Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fresh & Easy Homemade Strawberry-Vanilla & Strawberry-Raspberry Jam & a Ball Jam & Jelly Maker Review



It's been a long,  seven week hiatus, of not being able to cook (let alone, bake), I finally made strawberry jam! If you've just landed on my blog, for the first time, the reason I'm so excited, is that I had a total knee replacement. I haven't been able to, comfortably, stand in my kitchen. Hence, I've missed not being able to cook for for my family-- and sharing my recipes with you.

Last year, I participated in National Can-It-Forward Day, sponsored by Ball Canning.  I had fun trying out their newest product, the Home Canning Discovery Kit.  

This Home Canning Discovery Kit is a terrific way for beginners to discovery that making your own jam is easy and fun to do!  The kit provides an easy and affordable way to start canning in just three simple steps. This kit is designed to demystify the home canning process and make fresh preserving accessible, for even the most novice canner. Whether a person has limited kitchen space or looks to preserve a handful of fresh produce from the farmer’s market, the kit offers a beginner’s approach to small-batch canning.

 

August 17th is National Can-It-Forward Day!


Ball Canning  are happy to announce the third annual National Can-It-Forward Day will be on Saturday, August 17th! In addition to our own canning experts, this year's event will star Food Network's Chopped host, two-time Emmy and James Beard award-winning chef and cookbook author, Ted Allen.
 
This year, Ball Canning will be broadcasting from Union Square Greenmarket in New York City from 10AM to 2PM EST. National Can-It-Forward Day lets everyone share the joy of fresh preserving. Whether you’re new to canning, a Master Canner, or curious to see else you can make with Ball® jars, they'll  have recipes and tips and tricks to help make fresh preserving easy, fun, and creative! 

You can watch a live Webcast, if you won't be in New York City by clicking here.

Last year, I saw their new "Jam & Jelly Maker", and I longed to own one.  Christmas arrived early for me, when Ball Canning sent me one of these to try, along with a supply of their Real Fruit Classic Pectin. Included with the Jam & Jelly Maker is a recipe book, with a selection of jam and jelly recipes to get me started.

My two favorite jams are Apricot-Pineapple and Strawberry.  I'm fortunate to have a produce farm that grows and sells certified organic product for the same price that pesticide-laden produce is sold at most big grocery chains.  We paid $14.00 for six generous pints of juicy, red, strawberries that were picked just that morning.  Since I already have traditional strawberry jam, and a Strawberry-Balsamic on my blog, I decided to make a Strawberry-Vanilla version. What do you know?!  Page 8 of the recipe booklet, that came with the jam maker, has such a recipe.  My husband set up the jam maker, and I washed and hulled 4 pints of berries.  I decided to make the reduced-sugar version (2 cups instead of 3 1/2 cups).

I crushed enough berries to equal 3-1/4 cups (about 4 pints), measured out 3 tablespoons of Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin, and 1/2 teaspoon of butter.  You turn the machine on, by pressing the "jam" button and the stirrer mixes the pectin and fruit.  Four minutes later, there's a beep that tells you to add your sugar (and, in this case, the vanilla bean paste).  The lid gets placed on, and you can go on to other things-- like cleaning up the kitchen. In my case, I prepared my jars by sterilizing them with the Discovery Kit basket (see below).


Instead of adding 1/4 a vanilla bean, I used my favorite Vanilla Bean Paste.  I have nothing against vanilla beans-- they're fantastic. But, they can be expensive and I don't always have them on hand.

I buy this product at my local Whole Foods, and it's less expensive than vanilla beans.  It has the texture of honey, and you can see flecks of vanilla beans.  The product still imparts that vanilla bean flavor.  One tablespoon of vanilla bean paste = 1 vanilla bean or one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.

I usually share step-by-step photos on how I make recipes. Instead, I will embed a video that shows you how easy and fast it is to make jam.  In 25 minutes, the jam maker beeped and I had a beautiful thick jam!

