Homemade jams, jellies and spreads are a great way to preserve the taste of summer for year round enjoyment. They are an easy introduction to home canning, because they require only a short time in a water bath canner, and the acidity and sugar in fruit makes it naturally resistant to spoilage. Because canned products are shelf-stable, you don't need to give up valuable freezer space.
Unlike some store products that use high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors or colors, you know exactly what goes into every jar of your home canned goodies. You can use less sugar, honey, or no added sugar at all. If you're in a hurry during harvest season, most fruits can be frozen and made into jam, jelly or spread at a later date – like mid-winter when it's cooler, just in time for gift giving. Even the littlest kitchen helpers can contribute to preparation by picking, removing stems or doing some smashing and straining.
I've gathered together over 20 homemade jam, jelly and spread recipes that are featured on our site; nine tips for perfect homemade jams, jellies and spreads; and a free printable recipe guide from Pomona's Pectin. Enjoy, and happy canning!
Other Homemade Spreads
9 Tips for Perfect Homemade Jams, Jellies and Spreads
- Don't swap pectin types without adjusting your recipe. Always follow the cooking directions for the type of pectin your are using.
- Don't overcook! Overcooking cooks off some of the lovely fruit aroma, changes the flavors because the sugar gets caramelized, and breaks down the pectin.
- Don't make double batches! You will get the best quality by cooking in smaller batches and bringing the mixture to a boil as quickly as possible.
- White cane sugar provides the most consistent results for preserving because it dissolves better and crystallizes less. Using beet sugar may cause “weeping” of finished jams and jellies. If your sugar isn't clearly marked “cane sugar” odds are it's beet.
- Natural sweeteners such as honey and other unrefined sweeteners may cause changes in coloration or cloudiness, but as long as you're not entering in the county fair, this usually isn't a problem.
- Honey tastes roughly twice as sweet as sugar, so adjust recipes accordingly.
- Maple syrup cannot be substituted for honey as a sweetener in canning, because it is alkaline, not acidic, and may result in unsafe canning conditions.
- Underripe fruit has a higher pectin content. If you're making a jam or jelly without added pectin, make sure some of your fruit is less ripe to help with jelling.
- Liquid pectins may contain preservatives like sodium benzoate or sulfites. Sodium benzoate may form benzene (a carcinogen) in combination with vitamin C, which is found in many fruits. Sulfites may be dangerous for sensitive individuals. (This is the main reason I stick to powdered pectin or no added pectin.)
FREE Jam and Jelly Making Guide from Pomona's Pectin
You can download a free set of pdf instructions for making and creating your own low and no-sugar jams and jellies with Pomona’s Pectin by clicking on the image or text below. Shared with permission from Pomona’s Pectin.
Here are some of my favorite canning tools and resources:
I hope you've enjoyed the post. Don't forget to Pin for later. Which jams and jellies are your favorites?