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How to Make Your Own Homemade Jam or Jelly

Updated on April 28, 2009

One of the best ways to save money is to cook from scratch as much as possible. Many people consider cooking from scratch to be when you cook dinner yourself, as opposed to eating out. I consider it to be when you use no prepackaged items in your meal. Store bought jam and jelly would be considered prepackaged to me, because someone else made it and it is ready to use right out of the jar. Making your own jam and/or jelly is a good way to save money and is surprisingly easy to do.

There are a couple of different types of jam you can make yourself. Freezer jam is incredibly easy! The problem I have with freezer jam is that it doesn't make very much (2-3 pints I believe) and it needs to be used within a month or two. Basically you buy a box of pectin that is specific for freezer jam and combine it with your crushed fruit and sugar. Many recipes don't even require cooking the fruit. Once the ingredients are mixed together you let it set out for a specified time until the jam is set and then you freeze. This recipe does not require much hands on work, uses few ingredients and tastes great. For the price of one small jar of jam at the store you can have three jars of your own homemade jam - with no additives and preservatives.

Cooked jams and jellies are a bit more work, but to me they are well worth it. Again the key ingredient to getting your fruit to the consistency of jam or jelly is the pectin. Sure Jell is the brand I usually use, just make sure you get pectin for jams and jellies. You can find pectin by the canning supplies at your grocery store or Wal-mart. Other ingredients you need are fruit, sugar and sometimes lemon juice. You will also need canning jars for this type of jam. All recipes and instructions are in the box of pectin and very easy to follow. The most important thing I have found is to measure your ingredients exactly and to follow the instructions carefully.

Once you have your sugar measured out and your fruit chopped up you are ready to start making jam. Make sure that your jars, rings and lids are all boiled and sterile. Combine the fruit and pectin in a large pot on the stove and heat to a rolling boil. Once it boils add the sugar and stir constantly until it comes back to a rolling boil. Keep at a rolling boil for one minute, stirring the whole time. When the minute is up, remove from heat and fill your jars. Once the jars are filled up to 1/4 of an inch from the top wipe around the rim and place the lid and ring on, closing firmly, but not overly tight.

Once all rings and lids are secured flip the jars over and set your timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off flip them back upright and wait to hear the pops. The pops you hear are the lids sealing the jam jars airtight. This is called the inversion method of canning and it works great for jams and jellies. Allow the jars to cool overnight, spaced a couple inches apart to allow cooling. In the morning wipe down the jars, remove the rings only, check to make sure you have a good seal and store in a cool dark place. Jam stored like this can last a year or more.

Making your own jellies requires a couple of extra steps. Depending on what type of jelly you are making there are different instructions on how to prepare the fruit. Follow them carefully. Once the fruit is prepared you need to strain the juice through 3 layers of damp cheesecloth. Once you get the correct amount of juice that you need from the fruit you should follow the rest of the instructions for the jam making. Again all the recipes of exactly what you need and instructions are in the box of pectin. It is actually very easy to make.

Making your own jams and jellies does require a good bit of sugar, so if you have problems with that much sugar purchase the pectin that requires less sugar or even no sugar. It is pretty easy to accommodate for this by purchasing the correct pectin. You can not reduce the amount of sugar when using regular fruit pectin. Also there are many more recipeson the internet that you could try as well. I just have found it easiest to begin with the ones in the Sure Jell box.

I have found making my own jams and jellies to be a great way of cooking from scratch. I know exactly what is going into the jam I make, I enjoy spending the time in the kitchen making it myself and best of all - it saves money and tastes great. Try it!


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    • Jennifer profile image

      Jennifer 6 years ago

      Rachel, the only things I make jam out of are fruits that I either picked myself or bought at rock bottom prices.

      Also it isn't about the price so much as knowing what is in the jars. Store bought jars frequently have high fructose corn syrup and lots of added preservatives. When I make jam it is usually just the fruit and sugar - maybe lemon or butter, but that is it. Just better for you in general.

    • profile image

      Rachel Cotterill 6 years ago

      Interesting... in my experience (in the UK), the cost of most fresh fruit is MUCH higher than that of a jar of jam. So unless it's something I can grow myself, then making it for myself wouldn't be a saving. I'd love to know if it's different there.

    • profile image

      Sortof 6 years ago

      Another source of pectin would be to cook appleskins and cores from apples you are using for something else (applepie, maybe) and use the water. First remove the skins and cores though....

    • profile image

      Heretic 6 years ago

      I find you often don't even need the pectin. Most fruits contain enough of it on their own, that you can just do without it.

      I use a 10:9 ratio of fruit to sugar. That means, 1000 grams fruit, 900 grams sugar. Put these items in the pot together, and heat, stirring continuously. The sugar will melt, and the (chopped, sliced, what-have-you) fruit will naturally release its juices into the mix. You keep it on high heat until it starts boiling, at which point you back the heat down to medium, keeping it there (still boiling, constantly stirring) for about 10 minutes. After that time, you turn the heat down, and start testing to see if it's ready.

      Dip a ladle into the liquid, and empty the ladle. If the liquid runs off slowly in thick streams (ideally two or more separate streams), your jam is ready to be jarred. You have to jar it while it's hot, if you want the jars to seal and keep your product fresh. Hope this helps.

    • IHIMonline profile image

      IHIMonline 7 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Thanks for writing this hub. I have six sons who will enjoy me using these tips for years to come.

    • profile image

      maisie fingland 7 years ago

      i never know how t ,ake jam but this has tought me. im gonna start right now

    • profile image

      M.A.Anwar 7 years ago

      Nice hub. Cooking from scratch seems easy and quick way of saving some money.

    • profile image

      connie 7 years ago

      my mother makes home made jelly every year .the other day she maded blueberry jelly.this is what sheloves to do its her hobby.

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

      I love your article on making food from scratch. I have been canning jams and jellies for many years, but I always process in a water bath canner for five minutes because I am a little nervous about the inversion method. Very good tips about using pectin and I am going to try them out with sugar substitutes.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 8 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      One item i regularly make at home is a Tomato Jam. I use Sugar subtitute in my Jam. Never have tried any other Jams so far. Jelly's are not a favorite of mine. But i would try to make one.

    • profile image

      FiRsT tImE jAmMeR!!! 8 years ago

      WOWIE!!! That info....was VERY very VERY very HELPFUL!!! Cuz we were super confused!!!! U R the GODDESS of jam making!! THANX!!! We will be lookin @ ur page often 4 help here & there!!!

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):)

    • profile image

      GMA&S 8 years ago

      This is a GREAT lot of information!!:)

    • profile image

      English Jams 8 years ago

      Great info. Thanks. I'm eatting a slice of toast with jam as I read your article.

    • profile image

      joy 9 years ago



    • profile image

      Ghiwawa 9 years ago

      Very informative, Jennifer...thank you for your time in writing re: jams and need to run to WAL-MART for pectin!! LOL


    • profile image

      Guy 9 years ago

      Interesting. I think I'll start making some jam. I've never done any work in the kitchen, but I guess this is a good start!

    • profile image

      JJ 9 years ago

      verry good