I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandparents who are avid gardeners. My grandmother would can, freeze and preserve all the produce from their massive gardens each summer, and my cousins and I learned to work a farm….from feeding the ducks, chickens, pigs to helping milk the goat. I remember many days in the kitchen by my grandmother’s side assisting her, and I fell in love with Ball canning jars. Actually any type of mason jar and glass bottles….especially cobalt blue. My summers spent in West Virginia with my grandparents and cousins are some of my most treasured and special memories!
So when I was contacted to see if I wanted to review Ball’s new FreshTech Jam Maker, I jumped at the opportunity! I love making homemade jams and fruit sauces, but I have to admit it only usually happens a few times a year because of the amount of time it seems to take. Chopping fruit is not an issue, but the time standing at the stove, stirring and monitoring to get the jam the right consistency…..all the while guessing at the proper temperature to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot can be a pain.
It’s a guessing game I don’t mind playing because I love the outcome of fresh fruit jam. But now this new automatic jam maker takes all that guesswork out of the equation….3 simple steps later and you’re done. And no babysitting the jam!! Did I mention it’s quick….under 30 minutes quick.
When we returned from Disney over the weekend, I was greeted with my new jam maker. I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box to check it out, and to peek through the small recipe booklet it comes with and start making jam! I was happy to see no assembly was required. I had also been wondering about size, but am thrilled to share that it’s about the same size as the new slow cookers out there so storage won’t be an issue.
All you need is fruit, sugar, pectin, a small bit of butter, and with some recipes lemon juice is needed. It turns out that I had 2 mangos and a drawer full of apricots that were ripe and just begging to be made into jam (recipe coming in next post) I peeled and cut them up into small pieces. After plugging in the jam maker, I sprinkled Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin over the bottom of the pot with the stirrer attached.
Then I added the fruit, the juice of one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of butter. I pressed the JAM button, and pressed enter. 4 minutes later the jam maker beeped. I added the sugar slowly and then covered the pot with the glass lid. 17 minutes later the jam was ready….it was that quick and easy!
I ladled the jam into half pint jars and marveled how the ripe mango and apricots that were surely destined for the trash were now transformed into 4 lovely half pints of mango apricot jam! Wow…..incredible. My mind started conjuring up different jam possibilities. This is where you can get really creative!
I imagine people with a large garden harvest or an abundance of fruit trees would get a lot of use out of this jam maker. I’m also excited about the speed of making jam….a great gift to give others at holiday time or anytime. The jam will last for 3 weeks in your fridge, or did you know you can freeze it right in the canning jars? I didn’t!
And if you want to can your jam so that it will keep for a full year, Kmart has a full assortment of everything you need for canning….canning equipment, canning jars, pectin, food mixes etc. Click over and check it out….I love looking at canning items!! The FreshTech Jam Maker is only available online at Kmart.com, not in stores.
For beginners, try the Ball Canning Discovery Kit to get started. It contains:
- Polypropylene rack with separate, fitted lifter that works in large stockpots at least 7½” tall and 9½” in diameter
- 3 x 1-pint jars
- Illustrated, simplified canning instruction Recipe book
For canning experts, here are some new items to get excited about that Kmart is carrying:
- 1.5 pint jars – based on consumer demand, just right for hearty soups and longer vegetables like asparagus or cucumbers.
- Ball Sure Tight Band Tool – takes the guesswork out of sealing jars “fingertip tight”.
- Citric Acid (in-store only) - doesn’t change the flavor of tomatoes the way lemon juice does, and is pantry-ready.
- Pectin & Food Mixes (in-store only) - for easy pickles, salsa, pasta sauce, jams & more!
The generous folks at Kmart have offered you guys a chance to win the Ball Canning Discovery Kit. I want one of these myself! I think it’s cool that with this kit you can turn any large stock pot you already own into a canner. No need to store an extra pot if you don’t need it!
To enter: Just leave a comment telling me if you can or would like to learn how to can and why.
For additional entries:
1) Follow Creative Kitchen on Facebook (1 entry)
2) Follow Creative Kitchen on Twitter (1 entry)
3) Follow Kmart on Facebook (1 entry)
4) Follow Kmart on Twitter (1 entry)
5) Follow Creative Kitchen on Pinterest (1 entry)
For a total of 6 entries. Make sure you do the mandatory entry by commenting once. Additional entries are optional. Winner will be chosen by random on Tuesday June 12th at noon, and notified by email. Giveaway limited to US residents only.
If you’re interested in learning more about canning from Kmart canning experts join in the #KmartCanning Twitter chat held from 12-1pm CT on Wednesday, June 6. Info & RSVP
Disclaimer ~ As I mentioned, I was given a Ball FreshTech Automatic Jam Maker for the purpose of reviewing. There was no monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own. Two of the above photos were supplied by Jarden Home Brands.