In preparation for the (hopeful) abundance of our recently planted garden (pictures as soon as it stops raining I promise), I have been learning how to make jams, jellies, preserves, and pickles. I have wanted to do this since I was a little girl, and now that I have the time and resources at my disposal, I figured it was time. My first attempt at making jam turned out pretty good, but it was definitely a learning experience.
Angela, Dennis, and I went around the corner and picked loquats off of a tree growing out of the sidewalk. We brought them home, washed them, and I made jam from them. There are a few things I should have done differently:
1. Chopped them finer - I had no idea how resilient their skins were and assumed they would cook down softly, but they remained whole, which makes for a very chunky jam.
2. Used less sugar - Since I didn't have a recipe for loquat jam I used one for plum jam. I also didn't have as much fruit as the recipe called for, but I halved the recipe to compensate. But the amount of sugar seemed to me to be too much, but I used it anyhow and I think the jelly is a bit too sweet.
3. Not stirred during the final boil - It doesn't say anywhere in any of my books whether or not you are supposed to stir the fruit as you hard-boil it to 220 degrees, so I stirred it now and again. The place where I stirred it the most caramelized much faster, giving a deeper flavor, but also making the color a little muddier. I now know that you're supposed to just let the jelly boil away and not touch it...
Which brings me to my next canning project: pyrecantha-rose jelly.