I’ve been busy around here with a lot of “doing” but not a lot of “writing” so I’ve got some catching up to do this week. First up, strawberry jam!
That’s right, this past week we made a batch of strawberry jam. Organic strawberries have been on sale around here and we stocked up to make a batch. This is my first batch of jam, and also my first canning experience (shameful, I know, but you gotta start somewhere, right?).
I used the Strawberry Jam recipe (using sugar instead of pectin) straight from my Ball Blue Book Guide to preserving.
2 quarts strawberries
6 cups sugar
Strawberries were washed and destemmed. The really big strawberries were cut in half, but the small and medium sized ones were left whole. I crushed strawberries one layer at a time in a mixing bowl using my trusty potato masher (if they are over-crushed this can affect the gelling, so I made sure to resist the urge to toss the into the food processor). After all strawberries were crushed and transferred to a large pot, I added 6 cups unrefined sugar (I use Florida Crystals Demera sugar) and brought the contents to a boil until the sugar was dissolved. I continued to cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking or scorching. It took a little while to reach the gelling point – 15 minuts or so. I had prechilled spoons in the freezer to check for gelling. After gelling, I removed from heat and skimmed off the foam. I ladelled into prepared pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
Prepared lids were put on the jars and sealed with bands. Jars were canned in boiling water canner for 15 minutes.
This was supposed to make approximately four pints – I got three full pints that were canned, and a little leftover that went into a fourth jar straight into the fridge.
I left my jars out to cool for several hours on the counter. Of the three jars, two of them popped after several hours, so I had to move them into the fridge. I did wipe the rims before placing my lids, but since it was a thick jam, I am guessing I missed a little and that messed up my seal. We go through a lot of jam around here, so it won’t have a chance to go bad in my fridge.
The final verdict – I love homemade jam. It is thick and sweet and I just love the fact that I prepped it myself. I’ve made cobbler fillings and syrups before, and jam making is a similar process, so its a mystery why I haven’t done this sooner.