Strawberry Jam (canning instructions too)

2014's

This morning was dedicated to making our years supply of strawberry jam as well as a few for gifts and a few to sell.  I will tell you how I make it along with how I can it.  Some people think canning is so intimidating but it is actually very easy and quick.  There are only 4 MUST have tools….1) jars and lids  2) funnel 3) grippers 4) 2 large pots.  My son does not like big chunks so I crush my berries 1 cup at a time by hand so they are smaller pieces in the jam.

You should always make your own jam when the fruit is in season.  There is nothing better and it’s all natural!!

Note:  there are directions all over the internet for canning and the pectin has directions in the box also!!

To make cooked jam for canning:

5 cups crushed strawberries (wash, cut the hulls (green leaves) off, and crush in a bowl ONE cup at a time)

7 cups sugar (you can use alternative’s with no sugar pectin) We use Sure-Jel Pectin.  Always works and yes it’s a bit of sugar but you can cut back on it by adding a little extra pectin from a second box if you want and it’s so delicious you won’t care!!

Get a 1/2 full stock pot of water almost boiling

Fill your sink with the hottest water you can (you can use boiled water from microwave if need be) and keep jars, lids, and rings in it

Fill the 2nd stock pot with the 5 cups of crushed strawberries and add one box of pectin

Bring the berries/pectin to a full rolling boil stirring constantly it should boil even as you stir

Pour in the 7 cups of sugar all at once quickly

Keep stirring and bring back to rolling boil.  Boil for 1 full minute

Remove from heat and skim off any foam (light pink foam you will see).  You can leave foam but it doesn’t look pretty in the jars.  I keep the foam in a separate bowl and when finished I cover with plastic wrap and we use it as jam also keeping it in the fridge.

Remove a jar from hot water, wipe it dry and fill using the funnel and a ladle.  Fill just to the top where it meets the rim leaving 1/2 inch space to top of jar

Continue until all the jam is in the jars

(TIP:  if you have a little left over and don’t want to start a new jar put it in the foam bowl!!)

Wipe the top of the jar and around the rim where the lids screw on if it dripped at all

Dry the lids and place them on the jars and then dry the rings and tighten until just tight

Turn heat up on the water stock pot

Carefully place the jars in the water bath with the grippers making sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water

Bring to a slow boil and let boil for 10 minutes covered

Remove from water using grippers and place on a towel to set overnight (you will hear popping sounds when the lids seal)

After they have set overnight touch the middle of the lid to make sure it is not sticking up and has been sealed.  If it did not seal you can still use the jelly but keep it in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

When sealed you can store in a cool, dark place for 18 months

That’s it!!  Some of my tips:

1) Always make one batch at a time.  Do not try to do 2 batches at a time.

2) Clean everything in between batches so you are ready as soon as the batch comes out of the water bath

3) Jam should have fruit pieces in it.  If you want bigger pieces don’t crush as much

2nd batch

2nd batch

last year jam

This is the last jar from last years batch I just opened today to make toast for my son

ready

prepare strawberries

water batch

fill stock pot 1/ way with water

mushed 1 mushed5 cups sugar rolling boiljars hot jam funnelgrippers filled and ready to can going inboiling

 

 

Strawberry Fields Forever…..

Image

Today was our picking day.  I started taking my kids when one was 3 and the other was 1.  It used to be just mommy and kids time.  Then as the children got older they always told friends about going and would ask if they could come.  Now it’s grown into friends and friends parents who come along.  Today we had 3 families and 2 kids who came along while their parents were at work.  I don’t like to take credit where it’s not due but 2 families today never went picking until their kids met my kids 🙂  I am very good friends now with both of these women and enjoy spending time with them when I can.

Well today’s experience was not our best…it’s about a week later than when we normally go so picking was not as fast as you had to search for the nice size berries.  It was also about 84 degrees in full sun with 80% humidity.  My son and his friend picked a quart each.  My daughter who is the best helper picked one quart then went to the truck for some water to drink, stubbed her toe on a rock and cut it pretty nastily.  It bled everywhere as toes do.  So her and the boys sat in the truck with the air on for almost 40 minutes while the rest of us picked.  But it’s done and we have the berries we needed.  Our strawberry plants at home are just starting to produce so we will have another 5 or more quarts in a few weeks.

As soon as we got home the kids grabbed a pack and headed out the door to play in the tree fort and eat their strawberries. They mark the quarts they pick with weeds so they know which is the one they want to eat.

Image

Image

Tomorrow is something called Kidz Biz set up in our town hall and my kids have a karaoke booth so I will not be “jamming” until Sunday. For now I have the wonderfully sweet smelling strawberries in the fridge.

Image