Jamming Away


After several weeks at the beach I have returned to regular life in Winter Park. I needed to get back to my New 58 list before I turn 59. I have a few months before that happens.

Number 19 is learning to make homemade jam. I took a brief class from Heavens to Betsy and the Winter Park Library on Jam making, so I had some ideas where to begin.

I goggled the subject of canning and jam making, watched a video and felt ready.

My friend Pam and I purchased the tools necessary. We read all about the reactive pan that should be used and non-reactive pans. Together we produce our first batch of Blueberry/Blackberry/Raspberry jam.

Another friend Bonnie supervises and chats as we cook jars and mash berried. We scoop the hot magic liquid in the jars and boil as directed. What fun. The jam is tasty and beautiful. The batch is small but successful.

So now that I am home alone, I decide to make more jam.

Solo. It has been a month or more sense the class, so I am a bit concerned. Can I remember all the tips?

I pull the tools from the pantry. I read the tips from Betsy. Yes I am ready. I turn on Pandora and begin to read the directions on the pectin Sure Jell package.

No, no music, I have to concentrate. I could kill someone with a bad batch of jam not preserved correctly.

The water is boiling the jars, the berries are being mashed. The jam jars are getting filled and yes, they are clicking when I remove them from the hot bath happened. Sealed all 12. Yippee.

I take some quick photos and send to my daughter. I send an update to Pam on my new jam. She will be proud of me. I am not exactly known as a domestic goddess.

After several hours, I toast some bread and taste the new jam. Perfect. Pretty too. I think to my self about how I will decorate the jars. I will send a jar to my sister. Oh a jar to a friend who is sick. Yes, I will blog about it. Maybe we can have a jam making party?

So I look up the link about making jam for this blog. I panic as I read the first paragraph. It talks about the non-reactive pans and how you must use it to cook berries. What? I forgot about the nonreactive pan. I used my favorite saucepan.

What if I have polluted the berries? What if it makes someone sick? I read other blogs about canning. All mention the nonreactive pan for cooking berries. Yikes. Maybe it is for the safe purification of the sauce? I can’t tell why it is required.

I call Betsy. She is the expert. Her colleague says she is traveling. I tell her my concern. She agrees, it could be dangerous. I text Betsy. I look up her website. Trying to find any answers. I move the beautiful prized jam jar into the refrigerator; just to be sure there is no spoilage.

Oh no, I can’t tell anyone what I have done. I will throw it all out and make new before I let anyone know it was a failed attempt. I begin to get used to the idea that the jam is not good.

Then the phone rings, its Betsy. I pour the details out about the wrong kind of pan. She calmly answers, it’s all fine. The ideas are to keep the flavor richer, purer. A calmer flavor.

Heavens to Betsy, My jam is fine.


If you are interested in making jam too, here is a link to Betsy’s website: http://www.heavenstobetsywp.com/

Also, here is a link to the Winter Park Library. They have some great classes: http://www.wppl.org/


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1 Comment

  • Betsy, Heavens to Betsy August 17, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    So happy to help! For anyone else who is confused about which kind of pan to use when jamming, here is the info: A reactive pan is one that contains metals that might interact with certain foods. Aluminum, cast iron, and unlined copper are all examples of reactive metals. Pans made of these materials conduct heat very well and are ideal for cooking rice, melting sugar, and pan-browning meat. But you should avoid cooking acidic foods such as fruit preserves and tomato sauce in pans like these, as the metal can alter the color and flavor of the dish. Stainless steel and tin (including tin-lined copper) are examples of nonreactive metals. You can use these pans for all kinds of foods, though you may not get the heat conductivity of copper or cast iron.

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