Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cooking with Kristin: Peanut Butter & Jam

Ever since reading The Culinary Couple's account of making strawberry preserves, I've wanted to make my own jam.  Go read the post now, because Emily gets straight to the heart of everything important about food to me: Each bite tells the story of a person and a place and a time; it evokes a memory.  Seriously - the blog is one of my favorites, and this post is a favorite among favorites.  Have a read - I'll wait.

Anyway, I've been interested in canning for some time, and after reading that post, jam seemed like the perfect place to start, since keeping it in the fridge or freezer means that if you mess up the canning, you won't die.  Turns out, I was right - the jam was easy to make, delicious, and kept really well.  I'm really looking forward to strawberries coming back into season so I can make even more this time (and try out some other recipes).

I made one batch, and while I'll outline the steps here, I would definitely recommend reading Emily's directions, since they're more detailed, include photos, and give some really helpful hints.

Strawberry Jam (adapted from The Culinary Couple & Certo):
  • 4 cups strawberries
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin

Wash jars (I used leftover jam jars, which I'm pretty sure is a no-no for actual canning) and caps on the hottest setting in your dishwasher.  Or, boil them in hot water after hand-washing them to sanitize.
Stem strawberries and run them through the food processor or blender until they are fully crushed.

Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into a large saucepot. Add sugar; stir. If necessary, you can add a little butter to reduce foaming. Bring to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars into large pot of boiling water.  The water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary. Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
Plus a third jar this size = one batch

Maple Peanut Butter
  • 4 cups roasted peanuts (salted)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
Place peanuts and maple syrup in food processor.  (I had to do mine in two batches, so check on your processor before you overfill it.)  Process.  After about 3 minutes, it will turn into a giant peanut butter ball.  This is a good sign.  Keep processing, because eventually it will smooth out into peanut butter.  Keep processing until it reaches your desired consistency.  If you'd like crunchy peanut butter, add in a few whole peanuts when it reaches the right consistency, and process for another 30 seconds or so.  

3.5 cups fills the jar this much

And, of course, these work brilliantly together on a sandwich, or, if you're me and my grandmother, on saltines.  The really fun thing about both these recipes, I think, is that you can really try a lot of different things with them.  If you've made any jam or nut butters that you love, please feel free to share a link in the comments.


  1. Oh, delicious! Also, I clicked through, then clicked through to the oreo truffles. I think I'm going to have to try those!

  2. I love the Culinary Couple...this looks like a fabulous recipe! I have been getting sick of PB and J but I think this might be just the thing I need to kick things up another notch!

  3. Like your Blog..

    .. Kissies from Germany