I made jam.
I have a smile on my face that's as big as the bottle of jam I made. It seems to be there forever - almost looks like botox work on my face. Not that I need it - still have decades to get there. Really.
This is one other post where the key ingredient made it from the backyard into my pots and pans and finally into the fridge. And this time around, its actually from my neighbor's backyard. From their pomegranate tree.
Here are two wonderful pictures of my neighbors pom tree and also my persimmon tree. Do you see all the fruit there - this is actually after they plucked out most of the ripe fruit and she was sweet enough to share a whole bucket of them with me. Also, on my side of the yard, my persimmons are beginning to turn orange - some more time..and I'll have to make something interesting with it - maybe pie!
Here's the gorgeous fruit - up close and personal.
Actually there were a lot more seeds - but they disappeared somewhere while I was peeling the fruit. Hmm...I wonder where..Burp..
Before we get to the jam making process, here's a quick look into getting your jars ready to be filled with jam. Now, I did not follow the entire canning process - because really I don't think I need this to last more than 6 months - it would be a surprise if we go into the second month with leftover jam.
But if you would like to prepare a whole big huge batch of jam to store for months together, go here to this site and read all about the canning process. I even got the base recipe for the pomegranate jam from this site but modified it a little bit to match the quantities I have. This site 'PickYourown.org' is a great source for making jams and jellies - thanks to Blake who manages the very informative site! Eventually, I'll learn the canning process - and of course, you'll know when I do.
I did clean and sterilize the jars that I bought - which btw, with all my enthu, I ended up buying a 12 jar pack from Target. So, I do have 10 left. Now I'll have to come up with more ideas to fill those later! I sterilized about 3 jars - but did not even get that much jam. I was able to fill a couple of jars to the top. And then had almost enough to fill a third jar - but all of a sudden, there were a few kids surrounding me and they all wanted fresh toast with fresh jam! So that quantity became even less - and I just put the remaining hot jam in a container and handed it over to my neighbor - so she could enjoy the jam from her fruits!
To sterilize the jars, just wash them clean with soap and water and then rinse them in boiling water for about 3-4 mins each. You don't need fancy equipment to do this - our traditional Indian 'pakad' works great! Just take them out carefully, empty all the water and place upside down on a paper towel so that all the water drips out and the jar is clean.
Also sterilize the lids and screw tops similarly.
There, these are now ready to be filled.
So, let's get to the real stuff!
Just throw in all the pomegranate seeds into a blender- do not add any water. Just blend them well to a juice.
In order to strain the juice, place a colander over the pan you will be using to make the jam. And place a muslin cloth on top of the colander. Once again, no fancy equipment needed.
Now pour the juice in here and strain it well. Since this is a thick juice, you might have to lift up the muslin cloth and give it a couple of squeezes to strain out all the juice.
Now, I needed about 4 cups of juice. But, could get only about 2 1/2 cups from the fresh pomegranates. Hence, here's what I used with it - Strawberries!! Fresh from my farmers' market!
Same procedure - wash, cut, remove the green stem, and then add to a blender and make a juice out of the fresh fruit.
I just realized that this looks like there a lot of juice in here - actually there's only about 1 1/2 cup in here- the picture is taken while the blender is in action - hence you see the juice all the way up - its actually whirring inside there. Next time, I'll remember to take picture after the action is done!
Pour that too along with the pomegranate juice.
Mix gently with a spatula - this will also strain more juice to the pan below. Squeeze out all the remaining juice with the muslin cloth - it's ok if its a little thick.
There - all done! Love the color here..
Measure out the sugar amount exactly. How would you know how much sugar? Next step please..
Here - this is the magic ingredient. Pectin. This is what turns the fruit into jam. These are little inexpensive packs - about 2 bucks at Target. At the back of the box, there will be the exact measurements required for both the juice and the sugar. So, check there.
So, for this quantity of 4 cups juice, I needed 4 cups of sugar and 1 box of pectin. This is the amount mentioned for cooked jam - it does vary depending on the pectin too. So, do check for sure.
Now, take about a couple of tbsps of sugar and mix it dry with the pectin powder. You'll need to use the whole pack of pectin powder.
Now, mix the sugar-pectin dry powder to the juice in the pan and stir well so that no lumps are formed. Remember there is no heat yet - do this before you switch on the stove.
Once that's mixed well, switch on the stove and start boiling this juice. And I mean, boiling.
Let it rise as high it can get boiling.
And then add the rest of the sugar. I know its way too much sugar. But, we talking jam here. Not salads. So, sulk but still do it. Remember, you'll eat one spoon at a time - so sulk less and still do it.
Enjoy the instant change of color - from gorgeous to super gorgeous. Oh..I want to dance!!
Let this come to just one boil. If you're too picky and want a super clear jam, you can skim the bubbles off the top. Not me. I just left them there. It was still very pretty...you'll see. Switch off the stove now.
And pour immediately into the clean jars while its still liquidy - which won't be for long. If not, you'll regret having to break it. In just about 4-5 mins, you'll see that its begins to thicken up and turn into jam.
How do I know? Because I'm shameless. I scraped off the little bit sticking to the sides with my own piece of toast. You know..just to test.
And can you along with me, see how this is jelling up pretty? And no, I did not add the next picture where my pan is spanking clean even before it hits the sink! I know you'll judge me then!
Quick, close your eyes and scroll down slowly...
My friends, I present to you....
More taste testing going on all around the house and the streets!
You know I'm obssesed by now....
Want a bite?
Here are my two jars of delicious home made Pomegranate and Strawberry Jam...hopefully will last me a couple of days...jus kidding!
Of course, I have to show off...
Enjoy. Peace Out!