How to Make Preserves: Jam, Jelly, Compote, Salsa and More

Get an easy, step-by-step guide on how to make preserves for your favorite jam, jelly, compote and salsa from Food Network Magazine.
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How to Preserve

Home canning is completely safe if you follow these steps. What you'll need is four 8-ounce canning jars with lids and bands and a large pot canning rack (or other wire rack that fits). In your pot you'll need: a jar lifter and/or tongs, a large spoon, a small rubber spatula and clean kitchen towels and paper towels. (Photographs by Charles Masters)

Step 1:

Sterilize the jars: Wash the jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Put the jars on a rack in a pot of water. Boil at least 10 minutes; keep in simmering water until ready to fill.

Step 2:

Put the lids and bands in a saucepan of simmering water until ready to use (do not boil).

Step 3:

Carefully remove a jar from the water with a jar lifter or tongs, empty out the water and place the jar on a clean kitchen towel.

Step 4:

Using a clean spoon, fill the jar with the hot preserves, leaving headspace as directed in the recipe. Repeat to fill the remaining jars.

Step 5:

Run a clean small rubber spatula along the inside of the jars to eliminate any air pockets.

Step 6:

Wipe the rims and threads of the jars with a damp paper towel to remove any food residue.

Step 7:

Remove the lids from the simmering water with tongs and place on top of the jars.

Step 8:

Remove the bands from the water. Screw on the jars just until you feel resistance; don’t overtighten.

Step 9:

Put the jars upright on the rack in the pot; cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then boil, covered, for 15 minutes (this is called “processing”).

Step 10:

Lift the jars from the hot water and transfer to a kitchen towel or rack. Let sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours; a vacuum seal will form as the jars cool.

Step 11:

Check the seal: The lids should not pop in the center (if they do, keep the preserves in the fridge for up to one week). Store unopened vacuum-sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.

Plum-Vanilla Preserves

Use Food Network Magazine's preserving techniques to store this delicately-spiced stone fruit jam.

Get the Recipe: Plum-Vanilla Preserves

Peach-Mustard Compote

Peaches needn't always be sweet! Here, they're paired with mustard seeds, wine and spices for a savory compote that pairs well with roasted or grilled meat.

Get the Recipe: Peach-Mustard Compote

Blueberry-Maple Spoon Fruit

When blueberries met maple syrup -- perhaps it was at breakfast on a plate of pancakes -- it was love at first sight. Preserve this sweet blend when blueberries are in season and enjoy for the rest of the year over pancakes, pound cake or on toast or biscuits.

Get the Recipe: Blueberry-Maple Spoon Fruit

Spicy Tomato Jam

Think beyond the basic red sauce when planning to put up your tomato harvest; this flavorful tomato jam gets a kick from cumin, red pepper, cloves and ginger.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Tomato Jam

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillos are a Mexican staple related to the tomato and are used to make salsa verde, or green salsa. This salsa is mildly spiced and can be used to flavor your favorite Mexican fare.

Get the Recipe: Tomatillo Salsa