At the beginning of the strawberry season, I decided to make strawberry jam. Nothing quite like homemade jam! When my kids were growing up, we began making jam because of an apricot tree in our backyard. We could not seem to eat it or give it away fast enough…..and I really hate to waste anything! I became a sort of a self-taught jam maker knowing no one (at that time) who made jam but plenty of people who liked to eat it! We would make the jam in smallish jars to give as gifts. Before the internet, I had relied on the inserts of the pectin packages or a trip to the library for directions. When I began making jam after a long hiatus, I found that nothing much had changed. I recently made three batches-with some very special helpers!
The first batch was with my daughter and her young baby. Keeping this little one entertained while we got to the business of making jam required the help of Thommmee-aka-Poppa.
We gathered our supplies and off we went!
We were moderately successful. The taste of the jam was fantastic but did not set up as well as expected. I kept some of it and used it for syrup on pancakes and ice cream. It was delicious.
I made the second batch with two granddaughters. It turned out perfectly! They were thrilled with their jam and so was I.
We used the same recipe so I thought I was just a little rusty…right…..? Wrong……
After all of that I did not really have any jam of my own to keep or give away so decided to make another batch. Mine did not set well either. I found out, however, you can “recook” your jam to get a good set (set meaning to make firm). You simply need to empty all of your jam into a pot, add more pectin and sugar, re-sterilize your jars and lids, and cook it some more. I had never heard of this before but it worked very well.
Here is the recipe from the Ball canning website that I used:
5 cups crushed strawberries (about 5 lbs)
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit® Classic Pectin
7 cups granulated sugar
8 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
1.) Prepare boiling water canner. I don’t have a canner so I used a big pot.Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) Combine strawberries and lemon juice in a 6 or 8-quart saucepan. (If you did not read my post on lemon marmalade, I found out you need to have a stainless steel pot for best results-although I did not see this anywhere on the recipe).
Gradually stir in pectin (I used powered pectin). Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
3.) Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. (This is where I went wrong-how do you determine exactly when the rolling boil that cannot be stirred down starts?) Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
4.) Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
I did buy more berries and froze them to try again at a later date. Our strawberry season is about over. I am sorry to say I did not take a picture before I gave away my beautiful jars of jam. I recreated a picture to show you how cute they turned out. We took them on our last road trip and gave them all away.
The reviews were good, I am pleased to say!