditches with jam (I use a teaspoon) and bake on the parchment paper cookie sheets for about 30 minutes, or until golden and fluffy. Speaking of ditches, wouldn’t it br great if you found a cute kitten in a ditch this holiday season and it gave you a great reason to give another living being the love you have? That reminds me, stop and practice telling Aunt Carol that you don’t need a husband to be successful.
- Let cool on a wire cookie rack.
- Place cooled cookies in a container and gently sprinkle a little more powdered sugar on top to make it look fancier than your cousin’s new glittery iphone case.
- Serve and enjoy!