Strawberry Jam, Ma'am


When I first became a mom I would get a pit in my stomach every time I came to the realization that I was responsible for creating the childhood memories of my children.  It's all up to me!  What if my child has NO MEMORIES?! Gasp.  Eventually I figured out that while I do have to be intentional about planning fun activities for our family, most things just naturally happen.  Family traditions usually don't begin with a meeting and a vote about what family tradition we'll start (although the structured, planning part of me sometimes wishes this would be the case.)
A good example of this would be our strawberry picking and jam making adventures.  My husband loves a good jam/jelly and asked if I would try my hand at it.  And who doesn't love toast with butter, a pinch of salt (b/c I never keep salted butter at home) and a thick layer of sugary fruit. While you do need to reserve an entire morning towards the task and it can seem daunting at first, it's really not so bad and the process is really enjoyable.  Just don't try multitask much more than sipping some coffee while you jam.
These are our photos from March of 2017.  (Not pictured: the crying session while Audrey got bit by a few ants while looking at the cow + the panic session of the parents while cleaning up a blowout she had while on the playground.  Don't worry, we had plenty of help from the swarming "bumble bees" (aka gnats))

                    

This year we went with our sweet cousins, Reese, Maddy and Macy!  A little less dramatic turn of events this time, thankfully.  And I think the uh...strawberries...seem a little larger this year! ;-)


       


Recipe for Strawberry Jam:
(I use the Cooked Jam recipe from the Sure Jell box but added my own tips and notes)

Ingredients:
8 cups of strawberries - would make 5 cups crushed strawberries
7 cups sugar
1/2 tsp butter to reduce foaming

Instructions:
  • Sanitize your jars and lids (see notes below)
  • Meanwhile, wash strawberries and remove the stem with a paring knife
  • Put strawberries in a 8 x 11 dish and use a potato masher or pastry cutter to mash until the desired consistency
  • Use a dry measuring cup to measure 5 cups of crushed strawberries and put into a large saucepan (at least a 4 quart saucepan recommended)
  • Measure the exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl and set aside (DO NOT REDUCE THE SUGAR, it's important for the jamming process.  I know, it looks like a lot.  Remember that when you go for a third piece of toast)
  • Turn on the burner to high
  • Stir in 1 pkg SURE-JELL into prepared fruit in saucepan.
  • Add 1/2 tsp butter (this will help reduce the amount of foam, highly recommended)
  • Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) and stir constantly.
  • Add sugar to the fruit mixture in saucepan and stir.  Return to full rolling boil. Boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and skim off any foam with metal spoon (this still makes for good eating)
  • Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4 inch of the top
  • Wipe jar rims and threads.  Cover with two-piece lids.
  • Meanwhile make sure your large pots are filled about halfway with water and on high heat.  If you have canners, great!  If not, I layer a few jar bands on the bottom of the pot so that the jars aren't resting on the very bottom of the hot pot.  
  • Place jars in the large pots of water, making sure that the water is covering the jars by 1 to 2 inches.  Add more boiling water if necessary.
  • Cover; bring the water to a gentle boil.
  • Allow to boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove jars with metal tongs and place upright on a towel to cool completely - you'll start hearing the popping sounds...like music!
  • After jars cool, check seals by pressing centers of lids with figure.  If lid springs back, the lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
  • Let prepared jars stand at room temp for 24 hours. 
  • Store unopened jams in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year. 
  • Refrigerate opened jams and jellies up to 3 weeks.
Notes:
  • Tools:  Metal tongs for lowering jars into and removing jars from boiling water, 8-10 quart stock pot for sanitizing and processing jars OR a canner if you have one, 4-6 quart saucepan for the fruit, some hot pads for working with hot jars, one cup measuring cup
  • Make sure to purchase the correct size two-piece jar lids.  There are regular and wide mouth.
  • If your family likes to eat jam, I recommend the two cup jars.  But if you don't eat it quickly or would like to give jam as gifts, the mini one cup jars are perfect.  
  • Prepare jars ahead of time by dropping the jars, lids and bands into boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Use these same big pots to process your jam.
  • In case you're wondering how much sugar 7 cups is, you'll need 1 5lb bag of sugar per making
  • 5 pounds of strawberries should work for one making which is approximately 5 pints
  • One making of jam normally makes about five 2 cup jars of jam.
  • I would not try to double the recipe - unless you have a really large 8 quart saucepan!
  • Keep your left over jars and bands!  Throw away the lids as they won't suction again.


Sanitizing the jars and lids

Washing the berries and taking the stems off.

My cutest little berry mashers.

See ALL THAT SUGAR!



This is what happens when you forget to add the butter and it foams over!  A larger pot would have prevented this too.





Beautiful.


Comments

  1. I love making jam!! The pops are so fun. I will have to have Reeves help me. He will love it! Hank would probably end up eating all of our ingredients. Ha ha

    ReplyDelete

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