This has to be my favorite time of the year. Summer’s oppressive heat and humidity isn’t here yet, so it’s enjoyable to spend time outside and can’t think of anything more fun to do than pick strawberries. I can remember years back picking strawberries with my family where my motto was always “one for me, one for the basket”. Luckily they never weighed me on the way out.
It’s impossible to beat the sweetness of a freshly picked strawberry, but you can preserve most of it with a bit of culinary magic by making strawberry jam. In this tutorial I’ll not only provide you with an easy strawberry jam recipe, but also show you step by step how to can it so you can enjoy that strawberry flavor throughout the year.
Strawberry Jam Recipe
3 3/4 C Crushed Strawberries
1/4 C Lemon Juice (Freshly Squeezed)
7 C Sugar
1 Package Liquid Pectin
1 Tablespoon Butter (optional)
1. Wash and Hull the Strawberries
Strawberries are generally pretty dirty little bastards, so make sure to give them a good washing. This is also a great time to get rid of any questionable strawberries as well as cutting off any parts that you wouldn’t want to be eating. Any piece of rotten strawberry getting into your jam can easily spoil an entire batch of jam.
Once clean, hull your strawberries making sure to remove any pieces of white. If you’re strawberries are large, you can cut them in half at this point.
2. Smash the crap out of those berries
Now’s the time to get out your pent up frustrations because you need to smash your berries so that you have a good mix of berry chunks and juice. While you could use a food processor, blender or food mill, I prefer my good old potato masher so that there are still some considerable chunks left.
3. Add the berries, lemon juice and sugar to a pot. Stir to combine.
4. Gently heat up the berry mix.
Put the pot with your mixture on medium heat and stir to incorporate everything. You can add, if you’re so inclined, the butter here to reduce foaming later in the process.
5. Get set for canning
While the strawberry mix is heating up, get things set for canning. Get your largest pot of water boiling and put in your cleaned jars. This allows them to heat up so that when you put in the hot strawberry jam they don’t explode. So yeah, don’t forget this part. Also too, take your lids and put them into a small pot with water on medium heat.
I also like to take this as an opportunity to make sure I’ve got everything I need for canning, because once things get going, a missing component could be a disaster. So get out your funnel, bands and canning tongs.
6. Get the strawberry mixture boiling.
Turn up the heat on the strawberry mixture to high so that it comes to a boil. Be careful here as this can pop and splatter, and it’s hotter than hell. It could make for a cool body modification, but I’d prefer a tattoo.
Stir continually to prevent burning. You’ll know when it’s reached the right point when stirring no longer dissipates a boil.
7. Pour in the liquid pectin.
The strawberry mixture should be at a roaring boil and now it’s time to put in the pectin. Make sure you get it all out of the package, and stir it in. Now let this mixture continue to boil for one minute.
8. Take the strawberry jam mix off of the heat.
9. Take your jars out of the canner and set them aside to drain.
10. Start filling your jars.
I use a big funnel for this because I like my counter tops, but I know a lot of folks who just pour it in and wipe off the rims later. Fill up each jar all the way to 1/4 from the top. Do this for each jar until you’re out of your jam mixture.
11.Seal the jars.
Once all of your jars are filled, wipe off any jam that you may have gotten on the rims. One by one, take the lids out of the hot water with tongs and set them on top of the jars. Either using tongs or a towel to protect your hand, fasten the band on the jar.
12. Can those suckers.
Carefully place your jars in boiling water. They’ll need to take a bath for 10 minutes before they are ready. Once you’ve hit the 10 minute mark, remove them from the water and place them on a towel.
13. Bask in your jammy awesomeness.
You’re done. You just have to wait 12 – 24 hours before your jam sets up, but don’t fret, it will be about that long before these damn things are cool enough to handle again. You’ll notice that one of these things in the picture does not belong. That little guy on the right with the plastic wrap on it was my left over jam and since I will be eating it within the next few days, there was no need to can it. Stored in the fridge it will last at least a month.
You strawberry jam will last canned for a least a year, but I’ve kept some jars much longer with no issues. There are a couple of things to make sure of though to prevent yourself from dying from tainted jam. Never store the jars with the bands on because if the lid were to pop off (a good sign the stuff is spoiled) you’d never know. Also, be sure to keep these in a dark, cool area as light can effect the product.
One note of caution: Beware of sharing your supply with friends and family as once they know you make strawberry jam from scratch, they’ll be asking for it every year.
Tagged with: canning • homemade jam • strawberry jam recipe
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