Strawberry Jam

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.

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We gathered our supplies and off we went!

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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.

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I made the second batch with two granddaughters. It turned out perfectly! They were thrilled with their jam and so was I.

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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

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Directions:

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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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 The reviews were good, I am pleased to say!
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8 thoughts on “Strawberry Jam

  1. Don’t I hate to waste things too…I am not sure why I’ve never made jam even though I have three books on “Jams and Preserves” I presume the recipe you give here is now foolproof? I am tempted to try and make some jam too…

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  2. Hmm…. I’m not sure I can call it foolproof. I guess you have to decide if you can determine when a full rolling boil starts. What is really odd to me, however, is that years ago when I had no idea what I was doing, I never had a problem. Don’t know what’s up with that!! maybe I was trying to be too cautious, ha ha Thanks for checking in and good luck. I say go for it!

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  3. YUM! That really sounds good, and what a cutie. I want to make apricot jam, that sounds really good. Jean (can’t think of her last name, but Rialto) used to make jam, pickles, and everything. Delish. I made lasagna the other day and took some to my family. I felt so good because my Chelsea asked for my recipe. I had to really sit down and try to think of the steps and everything I just naturally put in it. She said I should write down all of my recipes, but I really don’t have too many special ones.

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  4. I bet you have more than you think! You should type them up. I wish I had more family recipes. I may try some new canning projects soon. Good to hear from you again!

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  5. Jan, I used to make jam and jelly but haven’t in a long time. Did you know that my mom, Dorothy Moody aka the “teacher”, was an excellent jam and jelly maker? She took pride especially in her jelly which was best she said when it was as clear as a bell. She would hold it up to the light to see how pure it looked– unclouded, no bubbles and no fruit pieces to be seen. Because of that, I almost always made jam instead of jelly which is jammy, not clear. My mom also made plum sauce and used to can that too. She grew up in South Dakota, as you probably remember, and the folks out there canned much in her day. I bought some plums the other day and made her plum sauce with Stevia since we have really cut down on sugar and it came out pretty good. I didn’t make enough to can, but it is a great ice cream topping, or good at breakfast time with a littl half-and- half on top. Just a smidge though as we have cut back on that delicious stuff too. I kind of made up the recipe. The main thing is to leave the skins on the plums. cut them up small, discarding the pits and put in a small amount of water with cornstarch for thickening. I use about 8 plums. Add Stevia or sugar until you like the taste. I use about a third of a cup and maybe a half cup of water with a couple of tablespoons of corn starch. Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and cook the plum mixture until it’s thick and bubbly. Then, I lower the heat to a simmer so that the skins pretty much dissolve into the mixture after about 10 minutes with the lid on. If the skins don’t all dissolve, don’t worry. They taste fine in the sauce. I suppose you could strain out the skins, but we like them and they add more fiber anyway.

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  6. No, I did not know that! I am NOT surprised to know her jelly turned out so perfectly. I love jam also and do not think I would have the patience to make that perfect jelly that your mom made. I would love to try your plum sauce. It sounds delicious. Isn’t it wonderful that all of the old ways are not lost?

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