Monday, September 9, 2013

38 x 38 - Make Strawberry Jam

While I was growing up, my parents had a huge garden. I hated it. Loved the harvest, hated the work. Weeding, sowing, picking, weeding, weeding, weeding. And that wasn't even the worst of it....then there was canning! 

It always seemed like a long process. Spend all day over a hot stove in August boiling. Or at the table cutting. And the mixing, the boiling, the filling. I swore I'd never do it. 

But there was the first year I was in 4-H. My project was canning and I won Grand Champion and Grand Champion Reserve for my picked beets and zucchini relish. Those were the glory days...haha

Then I grew up and I realized I miss the taste of home canned goodies. My mom makes pickled beets, pickles, and salsa each year and I hoard the few jars she gives me for special occassions. But I especially miss the jams and jellies! The store bought stuff just isn't the same. It doesn't even taste like whatever fruit it's supposed to represent. And the list of ingredients is so long with a bunch of chemically-sounding words that I can't pronounce. 

So this weekend my good friend Stacy said she'd help me cross this one off my list. I bought the delicious strawberries at our local Farmers Market. These were some of the sweetest yummiest berries I've ever had. 

Then I searched for a recipe. There are so many out there but I finally chose Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Jam recipe. I liked that it was 4 simple ingredients and they were all recognizable. I will say my eyes popped when I saw the amount of sugar. 

Here is her recipe and instructions which I found incredibly easy to follow. If you go to her blog, she has great photos too - I suggest visiting the link above. 
Simple Strawberry Jam
5 cups hulled mashed strawberries
7 cups sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 49g package powdered fruit pectin
1. Place 8 or 9 8-ounce mason jars in a large hot water bath canner (or pot). Cover with water and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer center lids in separate saucepan full of water.
3. Place mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in pectin until dissolved. Bring strawberries to a strong boil.
4. Add sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), then return mixture to a full (violent) boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds.
5. Skim foam off the top.
6. Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top.
7. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles.
8. Wipe rim of jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.
9. Remove center lid from simmering water and position it on top.
10. Put screw bands on jars, but do not overtighten!
11. Repeat with all jars, then place jars on canning rack and lower into the water.
12. Place lid on canner, then bring water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes.
13. Turn off heat and allow jars to remain in hot water for an addition five minutes.
14. Remove jars from water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
15. After 24 hours, remove screw bands and check the seal of the jars. Center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge.
Now I thought about walking you through step by step but Pioneer Woman doesn't so well, I'll leave it to her! 
It was great to have a fellow blogger and one of my best friends to pass the time with. Plus she's been canning a bit so it gave me some confidence. And she didn't think twice to grab the camera and snap a photo or two. 
the berries boiling (sort of looks disgusting in this photo)

There's a LOT of stirring involved in canning. Stir, stir, stir! 

And there's a heck of a lot of sugar involved. . . that's 7 cups! 

The jars are sterilized and ready to be filled. 

The jars are filled with delicious jam and getting ready to boil
And here I am removing the filled, boiled jars from the water
 When you pull the jars from the boiling water and you hear the "pop" of the lids sealing, it's time to celebrate! It's a success!! I put away 18 jars of strawberry jam! Yum!!

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