Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Making Strawberry Jam

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to bring out the canning supplies tucked away from non use during the winter. Strawberries are the one thing that we all wait for. The one thing the kids will pick without complaining. I think it is because they never really put the berries in the pail. We have picked our berries for years from a pick-your-own place and then decided to try our own little patch. We are very pleased with the results. And pleased to be saving some money. Alot of money, actually. We found that we can grow enough strawberries for jam, sliced freezer berries and and pureed berries for syrup for pancakes, waffles and crepes, from just a few small rows. (We live on about one acre of land so you can imagine that we do not have a huge garden.) This is what our plants look like around middle June, before berries come. Oh, and it is only the 3 closest rows in the picture. The 2 rows behind them are raspberries.

And alittle closer view...

So, onto making jam:

Making jam is really very easy! Your ingredients are strawberries, sugar and pectin.
I made regular jam this year but low-sugar jam is good too.
You will need: (for each batch of jam)

5 cups crushed stawberries
7 cups sugar
1 box sure jell (pectin)

Your list of equipment is this:
.jar funnel
.at least one large pot (I use my dutch ovens)
.boiling water bath canner
.canning jars
.jar grabber (optional, but great to have)

Step 1: Pick your berries

Step 2: Sterilize jars. I like to do this after picking and right before washing and hulling berries. Jars are nice and hot and ready to use.

Step 3: Wash (in strainer with cold water) and hull fruit. In this pic they are sliced which you don't need to do that. We did because we froze the sliced ones for desserts.

Step 4: Crush fruit. I use the food processor and hit the pulse button until desired texture is reached.

Step 5: Measure sugar in seperate bowl.

Step 6: Mix berries with sure-jell and 1/2 teaspoon butter. (to prevent alot of extra foaming) Bring to a full boil. You know you have a full boil when you cannot stir away the bubbles. I am making 2 batches at a time, starting one about 5 minutes after the first one.

Step 7: Put lids in small pan of water and bring to barely a simmer. Turn off.

Step 8: Add sugar and stir while adding. Bring to a full boil once more and boil for 1 minute.

Step 9: I skim the extra foam off the top but this step is not required. It just looks nicer.

Step 10: Fill the jars to within 1/4 inch from top. Wipe threads to remove any dripped jelly. Put on the lids and bands and tighten.

Step 11: Process jars in boiling water canner. Jars should be fully immersed and have about 1 to 2 inches of water over them. Bring jars back to a gentle boil and boil for 10 minutes.

Step 12: Remove jars and set on a towel for 24 hours to cool. During cooling you may hear some pinging/popping of the jar lids. This is good as it means the jar has sealed. After 24 hours check to see that all jars are sealed by pressing down in the middle of the lid. Lid should not spring back. If one does, refrigerate it.

Store unopened jam in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.

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