Saturday, June 14, 2008

Strawberry jam

I'm constantly looking for ways to use our strawberries (and lemons too, but that's for a different post). We have a small little strawberry patch in the yard. Look how many strawberries I got from just one "harvest"! And I go out there 2-3 times a week. I don't always get this many, but there is definitely no shortage of strawberries in this household during the summer.

These strawberries are a lot more fragile than store bought ones and will only last maybe a day or two after being picked, so I always pop a few in my mouth, then immediately wash and hull the rest and stick them directly into the freezer. I use them for the occasional smoothie, strawberry lemonade, margaritas, etc but I still don't come even close to using enough to keep up, so I thought I'd make some jam to store for future use.

I followed the directions from the Ball Fruit Pectin package insert since from all the research I've done, I've been scared into not being too creative, in fear of developing botulism or some other horrid disease. This is a big deal for me! I never measure things out and often have trouble following directions (one of the reasons I tend to avoid baking, though I've been making an effort to change that). Anyway, so here it goes!

- 5 cups of strawberries
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice

- 7 cups of sugar

Prepping the jars:
- Wash the jars and lids in hot water.
- Heat the jars in hot (but not boiling) water. Don't heat the lids to prevent seal failure.

Making the jam:
- Put strawberries and lemon juice in a BIG pot. Mash the strawberries (I used a potato masher but didn't mash too much since I like my jam a bit chunky)

- Gradually stir in the fruit pectin (this will thicken the jam). Bring everything to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
- Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Return everything to a rolling boil and keep it boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim the foam if necessary.

Jarring instructions:
- Lay a clean towel down on the table and using jar lifters, pull the jars out of the hot water bath and onto the towel.
- Ladle the hot jam into the hot jars. Be careful! A wide-mouthed funnel would be helpful for this. Leave 1/4" of headspace.
- Clean off the lip and outside of the jar.
- Place the lid on and screw on the band.
- Using the jar lifter, put the hot, closed jars into a bath of boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least an inch.
- Boil the jars for 10 minutes (more at higher altitudes) and then let sit for 5 minutes. If you see bubbles coming out of the jar while processing, don't worry about it, that's normal.
- Remove the jars from the water bath onto a towel to let it cool. It should stay there for 12-24 hours undisturbed (though I was impatient and only left it alone for about 2 hours, but it seems fine to me). You'll probably hear popping noises as it cools and the jars seal.
- After 12-24 hours, check to make sure the lid does not pop up and down. If it does, it is not sealed properly and you can either reprocess it or stick it in the fridge and eat it now.

- Smear it on toast, waffles, bagels, etc and enjoy, or give them away to your friends!


Anonymous said...
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That Girl said...

I am impressed beyond all get out.

dp said...

Your jam looks great! I've been wanting to make jam, but everytime I get home with the berries from the farmers' market,they get eaten! Just wondering how many plants you have to get a harvest like that? Great idea about freezing right away. That never occured to me!

Ashlee said...

i'm so jealous of your abundant strawberries! that jam looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

Washing berries encourages them to grow mold. Berries are something to leave unwashed until just before you're using them. You might also want to store them in a drier fridge compartment or wrapped with a paper towel. Maybe that will help you keep some of them a bit longer after picking.