Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Filling and Processing the Jars

Now the fun part!

When you've tested for gel point and your jam is ready, turn on the burner for your processing pot to get the water boiling. You will need a deep pot for processing the jars. The water needs to completely cover the top of the jars once submersed by 1-2" and they need to boil for 5-10 minutes. This is also referred to as a water bath.

Remove the warm jars from the dishwasher; I usually place them on a towel. Fill the jars leaving ~ 1/4" of space at the top. In other words, don't fill them right to the brim! I use a favorite measuring cup that pours easily for this. If you have a jar funnel you can use, great. If you have left over jam, and not enough jars, no problem. Just place the jam in a clean container, refrigerate and use it!
  • Wipe the edge/rim of the jars with a clean cloth to guarantee a good seal.
  • Lift the warm lids from the simmering pot using tongs and place them on the jars.
  • Screw on the rings but only fingertip tight. Do not over tighten.
  • Please note: You can place a rack in the bottom of the pot. Although I have done it without one, it is quite noisy and there is a risk of jar breakage. A few pieces of silverware will do the trick too. Here's one idea for a rack that might work for the bottom of your processing pot. It's called a steaming rack.

  • Once the water in your processing pot is boiling, lower the jars into the boiling water using tongs.
  • Once you have them all in and the pot returns to a boil, cover the pot and boil for 5-10 minutes depending on what the recipe calls for.

  • Place a clean towel on the counter (close to an out of the way corner) to place the jars on. You don't want them to come in contact with a cold countertop and possibly break.
  • Carefully remove the jars using the tongs and place them on the towel. Slide the towel out of the way so as not to disturb the jars.
  • Don't tighten the lids or move the jars for 12-24 hours. This will allow the seals to set.

As the jars adjust to the room temperature and seal, they will pop! It's a very nice sound. Some will pop right away, some will take a few minutes. I always like to count the pops just for fun.

After the 12-24 hours have passed you can now test the seals. You can gently press down on the lid with one finger. If the lid doesn't flex or pop, good seal! You can also remove the rings and gently try to lift the lid. If the lid doesn't move, good seal!

You're done!

Next I will post the grape jam recipe and several others.

Thanks for reading,

Please see earlier posts shown below for step-by-step instructions from the very beginning.

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