Wash and rinse all fruits thoroughly before cooking. Do not soak. For best flavor, use fully ripe fruit. Remove stems, skins, and pits from fruit; cut into pieces and crush. For berries, remove stems and blossoms and crush. Seedy berries may be put through a sieve or food mill. Measure crushed fruit into large saucepan using the ingredient quantities specified in Table 1.
Add sugar and bring to a boil while stirring rapidly and constantly. Continue to boil until mixture thickens. Use one of the following tests to determine when jams and jellies are ready to fill. Remember to allow for thickening during cooling.
Refrigerator test: Remove the jam mixture from the heat. Pour a small amount of boiling jam on a cold plate and put it in the freezing compartment of a refrigerator for a few minutes. If the mixture gels, it is ready to fill.
Remove from heat and skim off foam quickly. Fill sterile jars with jam. For more information see "Sterilization of Empty Jars". Use a measuring cup or ladle the jam through a wide-mouthed funnel, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. Recommended process times are listed in Table 2.
|Table 1. Ingredient Quantities.|
|Fruit||Cups Crushed Fruit||Cups Sugar||Tbs. Lemon Juice||Yield (Half-pints)|
|Apricots||4 to 4-1/2||4||2||5 to 6|
|Berries*||4||4||0||3 to 4|
|Peaches||5-1/2 to 6||4 to 5||2||6 to 7|
|* Includes blackberries, boysenberries, dewberries, gooseberries, loganberries, raspberries, and strawberries.|
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Jams without Added Pectin in a boiling-water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|Hot||Half-pints or pints||5 min||10||15|
|Table 3. Temperature Test - Use a jelly or candy thermometer and boil until mixture reaches the following temperatures at altitudes of:|
|Sea Level||1,000 ft||2,000 ft||3,000 ft||4,000 ft||5,000 ft||6,000 ft||7,000 ft||8,000 ft|
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture
Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2015.
Reviewed March 2017.