Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homemade Honeydew Jam

I love homemade jam. I remember picking strawberries as a kid and watching my mom and grandma make jar after jar of jam. But I remember making the jam looked complicated and dangerous (hot).

Two years ago, I visited with my grandmother while she was making a small batch of jam for a neighbor. I realized that jam making is not that difficult or that complicated. So last year I made several batches of delicious Plum Jam and Plum with Nectarine Jam. I think I made too many, because we still have several jars left! Oops.

But that didn't stop me from making more this year! I tried something new- I made Honeydew Jam.

Here is how I did it, with the recipe below.

I can according to my grandmother. I know that the books, the Internet and even the pectin instructions tell me to boil the jars of jam, but I never do because Grandma never does. I have never canned anything besides jam, so when I get to something else, I will ask grandma what she does follow her lead.

To make your own homemade canned jam without added pectin:
  1. Buy some canning jars. Wash them well.
  2. Cut up your fruit. I cut up one honeydew and got 4 Cups.
  3. Smoosh the fruit.
  4. Add fruit and other ingredients to pot. (In this case, the other ingredients were 1/2 Cup Honey, 1 Cup Sugar, 3 Tbsp lemon juice)
  5. Let fruit sit for several hours, until a syrup forms. (I don't know if mine got to syrup consistency. I started Step 6 after 4 hours of sitting.)
  6. Bring fruit mixture to a boil and then simmer for 45 -55 minutes until thickened. Remove white foam that comes to the top.
  7. Meanwhile, set up your station for easy canning. I set mine up like this:
  8. Heat up your clean jars in a small water bath like so: When the inside of the jar is steamy and hot it is ready to be filled with jam. Do not boil though.
  9. Transfer jars one at a time and fill with hot fruit mixture.
  10. Put on lids, but no too tight or you will break the seal. Flip jars over to keep in heat which will help ensure sealing. As you can tell, I need to work on my consistency.
I made this jam over Memorial Day weekend. However, my jam is not set yet. It is still very liquidy. Perhaps I should have been like Grandma (she always uses pectin). Never stray from Grandma people!

However, I have not lost hope yet. A few of my Plum jams didn't set right away last year, and I just left the unset ones in the fridge for a few weeks and they set. So don't count these Honeydew Jams a total failure yet . . . only time will tell.

If you want to try this - but with storebought pectin, you can use this recipe and then cook accourding the the instructions found within the pectin box.

After reading this again- I can understand why this might seem complicated and difficult. I promise it isn't. It is fun!


DomesticDivasFancy said...

Ohhh! Can you make jam out of any fruit? I have always wanted to learn how! Thanks for the post, as soon as my strawberries grow I will have to try this. Yum!

a H.I.T. said...

I've wanted to do this for awhile, but it always seems so difficult! Maybe I'll give it a try one weekend this summer :)

Ashley @ The Happy Little Home said...

This looks so good! I'm on a total melon kick lately. I can't wait to give this a try :)

Lucy Marie said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I think my Saturday might be planned for me if I can get back into town to get another honeydew.

Kimberly said...

Hope they jell up! I never would have thought of honeydew. I did plum, peach and strawberry last year for the first time.

Snow White said...

fun! you can add a bit of apple (it has natural pectin) to help jams set too.

ps - love the new header :)

My name is PJ. said...

LOVE your header change! You could be Liv Walton. Are you too young to know the Waltons? I love all these recipes! Thanks!

Kayla said...

First of all, this looks delicious! 2nd, yes... He has some pretty cool toys, but that's only until we have kids! He's going through his "mid-life crisis" now so that he doesn't have to do it later... haha

Emily said...

Um...that sounds scrumptious.
I've never even thought of turning melon into jam...but what a great idea.
I did the same thing a couple of years ago and have so much still. I haven't bought jam in AGES!!!
I use the same method...kinda.
I don't handwash the jars though, I run them through the dishwasher on the sanitize they are piping hot when they come out. I just boil the lids slap 'em on there, and turn them upside down for 5 min.
I'm sure that was handed down from one of my grandma's too :)
I'll have to try melon jam though, great idea!

Unknown said...

I see that Taryn stopped updating some years ago, but maybe she's still making jam, and/or other people might read this from time to time.

"I know that [everything tells me to ] boil the jars of jam, but I never do because Grandma never does." Um, y'know, Grandmother is not always going to be right; that's a pretty poor reason to do something. However, in this case, you just haven't found the right instructions. What you're doing is "inversion canning," and it is indeed a standard practice. You can ONLY do it with jams and jellies in little jars.

And thus, step 10: "Flip jars over to keep in heat which will help ensure sealing." Nope. Flipping them doesn't change the heat retention at all, nor does it help ensure sealing. What it does is sterilize the lid. Flipping the jar is why you don't have to actually process the jars in boiling water, and it only works if the stuff you're sealing is already hot, like hot jelly or jam.

The jam didn't set? Not surprising. Plums have a lot more pectin in them naturally than melon does. You can make jam, jelly, or preserves out of pretty much any fruit in the world, but if you want it to gel, you have to have the right balance of pectin, sugar, and water (from the fruit), and every fruit has a different amount of pectin in it naturally.

Apples and plums don't need any extra pectin. Peaches need one pouch of liquid pectin per quart of fruit. Green pepper jelly calls for one package powdered pectin. Blackberry or cherry jelly needs twice that amount of pectin. I haven't found a melon jelly recipe yet, but I'll bet melons are a very low-pectin fruit.