No homestead pantry is complete without homemade jellies and jams. Besides being so tasty to eat, they’re also very easy to make!
If you’re intimidated by making your own jams and jellies, don’t be! Learn how easy it is to use the Ball freshTECH Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker to make the perfect strawberry rhubarb vanilla bean jam and then get the creative juices flowing with so many more flavor combinations – many of which you can make from foraged fruits and flowers!
Before we get into the basics of making your own fruit spreads, here’s a quick primer on the difference between jam and jelly. Both are delicious combinations featuring fruit, pectin, and sugar but their makeup is a little different depending on how they are prepared. We certainly have our favorite type of fruit spread. Do you?
Made from fruit juice, jelly is the firmest, clearest fruit spread option. It’s generally soft and spreadable. Some people with food texture issues may prefer the consistency of jelly.
Jam is made from crushed or chopped fruit. It’s a bit chunkier and can be runnier. It’s also my favorite which is why I’m sharing this particular recipe. We love the chunkiness of the added fruit in jam. So gather your supplies and ingredients and get busy preserving the harvest.
Rhubarb is one of those fruits you either love or hate! Along with being so easy to grow it’s sometimes considered a weed, we think the tangy taste can’t be beat. Rhubarb is perfect in scones, pie, and of course it makes a great jam too. Pairing rhubarb with strawberries is such a delicious flavor combination.
If you’re trying to eat more local grown foods, rhubarb is perfect because it’s often one of the first fruits of the growing season. I’ll never forget reading about it the book that inspired me to want to grow more of our own food, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
Though I knew I liked rhubarb long before reading that book, it definitely encouraged me to take another look at a food many people don’t even bother to harvest.
In Iowa, rhubarb is ready to pick weeks before the strawberries are ready. Luckily, that doesn’t have to stop you from combining the two fruits to make mouth-watering flavor combinations. To use rhubarb and strawberries at the same time, simply slice the rhubarb thin and flash freeze. When the strawberries are ready, get out your rhubarb and start creating.
Here’s how to make a winning jam!
2 cups strawberries, crushed
1 ½ cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons pectin
Juice from half a lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 vanilla bean, split in half seeds removed, reserve pod
3 cups sugar
½ teaspoon butter, to help reduce foaming
We really like how easy it is to make both jams and jellies in the freshTECH. Usually, I don’t like one use gadgets, but this machine really makes it so easy even my kids can make jam on their own. We also like that we don’t have worry about the cooking jelly over-boiling and making a mess on our stove.
They are all so good, you’ll never need to buy store bought jam again. What’s your favorite? Jam or jelly?
Michelle Marine is an Eastern Iowa based writer and content creator focusing on eco-conscious family living and travel. Simplify, Live, Love encourages busy families to lead healthier lives and to focus on what matters – good food, fun memories, and dear family and friends.