This is one of my favorite jams to enter in the fairs. I’ve won a few blue ribbons for it. I took it with me to The Today Show, and they all really liked it. I made this for the first time in 2018. The Russell County Fair’s theme that year was Jammin’ at the Fair. The Lebanon Food City held a jam contest, and I entered it. They had a table full of different kinds of jams, and two judges looked at them, tested the seals, and ate some of each with a biscuit. The first-place prize was a blue ribbon and a $100 gift card to Food City. I won first place with this jam, and I’ve been making it every year since.
It’s important to teach younger generations how to can because it’s a dying art. People used to can because they had to. When I was growing up, we only had fresh fruits and vegetables in the spring, summer, and fall. We had to can them when they were in season to make it through the winter. It may not be as necessary these days, but I always like to have a variety of my canned foods at the ready. I also like to try new recipes and combinations—it keeps life interesting. —Linda Skeens, from her new cookbook, Blue Ribbon Kitchen.
• When canning anything, use Ball or Kerr canning jars. Most fairs require one of these brands.
• The jars must be heated before use for canning to sterilize them and prevent breaking.
• Never place your glass jars directly into a pot on heat. Either use a water bath canner or place a wet kitchen towel on the bottom of a large sauce pot. If you don’t, your jars will shatter.