Posted in Food/Wine (and preserving)

Jammin’ (or attempting rather)


My first year of making jelly was lovely.  I made dandelion jelly with a bit of orange essence and it turned out amazingly delicious.  It also gave me a false sense of “Oh, this is easy!”  The next years of jam making have been an utter fail.  We drizzle syrup on our toast rather than slather on thick jelly.


Peach butter, burnt.  Apricot jam, syrup.  Ginger Peach jam, syrup.  Cardamom Pear jam, syrup.  Chokecherry jam, syrup (albeit scrumptious!).  I do wonder if it is because of my problem with recipe following.  I am able to can any number of delicacies because it is quite difficult to mess it up.  Pressure cook for this long plus added minutes for altitude, make sure everything that is acidic stays together if one is water bath canning, etc.  I know the salt and lemon juice ratios to make sure that spoilage doesn’t occur.  Jam just irritates me.


Exactly 4 cups of fruit with exactly 3 cups of sugar, with exactly 2 T of lemon juice, and exactly 1/2 ts of salt.  BUT, I have two tons of cherries and no time or patience to spend four days canning small batches of jam!  So, my friend directed me to a recipe that is very lax.  Use as many cherries as you can fit in the pan with room for bubbling.  Add 3/4 that amount of sugar.  Add some salt and lemon juice and rind.  Boil, boil, boil.  Can.  Easy!  I now have eleven jars of delicious cherry….syrup!



Katie Lynn Sanders is the author of seven books, has been a speaker on sustainable living, and loves all things wine, regenerative agriculture, homesteading, travel, food, arts, crafts, books, and finding enchantment and inspiration in the smallest things. She lives on a one acre farm and vineyard, Pumpkin Hollow Farm, with her husband, fourteen chickens, three ducks, a giant Pyrenees, two goats, five cats, and visiting children and grandchildren in southern Colorado.

10 thoughts on “Jammin’ (or attempting rather)

  1. we use pectin in ours just to help them set up its the only thing that is even remotely related to being chemical. I am trying to find an alternative thickening agent that doesn’t have any flavor…

    1. Oh, believe it or not, I messed up even with commercial pectin! I guess I need to make the smaller batches they say to. That is probably the secret!

      1. Did you dissolve the pectin with lemon juice? it seems to me that as I have been learning that it makes a difference

  2. TY Katie for all your interesting posts. I give you a lot of credit for being honest about all your trials and tribulations! I’ll never can anything (of this I’m sure! LOL) or try to put up preserves, but nevertheless … I hope your next go-around is totally successful. 😉

  3. You could probably just upscale! 11 1/4 cups of sugar per bag of sugar. A 2 Quart pitcher is 8 cups, and a 5 gallon bucket is about 20 quarts. To make a five-gallon bucket of fruit’s worth of jelly you’d need;

    5 gallons of fruit, 10 and 2/3rd bags of sugar, 5 cups lemon juice, 6 and 2/3rd tablespoons salt.

    Have you tried doing that?

  4. Don’t feel bad – I have a whole cupboard full of burnt blackberry jam from last season. No one will eat it on toast, but I refuse to throw it out so I’m slowly eating it myself with yogurt. We’ll have blackberries on again before I’m done!

    Most canning recipes that involve some sort of thickening process don’t scale up well, unfortunately. I took one of my recipes to a food scientist at a local college hoping I could just scale up my recipe to sell it commercially – no go. If I want to produce it commercially I have to make some changes from grandma’s recipe.

    I guess we’re just stuck making a million batches in a hot kitchen!

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