There are three ways to store the jam:
  • Ladle the hot jam/jelly into hot jars (never into cold jars, as they could crack), cool to room temperature, then  refrigerate and eat within 3 weeks
  •  Ladle the hot jam into hot jars (or into plastic freezer storage jars) and freeze for up to 1 year
  • Or, my favorite was is to "water can" the jam to preserve the jam/jelly to be stored in a cool, dry place. 
I do have a Ball Water Canning Kit, which is perfect for making large batches of jams, or jellies (and I can usually make 5-6 pints of jam/jelly at a time). It takes a lot of water and the pot is really big!  The Jam & Jelly Maker makes a small batch of product-- 2 pints total. I used 4 1/2-pint jars, which fits perfectly in my Discovery Kit basket, along with  stock pot. I sterilize my jars by bring them to a boil. There is a handle so you can just lift the entire basket out, to drain, but I use my "jar lifter".

 The jars are nice a hot, so I ladled the jam, using a funnel
.

Once all the jars were filled, I returned them to the "basket" and brought the water to a gentle, steady boil. After 10 minutes, I turned off the heat, removed the lid and let the jars stand for 5 minutes. The lids are self-sealing, and I love hearing that metallic "pop" as each jar is all set for room temperature storage.

The jam maker was so easy to use, and so much fun, that I waited 30 minutes for the machine to cool so I could make another flavor of jam. On a whim, I crushed 2 pints of raspberries and enough strawberries to equal 2 2/3 cups.  This time I used the traditional recipe by adding 3 1/3 cups sugar, and a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.  25 minutes later, I had four more jars of jam-- with a different flavor. Fun, fun, fun!

TASTING NOTES:  My husband liked the reduced-sugar Strawberry-Vanilla. The notes of vanilla were subtle and a perfect balance. The jam wasn't as sweet as we're used to, but that's not a bad thing.  I absolutely loved the Strawberry-Raspberry Vanilla jam! Craig thought it was a little tart, but I disagree. I don't mind raspberry seeds, but there are some folks who don't like that-- so be forewarned!

JAM MAKER REVIEW:  I found that the jam/jelly maker was really user-friendly. It's important to know that you need to use only the Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin. Using any other brand can't guarantee perfect results.  Both jams turned out to be thick, and gorgeous in color.   Just know, that you will not get more than 2 pints of jam, per batch.  I don't mind, one bit, because I have so many flavors that I'd love to create.  In fact, I'm anxious to find sugarless fruit juices so I can create some jelly flavors-- starting with traditional grape jelly!  My son asked me if the machine is worth $99.00.  (The last that I looked, it is on sale on Amazon for $74.99)  That's a tricky answer.  I'd say, if it's in your budget, and you've always wanted to make your own jam (or are an experienced canner, and don't mind the small batch yield), go for it!  It's pretty fool-proof.  It cleans up so easily, as the pot has a non-stick coating.

This morning, I baked Vanilla Bean Scones, to enjoy the homemade jam.


If you've always wanted to learn how to make your own homemade jams, but don't want to make a big investment, I'd start with the Home Canning Discovery Kit.   

The Giveaway
Ball Canning has offered to send a Home Canning Discover Kit and coupons for a case of canning jars and some canning suplies.  To enter all you need to do is:


  • Leave a comment below, and tell me what your favorite jam or jelly flavor(s) is/are.
  • Get additional entries by:
  • "Liking"  Ball Canning on their face book, and leave a comment that you have done so.
  • Tweet this giveaway on twitter and mention @ballcanning, and leave a comment that you have done so
  • "Like" my Facebook Fan Page, and leave a comment that you have done so. (If you're already a member, thank you, and just leave a comment here.)

Entries have closed as of Friday, August 16th at 8:00pm PST. The winner will be announced soon.
DISCLOSURE: Though Ball Canning is sponsoring my giveaway, and provided the Jam & Jelly Maker and canning supplies, my opinions are my own. 

