I recently picked up a special issue from Better Homes and Gardens all about canning. It has tons of recipes for jams, preserves, and pickles. Every group of fruits and vegetables are represented, and there are even two full pages of recipes for dealing with your surplus zucchini. The issue will be available until August 9th, so I recommend picking up a copy.
The first recipe I tried out of this new resource was for carrot cake jam. They recommend serving it on toast with a bit of cream cheese (since real carrot cake generally has cream cheese frosting). I’ve been having it on crackers, and it’s fantastic. I will say one thing about it; it’s extremely sweet. This is a jam to be used sparingly, not slathered heavily on your morning English muffin.
Because this recipe has a pretty high yield, I wound up getting myself an actual canning pot. It can process up to eight half pint jars at a time. The one problem with this is that our kitchen is currently plagued by a particularly small stove. As a result, the canning pot and the dutch oven I use to cook the jam do not fit on the burners at the same time. This made sterilizing and warming the jars while keeping the jam hot a tricky feat. I also happened to pick a 90° day to test out this new recipe. Between the bubbling jam and the steaming canning pot, it was not a comfortable experience. However, the end result was totally worth it.
I think the one flaw in this attempt at jam making was that I didn’t cook it quite long enough. In spite of having fantastic instructions on how to check to see if the jam is done, I completely ignored them and went purely on the cooking times given in the recipe. As a result, the jam isn’t quite as firm as it is supposed to be.This is also the first jam I’ve made using pectin, so I wasn’t entirely sure how precisely I had to adhere to the cooking times. Next time I’ll be sure to check how gelled it is before putting it in the jars.
The recipe yields seven half pint jars, so I’ve been handing jars out to my friends and family. They have been universally well received. I’m looking forward to using it as the jam for a batch of thumbprint cookies.