As the Summer begins to reach it’s crux, I begin to make jam. After waiting all these weeks for the berries, clovers and tomatoes to ripen, the jelly/jam/chutney/ketchup making begins. Some of my favorite jellies include watermelon and red clover. My favorite jams are strawberry and blueberry, and gingered kumquats make the top of my list of preserves.

You may be asking yourself what the difference between jams, jellies, and preserves are, and in truth, there are very few differences. Jellies are created from the juice of a fruit, or a tea made from the flowers or leaves of a plant, as in the case of clover and mint jelly, and jams and preserves contain macerated or sometimes whole fruits; both are cooked with sugar, and often pectin, and then canned. Some fruits contain higher amounts of natural pectin (which is a soluble fiber found in many fruits and is concentrated in apple and citrus skins), such as strawberries and need little or no pectin to set. Although looser than traditional jams, strawberry jam made from just strawberries and honey is a rare and spectacular treat! Here are a few of my favorite recipes using low-sugar pectin, as I believe the flavor of the fruit should be predominate, not the sugar content.

*Before you start any canning adventures I urge all of our readers to review safe the canning information provided by The National Center for Home Food Preservation at

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/.

**All jars, rings, and lids should be sterilized in boiling water before filling.

***Any jars that do not process correctly and have lids that do not pop down in the center after cooling should be refrigerated and used immediately.

Red Clover Jelly

Ingredients:

  • 5 Cups Red Clover Flowers
  • 4 Cups Water***
  • 4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Boxes Low/No Sugar Pectin

Soak your clover flowers briefly in cool water to help remove any bugs.

Make a tea from the red clovers by boiling the water and adding the clovers. Let this tea steep 6 – 8 hours or overnight if possible.

Strain the clovers out from the tea.

To make your jelly:

Mix your 1 ½ boxes of pectin with ½ cups sugar and set aside.

Bring your red clover tea to a boil in a stainless steel cooking pot.. Add the remaining 3 ½ cups sugar and stir until dissolved.

Mix in your pectin/sugar mixture and bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes.

Ladle into sterilized glass jars, screw on lids/rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 – 15 minutes.

After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.

***You can also experiment with using apple juice in place of some or all of the water.

Watermelon Jelly

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups Watermelon Juice (Usually about a 10 – 15 pound Watermelon)
  • 4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Boxes Low/No Sugar Pectin

To make your juice:

  • Cut your watermelon into manageable chunks, removing the seeds and the rind. Place chunks in your blender and blend until liquefied.
  • Strain your watermelon pulp though a fine mesh strainer and measure out your 4 cups of juice. Any leftover juice is great for drinking!

To make your jelly:

  • Mix your 1 ½ boxes of pectin with ½ cups sugar and set aside.
  • Bring your watermelon juice to a boil in a stainless steel cooking pot. Add the remaining 3 ½ cups sugar and stir until dissolved.
  • Mix in your pectin/sugar mixture and bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Ladle into sterilized glass jars, screw on lids/rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.

 

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 8 Cups Fresh Strawberries (Mashed down to about 6 Cups)
  • 4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Boxes Low/No Sugar Pectin

To make your jam:

  • Wash strawberries well, and remove hulls.
  • Mix your 1 ½ boxes of pectin with ½ cups sugar and set aside.
  • Mix the remaining 3 ½ cups sugar with your mashed berries in a stainless steel cooking pot.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil.
  • Add the sugar/pectin mixture and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Ladle into sterilized glass jars, screw on lids/rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.

 

 

 

Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 8-9 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Boxes Low/No Sugar Pectin

To make your jam:

  • Wash blueberries well, removing any bugs, stems, etc.
  • Mix your 1 ½ boxes of pectin with ½ cups sugar and set aside.
  • Mix the remaining 3 ½ cups sugar with your mashed berries in a stainless steel cooking pot.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil.
  • Add the sugar/pectin mixture and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Ladle into sterilized glass jars, screw on lids/rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.

 

 

Preserved Honey Ginger Kumquats

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pounds Kumquats
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 2 ½ Cups Raw Honey
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons raw grated ginger

To make your preserves:

  • Wash kumquats well, removing any stems.
  • You can either, cut your kumquats in half, leave them whole, or slice them into pinwheels. If you leave them whole you will want to poke holes in them with a knife so that the honey ginger syrup can penetrate into the kumquat.
  • Bring the water, sugar, honey, and ginger to a boil in a large stainless steel cooking pot.
  • Add the kumquats and cook until tender. About 10 – 15 minutes for sliced kumquats, 20-25 minutes for halved kumquats, and 40-45 minutes for whole kumquats.
  • Ladle the kumquats into sterilized glass jars, and cover with syrup.
  • Screw on lids/rings and process in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes.
  • After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.

 

Tomatoes and Zucchini with Garlic and Basil

Ingredients:

  • 5 Lbs. Zucchini
  • 4 – 5 Lbs. Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Bulb Garlic (5-6 Large Cloves)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Bunch of Fresh Basil or 3 – 4 Tbps. Dried Basil
  • 1 Small Bunch Fresh Oregano or 2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
  • 4 Teaspoons Salt + Salt and Pepper to taste

To make your tomato/zucchini mixture:

  • Quickly dip each tomato in boiling water, then in an ice bath to remove the skins.
  • Chop onion and mince garlic. Add these to a sauce pan with a little olive oil and cook until just beginning to get soft.
  • Add the zucchini and cook for about five minutes.
  • Deseed and roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the same saucepan.
  • Add the basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook until flavors are melded, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Before canning in your pressure canner, add ½ tsp. salt to each pint jar.
  • Pack your tomato/zucchini mixture into the pint jars, wipe up any spills on the jars and add the lids and screw on the bands.
  • Bring your pressure cooker to pressure. Dial Gauge Type @ 11 pounds pressure or Weighted Gauge Type @ 10 pounds pressure and process pints 30 minutes
  • After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.

 

Tomato Ketchup

Ingredients:

  • 25 Lbs Tomatoes
  • 3 Medium Onions
  • 1 Bulb Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 Cups Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Celery Seed
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp. Dried Mustard
  • 1 ½ Cups Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Salt

To make your ketchup:

  • Quickly dip each tomato in boiling water, then in an ice bath to remove the skins. Deseed them and give them a bit of a squeeze to get out any excess moisture. Crush or chop them. Set aside.
  • Dice onions and garlic and begin cooking down in the olive oil.
  • Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  • Add celery seed, ground cloves, and dried mustard and boil for 20 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar and again boil for 15- 20 minutes.
  • Add the salt and sugar and cook down until reduced by nearly half, or to your desired thickness.
  • When desired consistency is reached, ladle the hot ketchup into pint jars and process 15 – 20 minutes in a hot water bath.
  • After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.