Be sure to mark your calendars for National Can It Forward Day .  I watched it, last year, and learned a lot of great tips on canning.

Here's the video on how the Ball Jam & Jelly Maker Works.  The recipe cards, for the jams that I made are below.


I'm so happy to be back in the kitchen again!







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72 comments:

Kat said...

My all time favorite jam is strawberry. YUM! :)

Kat said...

I liked Ball Canning on Facebook. I've always been interested in canning, I was just never confident enough to try it. Now I will have to give it a shot.

Kat said...

I have tweeted about this giveaway.
https://twitter.com/Kaytee661/status/366753742416134144

Kat said...

I already like and follow you on Facebook :)

Ally said...

I like and follow you on FB

Ally said...

I liked Ball Canning on FB

Ally said...

My favorite is Thai strawberry jam!

john hutchens said...

My favorite jam is blueberry

john hutchens said...

I like ball canning on facebook

john hutchens said...

tweeted https://twitter.com/johnhutchens1/status/366763507632439299

john hutchens said...

liked A Feast for the Eyes Food Blog on facebook

Smirky O'Ferrell said...

Wonderful post! I'm excited to try these recipes! I've never done "real" canning - only freezer jam. I could really use this kit!

Linda N said...

I like strawberry jam.

Linda N said...

I liked Ball Canning on Facebook.

Big Dude said...

Homemade jams and jellies always look so god, but since neither of us eat them much a jar will last a year. best to leave me out of the drawing.

Martha in Georgia said...

I love strawberry preserves and your newest recipe looks amazing. I'd love to make it but must first get some vanilla bean paste.

Martha in Georgia said...

I am a follower on Facebook.

Bonnie said...

Glad to have you back blogging. I love making blackberry jalapeno jam.

Eileen K said...

Good old fashioned blueberry jam is my absolute favorite! Just made a batch this weekend. Delish!

Anonymous said...

My Mom and the four of us girls made all sorts of jam growing up in Canada. Fruit from the Okanagan Valley in BC was the best! Now I live in SOCAL and would love to start again.
]Glad to have you back Debby
!

Lori Stilger said...

Good morning! :) My favorite jam is peach-strawberry. YUM. :) Thanks for the generous giveaway! :)

Lori Stilger said...

I, too, have liked Ball Canning on FB. I participated in CAN IT FORWARD two years ago - wish canning wasn't quite as expensive...

Lori Stilger said...

AND I now like you on FB, too! :) Have a wonderful day!

dont have one said...

Love Peach jam. Im a follower of you on FB

Wave Watcher said...

So glad to hear you are feeling better. My current favorite jam is olallieberry, but it used to be strawberry. Your post with vanilla in it sounds delicious. Will go to farmers' market soon to try out the recipe.

Lindsay said...

My favorite is raspberry :)

Jennie35 said...

My favorite is raspberry!

Rita Strong said...

My favorite is strawberry :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love canning. We have a fig tree and every fall I make batches and batches of fig jam. Thanks for a chance to win. jamiehershberger@comcast.net

Heather Lynn said...

I love cherry vanilla jam. It is sour yet sweet.

Heather Lynn said...

I like ball canning on facebook.

Heather Lynn said...

i like you on facebook.

SolDucky said...

I love peach jam, and strawberry jelly.

SolDucky said...

I liked Ball Canning on FB as sarah s.

SolDucky said...

Liked you on FB as sarah s!

Kate said...

Hands down, our favorite is raspberry-red currant. My own concoction & delicious!

Kate said...

I liked you on FB!
kabowddoxaATyahooDOTcom

Christine said...

Wow between you and the video, it looks so easy. I've always shied away from the hot process canning for some reason. This is amazing! I'd love to give it a shot.

Joanne said...

I am so amazed at your jam-making skills! These flavors sound awesome.

