What about one of those fancy copper jam pans, do I need one of those?

You mean one of these? If you’ve got the three hundred beans to drop, I say go for it. They make great jam and even better wall decorations in the off season. The advantage of a piece of equipment like this lies primarily in the ability of the metal to conduct heat. That quick heat transfer allows you to bring your jam to the boil — and hence the gelling point — faster, minimizing wear and tear on the fruit. All that surface area and those big flared sides also help water to evaporate, further speeding the process along. They’re truly great things for dedicated jammers. I have no doubt that all of the little old ladies who win blue ribbons at the Kentucky State Fair use them (though there’s a TON of favoritism involved, I’m convinced of it…how else can you explain the fact that I’ve never won a ribbon there other than the whole thing is a fix, fix, FIX!). Great jam can certainly be made without one, however, so before you go putting another three hundred dollars of strain onto your credit card (and let’s be honest, aren’t the rivets already starting to pop on that thing?) spend some time making jam and canning first, to be sure you really like it.

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