Making homemade jam is a great way to capture the fresh, natural taste of summer fruits without any artificial ingredients. It's also a great way to heat your entire kitchen to a boiling point--which can be pretty unbearable in the height of peak summer fruit season. When you make a batch of slow cooker jam, you can simmer fruit without steaming up your kitchen, resulting in a fresh-from-the-berry-farm flavor that's soft and spreadable. Our tips on how to make the best slow cooker jam:
Slow Cooker Jam Basics
The folks at Crock-Pot have published some recipes and cooking tips help you get started. But you can also adapt standard any stovetop recipe using the following time conversions.
|Stovetop Cooking Time||Slow Cooking Time on Low||Slow Cooking Time on High|
|15-30 minutes||4-6 hours||1.5-2.5 hours|
|35-45 minutes||6-8 hours||3-4 hours|
|50 minutes-3 hours||8-10 hours||4-6 hours|
Checking for Doneness
Slow cookers vary in size and power, so be sure to check your jam periodically within the cooking time guidelines. There are a few ways to test for doneness:
- A cooking thermometer. Jam is done when it reaches 220 degrees F.
- The sheet method. Put a generous spoonful of the mixture (about a tablespoon) onto a cold plate, then hold the plate over the sink and turn it sideways. If the jam slides off in one large drop, it's done.
- The metal bowl method. Chill a metal bowl in the freezer. Pull out the bowl and drop a teaspoon of the jam into it. Wait 1 minute, then run your finger through the fruit. If it separates into two parts and doesn't run back together, it's done.
Store Your Jam
Once you've made your jam, you can prepare it for the fridge, freezer, or canning. High-acidity foods like jams and pickles can be sealed into jars using a boiling-water bath on your stovetop — no pressure cooker required (though it will generate some steam in your kitchen). Follow any instructions that come with the recipe, or check out this video to learn how to prepare your canning jars and safely seal them. You can also store your jam in the fridge or freezer. After cooking the jam, let it cool, then pack it into canning jars or freezer-safe containers and stash them in the freezer to enjoy after summer is over. Be sure to use it within a few months for best quality and taste.
Sweet Fruit Jams
Fresh strawberries from the farmers' market, you-pick blackberries, and sweet-tart rhubarb make for some of the nicest spreads for your toast or pancakes. Try these recipes and make a batch or two this weekend.
- Blackberry Jam
- Fresh Spiced Peach Jam
- Rhubarb Jam
- Strawberry Jam
- Freezer Pear Honey Jam
- Lingonberry Jam
Jams made with hot peppers, tomatoes, or onions are a rich and tasty accompaniment to roasted meats. Or spread cream cheese on a cracker or slice of baguette and top with a dollop of sticky, sweet, spicy flavor. Delish in that salty-sweet genius way.