C-Jams

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Featured C-Jams: Blueberry Baby, Peaches and Spice...and everything nice, and Grape New Adventures

Yes, I wrote that. I'm embarrassed. Feel free to be embarrassed for me. 

C-Jams - it’s my boyfriend’s terrible pet name for me. He writes it on all of my things and I don't notice until I'm at work in a meeting, or pulling out my keys to open a door. Fun for him, not so fun for me. This weekend however, I embraced the name in a brand new way: I decided to give it away. I made some jam, some C-Jams as they will forevermore be called. Strategically passed on to these unfortunate, delicious jams, I have rid myself of this cringe-inducing nickname...I hope.

But I digress...

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The Jarmy standing at attention.

 

Recently I offered to host a baby shower for my cousin and I needed a great guest takeaway that would be meaningful and loving but wouldn't break the bank. I also wanted to make it local to be in line with my ideals. I also figured that babies are made locally and sustainably, it seems only fitting that their welcome celebration be as well. 

I've never made jam before. Well...once when I was 10 with my mom, but I mostly just did a lot of tasting. Thankfully, despite my inexperience, these ones turned out great! By using Niagara blue grapes and Ontario Greenbelt peaches and blueberries, all in season, all sweet and delicious, I was able to cut down on the sugar. In fact, I made the blueberry jam with no sugar at all. 

Most jam recipes call for around 7-8 cups of granulated white sugar (yuck!) As far as I understand it though, this incredibly large amount of sugar bonds with the pectin and creates the jelly-like substance that helps your jam stick together. But I've never been one to follow the rules. 

Who says it has to be completely hard? By reducing the sugar in both the peach and grape jams and eliminating it all together in the blueberry, these jams and a little pectin, jellied up moderately making them a multi-use jam/sauce/pancake topper that aren't unbearably sweet.

For my guests, I will provide some suggestions like, "use on crepes, ice cream or pancakes" for the blueberry, for the peach: "great with pork loin or bake with chicken," and for the grape, "use on toast, smoothies, or serve with your holiday turkey or...tofurky if that's your preference." 

I hope that my guests enjoy the jams as much as I enjoyed making them. As far as the name giveaway goes - here's to hoping it "sticks" to the jam. 

Now for some quick suggestions: 

There are a few things about the jam making process that can't be skipped if you want them to keep for more than 1 week: 

  • Make sure your mason jars are thoroughly washed and sterilized.
  • I suggest washing the glass and then baking the jars in your oven at 225F for 10 minutes at full heat to kill any bacteria. 
  • Boil water in a pot, bringing to a solid boil, turn off the heat and then put in your jar lids to sit until you are ready to use them.
  • It's important that both the jar and the lid be warm when pouring the jam into them so that the jars properly seal. 

Generally these are the rules with pectin: 

  • 2lbs of grapes to I box of pectin (I used 2 cups of sugar) 
  • 6 cups of peaches to 2 packs of liquid pectin + 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (I used 2 cups of sugar)
  • 4 cups blueberries to 2 packs of liquid pectin + 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (I used 1 cup of splenda) 

Most pectin come with measurement instructions for different fruits. The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook  is worth the read for different ideas and recipes.

Check out www.ontariotenderfruitproducers.comwww.ontarioberries.com, and Greenbeltfresh.ca for more information on what's available right now in Ontario's Greenbelt.

 

- Carla Balabanowicz, Communications Coordinator

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