Being immersed in the world of food can offer some cool opportunities. Over the last year I have met some really neat people who do really neat things with food. Through my blog posts, you’ve seen me try my hand at canning and preserving and I even own the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, but I’m merely an amateur at this whole canning business. So, when a friend of mine from WWRC (Women Who Really Cook) told me she was teaching an upcoming canning class at Cooks of Crocus Hill and asked me to come over for a test run; I was thrilled at the prospect of learning from someone who has been doing it for years.
Jill Jacoby grew up on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota where she was introduced her to canning as a way to preserve unused produce on the farm. Throughout childhood she competed in 4-H and perfected her jam making process. Since moving to Minneapolis, Jill has been gleaning fruit (using fruit that would otherwise go to waste) and turning it into creative jams and jellies to sell at farmers markets under the Jilla Jellys name.
When I arrived at her house, Jill was already prepping the fruit and informed me that we’d be making a blueberry-nectarine jam as she found some nectarines that were “just ripe”, which makes for a flavorful jam.
The process was pretty simple and not as precise as I had originally thought because most fruits can be water canned safely. However, there are still rules to follow in sterilization, time and temperature when canning. The blueberries and nectarines were boiled with sugar, pectin, and calcium.
After a few taste tests to make sure the sugar levels were okay, we poured the jam into jars and sealed them for storage.
Jill gave me some blueberry-nectarine jam to take home under the promise that I’d let it sit for a few months and then check the quality. However, based on my taste tests, the jam was just too dang good to keep on the shelf, so I broke my promise after only a couple days and dug in, eating it straight from the jar. Sorry, Jill!
Learn how to make jam with Jill at her “Yes You Can Can” class by registering online or over the phone. The class will be held at the Edina location of Cook of Crocus Hill this Sunday, August 15th from 1pm – 3pm. She will show you how to make Basic Grape Jelly, Peach Basil Chutney, Plum Brandy Jam, Tangy Sunshine Marmalade, and Apple Cinnamon Butter. My mouth is already watering at the thought of Tangy Sunshine Marmalade!