No two batches of homemade jams are the same, even with the fruit harvested from the same tree and canned the same day. Because I’m a fruit opportunist I’m always going to wander down the path of jam experimentation with fruit varieties I haven’t a hope of actually identifying before I try and replicate jam batch after batch. Even though I’ve learned about some wonderful recipes in some pretty great books about jam, I find myself constantly veering off in a different direction from the recipe. I switch out varieties or even fruits, add flavors not called for in the recipes, or mess with cooking times. After all, while there are basic principles at stake in jam-making, all methods are decades, if not centuries old.
If you’re curious, try recipes and see what you like and what you don’t. Sure, there are a few rules to follow about sugar to fruit ratios and jam gelling points and how to use commercial pectin. Buy a good canning guide or hop around online to become familiar with the basic principles and go from there.
Finally, a word about measurements.
The metric system works the best. Really, it does. I grew up bilingual in measurement, so my preference isn’t based in ignorance. Hey, I’ll give the U.S. Customary System and the British Imperial System points for nutty terminology. (See “gill” in raspberry jam recipe above.) But measuring fruit and sugar is easier and more precise by the gram, and so most of the recipes I include here use metric measurements. As a generous concession (inspired only by my laziness and the neat round numbers pounds and ounces occasionally offer) some recipes will use those measurements.