One of the things that I most look forward to in the summertime is the fresh local produce. We do have our own garden at home but haven’t gotten to the point yet where we get enough veggies left over to freeze or can. So I count on my local farmers markets, roadside produce stands, and larger family owned farms.
I’m still in the very beginning stages of my canning journey but let me tell you, there is nothing more delicious than fresh Strawberry Jam! Not only is it yummy (& super inexpensive) it’s also so easy to make! So far jam is the only thing I’ve canned and it seems to be the perfect first step for the canning beginner.
A few weeks ago while up at camp my mom and I picked up a pallet of fresh strawberries from an Amish family down the road. Not only are they grown pesticide free they are also half the price of the berries that are sold at the grocery stores. After Mom and I split them in have we ended up with about 10 quarts each. That is A LOT of strawberries!
Needless to say I have at least enough jam to last me through the
winter next month. Here is the simple recipe that I used. Keep in mind this recipe yields about 4 pints or 8 half pint jars:
- 2 quarts of fresh strawberries
- 7 cups of sugar
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1 pouch of fruit pectin
Before working with your ingredients you’ll want to make sure your jars, lids and bands have been washed in warm soapy water. I had jars and bands left over from last year so I did use those but I bought new lids. You always want to use new lids to ensure that you get a proper seal on your jars.
Once everything was clean I put the jars, lids, and bands into a pot of water that had just come to a boil and then turned off the heat. You should always keep the jars hot so that when you pour the hot jam into them they don’t crack! Now to the actual jam making! You’re going to hull the strawberries and then put them into a colander so they can be rinsed off in the sink.
Then mash up the berries and put them into a large pot with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil while stirring constantly.
Once you have a rolling boil add the liquid pectin, bring back to a hard boil (stirring constantly) and let it boil for exactly one minute.
Now for the fun part! Turn off the heat and using a spoon skim off any foam on the top.
Then you will ladle the jam into each of the jars using a canning funnel and wipe of the rim with a towel. Place the lids on top and screw the bands on just finger tight. Don’t screw them on too tight or you may run the risk of breaking the glass.
Once the jars have been filled and the tops are in place you will carefully lower the jars into your canner. I used a large stockpot of boiling water with a rack in the bottom. Make sure there is at least an inch of water covering the jars. Put the lid on the pot and let them boil for ten minutes. Then carefully remove the jars and place them on a towel to cool.
After a few minutes you’ll start to hear the telltale POP of the lids sealing. Leave your jars of jam alone for at least 24 hours to ensure that they are properly sealed. The best way to tell if the seal is good is by pushing on the middle of the lid. If you have any flex at all they haven’t sealed properly and you should refrigerate them or follow the instructions on the pectin for re-sealing.
That’s it, you now have fresh homemade Strawberry Jam to enjoy! My kiddos would choose this over the stuff from the store any day. Plus, they make great frugal gifts for friends and family! This summer I’m hoping to branch out and can more than just jams. Applesauce and vegetables are definitely on the agenda and depending on how successful I am (crossing fingers) I will be sharing those recipes later in the season.
Have you tried canning? Do you have any tips of tricks to share?