Bascially something that comphensive about the process but also diverse in combinations of fruit etc.
I indexed the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and I thought the recipes were very diverse. I'm not a jam maker (though I do like to eat it) so I can't vouch for the reliability of the recipes, but it's a beautiful book as well as having luscious looking jams and marmalades.
I've used Madeline Bulwinkel's Gourmet Preserves Chez Madeline for 25 years. It's recently been revised in the last 5 years or so, but I still have my old reliable copy.
She addresses both the process and the recipes. It is how I first learned to 'put up' fruit jams & jellies. I found everything from the basic apple, strawberry, raspberry & blueberry to unusual combinations like apple and onion marmalade, rhubarb fig jam, and tomato basil jam. The red pepper jelly and the various wine jellies make great gifts. My all time favorite is her double blackberry jam.
Over the years, I've probably made about 20-30 of her recipes, and have never had a miss. (Well, maybe the kiwi mint jam wasn't so great, but then I'm not a fan of kiwis.)
My old copy has no photos - I don't know if that's changed in the newer version. But the recipes work!
The Complete Book of Home Preserving by the Ball Jar Company is indexed and my go to reference for jams. I put a note in recommending their Black Forest Preserves made with a wee bit of cocoa and black cherries. This is an amazing amount of flavor for little effort, if you have a cherry pitter.
I also cook out of Witty's "Fancy Pantry" for jams and jellies.
I also have used Gourmet Preserves Chez Madeline for over twenty years and have found it to be almost uniformly successsful. It's the best jam book I've ever seen. Her fruit combinations make for inspired flavors. The blueberry rhubarb jam is a family favoite. I made some yesterday.
She doesn't use standard commercial pectins, which she criticizes for requiring excessive amounts of sugar. Lately, I have been adapting some of the recipes to use with Pomona's Universal Pectin, which lets me cut the sugar even further than Madeline's recipes and also cuts the cooking time way down, resulting in fresher tasting fruit---and less time over a hot stove in July.
Avocet, I totally agree with you on the excessive dilution of fruit flavors when using regular pectin. The instructions on the low sugar pectin instruction sheets work nicely, yielding brighter fruit flavor. The Ball Jar cookbook has recipes using liquid pectin that work out about the same. Alas, Ball Jar doesn't have recipes in that book using the low sugar pectin. Using liquid pectin, the jams don't have to boil more than a minute after dumping in the liquid pectin because it is already dissolved. I probably need to buy Gourmet Preserves and play with her recipes, as you recommend. Thanks for the posting.
first go to the Bell site as welll as the USDA site on new recommendations for safety. The current Bell book carried with canning supplies also will give you the new safety regulations.
I own far too many canning books, ones that I've haven't listed yet. The key with jam is the ingredients. Go with what you can find.
And don't can too many jars of anyone jam. Try the four ounce jars. Then you don't have too many jars floating in your refrigerator. I found that we don't eat that much jam and neither do my gift recipients.
At first you'll can the jams you remember from childhood. Then as you move outward with your jam project, look at some of the British books. They contain some really nice creative jams.
The invention of the electric toaster in the thirties really created a demand for jam. Maybe making jam is a good way to wile away a depression.
If you live in the UK some of the best jam recipies and tips, are usually from any Womens Institute books. These are the staple of all summer fetes and christmas bazaars.
My personal favourite is a Marks and Spencers book, Under the St Michael title is Home Preserves, it has excellent recipies for jams and chutneys, and preserving fruits. Isbn is listed for reference.
I agree with Jane. The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook is amazing. I have made at least five recipes from that book and every one turned out to be absolutely delicious. It has a mix of marmalades, jams, jellies, and conserves that are really unique, but she always has the tried and true jams that we all love. Great great book.