Homemade Jam, Jelly and Preserves!

Award winning jam | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

It is nearly August and I am almost settled in my new house. By settled I mean the boxes are thinning out and I can find my toothbrush, but there is a long road ahead of construction and plaster dust. I seem to remember my husband saying, some many years ago, that he would never live in an old house again. So, today, when I write to you from the living room of our new- very old house, built in 1902, I have to smile at what lies ahead and what a patient man he is. The house we bought was broken up into apartments and there is no way to get to the bedrooms on the second floor without leaving the house…at no point did we stop to think this was a bad idea. Instead, we moved in and figured we’d have a staircase built eventually. Then there is the matter of having 3 tiny kitchens on 3 different floors, which on paper seems luxurious, but in reality you really want all your kitchen equipment on one floor. So, we are faced with ripping out the kitchenS and starting new. This may strike the casual observer as being stressful, since I still have 3/4 of my kitchen “toys” in boxes and no certain plan. But, I remain convinced this was a good idea. Then it occurred to me that it is nearly August and I haven’t fulfilled a promise to myself…this was to be the summer I started canning and making jelly, jams and preserves. It just isn’t going to happen for me this year, but that shouldn’t stop any of you from doing it. In fact, it would be almost as good to live vicariously through your adventure with jars. And, if my friends and jam mentors Barb, Suvir and Jennifer, care to give me some of their bounty as house warming gifts, I will have my spoon at the ready, as soon as I find that box.

For their recipes to make Blue Ribbon Jam and Canned Blueberries…

The picture of Barb Schaller is from a post I did a few years ago, when she taught me how to make her blue ribbon jam. Some of you may recognize her from the recent Saveur State Fair article by Jane and Michael Stern.

Fresh blueberries | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

A couple of summers later, my friend Suvir taught me how to can blueberries. This recipe is so simple and absolutely lovely on toast or over ice cream. How to make Suvir’s canned Blueberries.

Homemade Jam and Jelly | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

My thinning jars of homemade jelly, jam and preserves. Next year I will fill my new house with jars and jars of my very own. This year I will build the kitchen to make that happen. Stay tuned and wish me luck.

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10 thoughts to “Homemade Jam, Jelly and Preserves!”

  1. OH

    What a delightful surprise to see this, Zoë! Thank you for mentioning it again. I have two weeks, I think, and then my canning entries are due at the fairgrounds. Yesterday I made cherry jam that would make you weep; today I made Plumm-m-m-m Jelly that would have YOUR mind going strong figuring a way to show it off best. Blue satin? Time will tell. I have miles to go before I sleep.

    Thanks again!

  2. Welcome back! These photos are luscious.
    Bubbles… go Bubbles go! Cherry jam that would make you weep. Wow.

  3. I remember reading the that post last year, great story and pics!
    You and your husband BOTH must have a lot of patience. Good luck with your new house!


  4. I would be HAPPY to fill some jars and send them your way as a house warming gift!! Will be the perfect thing to keep me busy, once I get back to sunny CA and can’t be with you in your new space here in MN! I can use all of those jars you just returned to me when we cleaned out your old kitchen! 😉 xo J

  5. I’ve been wanting to do peach preserves for a while (I’ve never “canned” before). I saw a canning kit at Target on sale last week and now your post on homemade preserves…it must be a sign.

  6. Anita, if you are in the Twin Cities — the Colorado peaches are available at Cub. I’ve made three batches yesterday and today — peach jam. Faboo. That Ball canning “kit” is okay — a nice intro to the science of canning, but DO get a Ball Blue Book for reference. Or look at http://www.nchfp.uga.edu. My go-to resource.

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