jam days

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How did it start?

Last January on a Sunday morning before breakfast I looked for some jam. All I found was a single small jar filled w/ strawberry jam. My better half & I had run out of homemade jam – so early in the year.

What to do?

For the next weeks & months I bought jam in my trusted food store & I made plans for jam production later in the year. May arrived & I was tempted to buy preserving sugar. I decided to work w/ the 2:1 version meaning 1000 g fruit & 500 g preserving sugar. (Last year I had worked w/ the 1:1 version as well as w/ the 2:1 version of preserving sugar.)

Against the background of my empty jam pantry I got too enthusiastic & crammed my supermarket trolley w/ 6 packages of preserving sugar à 500 g. At home I asked myself what to do w/ such a lot of preserving sugar.



I always deal w/ homemade jam. I like it & sometimes I like to experiment w/ new fruit, new combinations of fruit, new add-ons like herbs or spices, liqueurs, vegetables ….

This time I preferred to produce straightforward jam, enough for the next 12 months i. e. until next jam season.


For the record:
My main jam season is spring to summer when all the red fruit like strawberries, raspberries … & yellow fruit like apricots, peaches … are fresh on the market. Sometimes I make some jam in autumn or winter, but that’s only out of a sudden inspiration for some experimental special jam.


So: what jam did I cook?

  • strawberries w/ raspberries
  • apricots w/ vanilla
  • white & yellow peaches, apricots, yellow nectarines w/ vanilla.

The last idea is a new combination: I call it simply summer jam. It’s a rather delicate flavor, fresh & light going fine w/ the 2:1 preserving sugar approach.


In addition: I thought this time of chunky jam. I didn’t mash any fruit, however, I only cut it into pieces i. e. no chopping, no mincing. Most of the fruit disintegrated during cooking.



My 1st batch resulted in 12 jam jars for 250 g each filled w/ a mess out of strawberries (clean, trimmed, hulled & halved) mixed w/ raspberries (pits in). I didn’t add any water, only preserving sugar.

Next process … Before starting I checked my empty jam jars & started w/ an assorted mix of empty jam jars (some for 250 g, some for 340 g, some for 400 g). I always store empty jam jars somewhere in my pantry. During the last months when there was no longer any homemade jam I could stock up on very new jam jars from buying jam in my trusted food store.


Before starting any jam cooking make sure that you’ve enough jam jars!
(Best are still jam jars w/ twist-off cap!)


Then I produced jam of apricots w/ vanilla. The apricots were cleaned, trimmed, pitted & quartered. I added 250 ml water & a slit vanilla bean to the fruit & the preserving sugar.

My summer jam:
I mixed some apricots, yellow peaches (peeled), white peaches (peeled) & nectarines (roughly peeled), all cut into pieces. Together w/ the preserving sugar I also had some water (250 ml).



I put the mess for each batch in a big pot & brought it to a boil. The jam has to be cooked for some minutes – the tip on the package of my preserving sugar recommended at least 3 min bubbly cooking of the mess. Then the mess was filled into the waiting (cleaned) jam jars, the twist-off cap at once on & the jam jar ended upside down until all the mess was at room temperature.


For the record:
You may do a test if the jam will get thick before filling the jam jars, however, I never had any trouble. Unless you don’t stick to the specification. It’s 500 g preserving sugar for 1000 g fruit or 800 ml fruit juice. Don’t use more fruit. Weigh the fruit exactly. Don’t fiddle about.
(… it’s always 1000 g – maybe 800 g fruit & 200 ml water!)


I store my jam jars in my pantry (cool, dark). There’s no need to store the jam jars in the fridge – until you open a jam jar.


For the record:
Each batch I made were 1000 g preserving sugar & 2000 g fruit resp. fruit & water. There is no problem to double the amounts i. e. working w/ 2 packages of preserving sugar.



… at the end: is it worth the trouble?

Approaching from the financial side I think homemade jam will cost about the same as a good quality store-bought jam. If you happen to have a garden supplying you w/ fruit it’s another calculation.

If you really like to know what’s in your jam you may only be sure – 100% – if you cook your very own jam.

If you like to stay real w/ flavors it’s the same. A homemade jam will never taste like a store-bought jam.

(I go for the flavor issue!)




jam days
Servings: 36 jam jars à 250 g
for the strawberry-raspberry jam:
  • 1800 g strawberries (cleaned, trimmed, hulled, halved)
  • 200 g raspberries (cleaned, with pits)
  • 1000 g preserving sugar (2:1)
for the apricot-vanilla jam:
  • 1750 g apricots (cleaned, trimmed, pitted, roughly chopped)
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 vanilla bean (cut lenghtwise)
  • 1000 g preserving sugar (2:1)
for the summer jam:
  • 1750 g mixed fruit (apricots, white & yellow peaches, yellow nectarines - all cleaned, trimmed, pitted & roughly chopped / peaches & nectarines maybe peeled)
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 vanilla bean (cut lengthwise)
  • 1000 g preserving sugar (2:1)
  • 36 jam jars w/ twist-off cap (250 g) OR
  • 21 jam jars w/ twist-off cap (450 g) OR
  • any mix of jam jars available ...
  • a large pot
how to:
for each jam:
  • Prepare the fruit.
  • Combine fruit & water (if planned).
  • Add preserving sugar & mix thoroughly.
  • Add vanilla bean (if planned).
  • Let the mess chill for about 1-2 h.
  • Clean the jam jars.
  • Bring the mess to a boil & cook for 3-5 min (depending on the recommendation on the package of your preserving sugar).
  • Discard the vanilla bean (if swimming in the mess).
  • Fill the jam into the jam jars, close the twist-off cap & put upside down.
  • Clean all jam jars (from splilled jam) as soon as the jam is at room temperature & store them in a dark & cool place.
Prep Time:
for strawberry jam: about 30 min
for apricot jam: about 45 min
for summer jam: about 60 min
Cook Time:
Follow the recommendation of the preserving sugar. It's about 3-5 min generally.
You may store the jam for at least 18 months in your pantry. You need to store the jam in your fridge after having opened a jam jar.


(information on equipment)



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keep it simple. be flexible. always.