Monday, June 20, 2011

A Guest in the Kitchen/Jammin' with the Bread Machine

     With summer officially just days away, things are heating up in the kitchen. A cousin's visit prompted the first big blow out BBQ of the season (still recovering). Strawberry season is starting, so lots of pies, jams and my all time favourite, Strawberry Shortcake on the horizon. It also seemed the perfect time to invite a guest into the kitchen, my cousin Leslie aka RoryBore.

My cousin Leslie, ain't she cute??

     Les has a blog of her own, click here to visit, and was part of the inspiration for mine. She is a busy SAHM (stay at home Mom) with three children. I have no idea how she finds time to write, just reading her blog makes me tired. LOL

     Her post is about making jam in a breadmaker, something I had no idea was even possible. Although not really "canning" exactly, still a way to enjoy making your own jam at home.

Jammin' with the Bread Machine

Well, I went to get some strawberries to make some fresh jam in my bread maker, and of course, the strawberries were dreadful!   I mean truly horrible.    No decent child of farmer stock would carry them across the threshold to her humble abode!  LOL  
I checked the website from my local supplier and it states that the strawberries should be ready by end of June.   Guess all that spring rain set farmers crops back a bit.
I also see that another local grower has set up their usual summer stand, so I will check to see if they have any.  
So no personal pics to accompany recipes.    There is a mixed pepper jam that I want to try too....will have to update you on that at later date.
My bread machine is a Black and Decker Home, All In One Automatic Bread Maker (Model B6000C), which has a jam setting.
So far, I find it works quite well.  I wouldn’t say a bread machine makes jam as well as my mom’s freezer jam method, or well...any of my aunt’s recipes (of which Paul obviously inherited the cooking gene, while I merely got the Fisher looks – ha!).   Traditionalists will likely prefer the traditional methods.   But if you want some jam for your morning toast, and you don’t want to stand sweating and stirring over the stove, and/or miss the latest Tweet, Facebook update, or who dances, sings, or survives the best, then this method will suffice.    Call it the slacker mom jam, if you will.   I’m totally ok with that.    The important thing is, it is still home-made, and thus not full of preservatives, added sugar, or any other ingredients that require a bio-medical/chemistry degree to pronounce or understand.  
The one thing I have not yet done with jam made in the bread maker is freeze it.   Most recipes state refrigerate either 3 – 6 weeks.  I do not see why you could not freeze it, but the real drawback to this method is that you probably are not making enough jam to freeze.   Again, slacker method = just enough jam to get you until the next grocery trip, or when you feel inspired to haul out your bread maker again.    Or, because you realized at 9 pm that you are out of jam and eldest child will most certainly request PB&J for his school lunch; as per the previous 38 days.  And a trip to the grocery store means getting out of your pj’s and back in “real” i.e yoga pants, clothes.  
For me, one of the most important things is to finely dice your fruit.   Or mash fresh berries lightly with a fork.   The paddles will only stir the mixture as it cooks, not chop it.    My first attempt was some seriously chunky, lumpy strawberry jam, which some people might not mind, but it does not look all that attractive.   Really, you could have just chopped some strawberries and thrown them on your toast; saved even more time.   Also, if using frozen berries, I would recommend thawing completely, then mashing with a fork or potato masher.  The other important thing with bread machines is to always measure ingredients exactly, and to put them into the Baking Pan in the order listed in the recipe.   I also highly recommend using some tin foil around the outer edges of the pan insert, leaving a hole in the middle, to avoid.....well, a complete mess.  Which renders that handy viewing window obsolete.
And as Paul already kindly confirmed for me, if you choose to use pectin (and I recommend you do with the bread maker) --- powder and liquid are NOT interchangeable.  Stick with the recipe; unless you prefer to slice your jam, as opposed to more common scooping and spreading method.  
This first recipe is great for those who enjoy the natural sweetness of the fruit; without a lot of added sugar.   So, if you are, oh say.... trying to get back into your skinny jeans after your 3rd baby – this recipe is for you.   If you are adding the pectin, make sure it is the one for low sugar recipes.   
NOTE: Why can’t you use a regular jam recipe in the bread maker?   Recipes with too much sugar, cooking at too high a temperature = possible overflow and big ole sugary mess in your bread machine!  not pretty, nor easily cleaned.
Strawberry Jam
3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 1-1/2 pints, or 680 g.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
*1 pkg. (1.75 oz./49 g) of powdered pectin may be added with ingredients to thicken*
Place in baking pan, select Jam setting, start.
When complete signal sounds, remove baking pan (um –use pot holders!), and pour into jars.  Place in refrigerator to cool.
You can store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks – so don’t forget to label the date.
Total time:  approx. 1 hr. 20 minutes
Yield: About 1-1/2 cups
This 2nd version ups the sweetness factor a bit more, although I think it is still less sugar than my mom’s freezer jam recipe.   It still states to use pectin for low sugar recipes.
Strawberry Jam (alternate)
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. pectin for low sugar recipes
4 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries; washed, hulled and diced
4 tsp. lemon juice
As in recipe above, measure into baking pan, select Jam, and Start.
Also can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 
Basically, you can substitute any fresh, or frozen fruit in the above recipes.   You may have to experiment with the quantities.    I like the "triple berry threat”, so normally do 1 cup of strawberries, 1 cup of raspberries, 1 cup of blackberries for a nice “field berry” jam.  I have also used frozen blueberries, which requires a bit more fruit (measure after mashed well) AND I use Lime juice in this recipe instead of lemon.  But the one I really love substitutes 2 cups of freshly chopped pineapple, with 1 cup of fresh strawberries. If you are feeling really decadent, roll up a banana in a tortilla, spread with peanut butter and some of this jam: it’s like the sandwich version of a banana split. And I am quite certain it has far fewer calories.
Now, if you want to get really’s a more tropical one for fun.  This one is great for biscuits, muffins, or scones.   “It’s A Boy!” baby shower optional.
Blue Kiwi Mango Jam
3/4 cup (6 oz.) kiwi fruit (ripe, but not mushy), peeled and chopped
3/4 cup (6 oz.) mango (barely ripe), peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest, grated*
1 tsp, orange zest, grated*
4 drops blue food coloring
As above, place in baking pan, in order, select Jam, Start.
*make sure none of the white rind gets in your mixture – unless you like the batter bitter*
Since the bread machine renders making jam so easy, I am thinking this will be the year to take the kids to the local berry patch for some fresh berries.   I am sure they will have a grand time eating picking all those ripe, juicy berries.   Besides, it’s a time honoured tradition in my family.   I can remember going with my mom and her sisters quite frequently, and it’s important to pass on such things to your offspring, you know.  This is what great family memories and bonding is built upon. 
It’s not about the cheap labour at all – honest. 
     There you have it, making jam in the bread machine, who knew? Technology really can be a great thing.
     A special thank you to Les, it seems appropriate my first guest would be family. It wasn't about getting someone else to write for me so my slacking of late would be less noticeable - honest. LOL
     Bob Marley said it best, " We're jammin', we're jammin', hope ya like jammin' too", ROFL. How ever you decide, I hope you like jammin' with me and the family. Thanks for dropping by, Paul



  1. Thanks so much for inviting me to your kitchen! The post with a link is up on my site too.

    I have some berries now and will be making a batch today or tomorrow. And next week am going with a group of ladies to local berry patch. I just love that Some things never change no matter how "modern" our world becomes! Can't wait to have fresh homemade jam on my morning toast!

  2. I think I would have to try out the Triple Berry Threat. Yum! We grow all of those berries. I just have to get to them before my kids do! Blogger is making me anonymous today.


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".