Christine said...

I already liked you on Facebook. Oh, and my fav jam is raspberry (with cream cheese on a croissant).

Lynn said...

Fig jam, whether laced with something or in the buff is top on my list. Although my strawberry rhubarb was't shabby this year ;-) I saw a Thai Strawberry listed as Ally's favorite here. Would be interested to know what she adds to make it Thai. Keep on canning!

Melinda said...

Okay, I liked Ball Canning on FB. Also, my favorite jam/jelly is Schwartau extra Rosehip jam. There is nothing quite like it. I have made strawberry preserves in the past, but each time the preserves were too sweet for me. I think I'll give your recipe a try. Thanks!

Terri B said...

I love blackberry jam!

vklmarie78@gmail.com

Pat said...

I liked Ball Canning on Facebook and I have always wanted to learn how to can like my grandmother. I have all her old canning jars in my shop but haven't gotten around to using them.

Pat said...

My grandmother made some killer pickles that I remember from my childhood.

Debby said...

My favorite is apple pie jam. I would love to be able to make it myself.

AnnaZed said...

I'm a complete fool for strawberry jam.


~~~~~~~
margueritecore@gmail.com

AnnaZed said...

I like Ball Canning on Facebook where I am Margot Core.

~~~~~~~
margueritecore@gmail.com

AnnaZed said...

I already liked you on Facebook where I am Margot Core. (I hope that counts)

~~~~~~~
margueritecore@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

sour cherry is my favorite jam :)

fruitcrmble AT comcast DOT net

Pink and Green Mom said...

Ive been dying to try canning for a while but just have been nervous to do it so this would be amazing! My favorite is strawberry jam so that would be the first thing I would try!

Pink and Green Mom said...

I follow Ball on Fb! Natasha stroud hoover

Pink and Green Mom said...

I like you on FB!

Anonymous said...

My favorite jam is strawberry!
bjn1957{at}gmail{dot}com

Bill said...

I grew up always having access to my any number of jams and jellies that my grandmother made. I've never made any and you've motivated me to try. This strawberry jam looks fabulous!

Susan C said...

Peach jam, Strawberry, and Orange Marmalade are my favorites.

Susan C said...

Like Ball Canning on Facebook

BlessieNelson said...

I love mango jams!

BlessieNelson said...

like Ball on FB - Blessie Nelson

BlessieNelson said...

Tweeted
https://twitter.com/Bless_Eliz/status/367911807190437888

BlessieNelson said...

I like you on FB - Blessie Nelson

Danielle Imstuffed said...

I love making jam! My favorite is strawberry. Never thought about adding raspberries to my recipe though...YUM!!

Danielle Imstuffed said...

I'm already a fan of yours on facebook :)

Danielle Imstuffed said...

I already "like" Ball Canning on facebook :)

Danielle Imstuffed said...

I tweeted it :)

sharonjo said...

My son's girlfriend made us some strawberry-rhubarb jam this summer. It was delicious--my new favorite! Thank you for a lovely giveaway.

sharonjo at gwtc dot net

sharonjo said...

I follow Ball Canning on facebook.
(Sharon O.)

sharonjo at gwtc dot net

sharonjo said...

Tweet: https://twitter.com/sharonjo2/status/368192151168880640

sharonjo at gwtc dot net

sharonjo said...

I follow you on facebook.
(Sharon O.)

sharonjo at gwtc dot net

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

You've brought back wonderful memories for me of my mother canning homemade blackberry jelly. I've never attempted canning anything. Funny, National Canning Day is also my birthday ;)
Sam

Anonymous said...

The jam jelly maker looks good, but I dont think I want anything cooked in non-stick anything.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Anonymous:
Times have changed. It used to be that if you heated non-stick at too high a temperature, it was believed that toxic fumes could cause harm. Technology is much different, and the jam maker doesn't get that hot. Suit yourself, but I'm still alive and well to tell the story!