Jam Sesh

A quick and dirty visual guide to that one time I learned how to make jam!

Collect about 8 cups of your fruit of choice. While a little on the work-heavy side with those pits to remove, I was a fan of the plums, selected because of a neighbor's heavy-duty plum trees. The pits made a delightful small-things-in-big-numbers pile, and it's a bit of a challenge for my first time jamming, given their high water content.

Step 1: Prep the fruit

Step 2: Mix ingredients

Once you've got the fruit together, it's time to add a ridiculous amount of sugar. In our case, almost as many cups as you have fruit. Then, though I've heard it's optional, we added some Pectin to help the jam gel given how much liquid is in the plums.

Step 2: Mix your ingredients

Step 3: Cook ingredients

Apply heat and watch the fascinating progression of color and shape and texture from a bobbing-for-plum-bits kind of thing to a lava pit of saccharine goodness. Foam will accumulate on the top, as you can see in the picture on the right. That can be skimmed off throughout the cooking process, and used to help satisfy your desire to snack on the product as you're working.

Step 3: Cook them down!

Step 4: Jar ingredients

Step 4: Jarring time

What's not being shown in this step is boiling the containers that the jam is going to go in, to sterilize them. We don't want any germs in our jams. Then, we liberally apply our fruity magma to an an adorable collection of down-home glass jars.

Step 5: Seal the jars

Step 5: Sealing them with love

The fascinating part! To seal the cans, you screw on their lids, making sure that the seal between the metal and glass is totally free of any fruit or juice. Then we boil them in a nice jam-jar-sealing pot. One of a huge blue-and-white spackled hue that you see in camping stores, with a convenient metal tray inside to help the jars all stay upright. As they boil you'll hear periodic popping sounds, something you test on each jar when you bring them out of the boiling water. The metal lids should be silent, if they still make that little pop when you push on them, they're not air-tight.

Step 6: Eat all of the jam

In this case, it's the jam foam that we skimmed from the pot as we poured its more liquid sibling into our jar collection. Done and delicious!