My parents have an amazing amount of food goodies, but mostly they freeze everything. They have a much bigger house than yours truly (my jars are soon going to have to go under the bed), and a cabin. They have three deep freezers full, and last week, we traded some canned yumminess for a few bags of frozen things. I traded a quart of chicken stock, two pints of beans, a half pint of cherry jam, and a pint of strawberry jam for deer sausage, deer burger, some zucchini, and…the Holy Grail of produce…cherries.
I let the cherries thaw, and got everything ready to make cherry jam: water bath canner, jam pot, pot for the lids to simmer, rings, jar lifter, pectin, etc. I sit down to pit the cherries and realize….these are not the cherries I’m looking for.
My cherries are red grapes. 😦 I hate red grapes. Grape jelly really needs concord grapes.
I tossed the grapes, but I had my heart set on canning something so…my old fail safe: Wrangler Jam.
A while back, I scored a crazy good deal on canned pineapple: the big cans for only 50 cents each! So, of course, I bought thirty! And then realized I had nowhere to put them. So they sat on my counter for a long time. Whenever I have time and a few jalapenos, I make Wrangler Jam. Slowly, the stack of cans is becoming jars of jam in my canning pantry.
You can find the original recipe for it at SB canning, a great website for canning recipes. This time, I used some jalapenos I had dried. I think it turned out even better, because the powder is much finer and easier to spread throughout the jam.
One 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (I guess…the recipe doesn’t say, but that’s what I use)
Four cups of sugar (I always use three though)
A box of pectin, but I use the low sugar pectin. I used four tablespoons full.
Red pepper flakes.
Let it come to a full boil. It won’t take long because of all the sugar. Be careful, because jam is HOT if it gets on your skin. Then, add the pectin, and allow it to come back to a full boil quickly. Pectin is destroyed by slow-cooking. Stir frequently, and get those hot jars ready to go (use the jar lifter!)
Ladle the jam into the jars, add the lids, and the rings, and pop them back into the canner. Process at a full boil for ten minutes.
When working with jam, you want to work quickly so the jam doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot and scorch it. 😦 I ruined a stock pot that way. Use cheap pots and pans until you get the hang of it.
I did two batches of the recipe to get the jars pictured above. With almost any other recipe, you can double or triple it with no problems, but not jam. The pectin won’t set right. These are all great, and were set (ie jelly-like and not syrupy-like) within a couple of hours.
What can I do with this jam? It is great mixed with cream cheese on crackers. I gave some to my dear friend, and she used it as a glaze on salmon. Anywhere you have a need for sweet and spicy, use this! It would probably also be good on a bagel with cream cheese.