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California Gold Jam

There is nothing better than warm bread with jam or jelly on it. And I find that homemade makes it that much better. Now I know we often have this mental image of going to fruit stand and getting boxes for fresh produce and then spending hours preparing it before making the jam. And don't get me wrong, I've made jam, jelly and marmalade this way but you don't have to. The jam I made today was grocery store produce and canned fruit. Its that simple and can be made any time of year.

At my house we like to give fun or cleaver names to the flavor combinations we create, so this one is California Gold. Its a combo of crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges and a lime. You don't need to drain the cans, they can go in as is. Now here's the fun part. You get to decide how much of each goes in. As long as it comes to 5 cups of fruit, it doesn't matter how much of each you put in. Now I will give you one word of advice. The lime fruit isn't were your punchiest flavor is. Its in the zest. So if you want more defined lime flavor only put in the fruit of one lime but the zest of one to two limes. Almost make sure when you add the fruit to cut off as much of white rind as you can. That section is bitter and isn't particularly good in your jam.

Now once you have your fruit together, put in in a big pot on the stove. Make sure its deep enough that there is plenty of room. You wouldn't want to splash yourself with hot sticky fruit. Before you turn on the stove, make sure you have your sugar (5 cups) is measured out into a bowl. Everything moves really fast at the end. Set the sugar a smaller pot put water and the lids that you will be using to seal the jars. Make sure you don't just put them in straight from the box. They will get stuck if you do that. I like to put them either tops together or sealing sections together, it prevents them getting stuck. In your pot of fruit mix in one box of powdered pectin. Once you have it mixed turn on stove and let it reach a rolling boil. Make sure to stir on a regular basis so it doesn't burn. Once it starts to boil hard enough time the boil for one minute. This will start the thickening process. After it boils for one minute add your sugar. Make sure you keep stirring, to break up sugar lumps and prevent burning. Be careful, if it splashes it sticks and burns. Bring the pot back to a boil. Once it boils take it off the heat, and add about a tablespoon of butter. The butter makes it smooth and helps eliminate any foam that forms from the boiling.

Now its time to assemble. I use a one cup liquid measuring cup to scoop the jam and pour it into jars. Fill the jar up with space at the top to aid in the seal, wipe the top of the jar off and place the lip on. Screw the ring on tight and flip the jar over to cool. After they've cooled flip them back over and wait for the ping as they seal. I like to leave them on the counter for about a day to make sure they're totally cool before placing them in the freezer. You don't have to freeze them but I have found that they last a much longer time that way. That way you always have jam.

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