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Monday, July 9, 2012

Making Strawberry Jam 101

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Every year in the first week of July, our family heads to one of the local berry farms to pick a few buckets worth of strawberries.

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This year, the pickin's were slim due to an unseasonably wet summer that left many strawberry fields in a bog.  

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But, after a morning in the sun, we came home with a full cardboard flat and a couple of bellies full of of juicy berries.  (2 for the bucket...one for me...is kind of our pickin' style!) 

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In case you are wondering, it was not by accident that I dressed all my boys in red.  A few years back, I made the mistake of putting one of my boys in his favorite Curious George shirt.  Needless to say, George had a trash can funeral later that week when my washing machine failed to revive him. 

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Although we reserved some of our efforts for salads and snacks, most of our strawberries were set aside to make freezer jam.  (Best used atop vanilla ice cream...in my humble opinion.)

My kiddos and a few cousins joined me in the kitchen to make a year's supply.

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SIMPLE CONFESSION:  This recipe is nothing special...hence the name "Strawberry Jam 101."  You can get the same one on the back of any box of pectin.  But, if you are like me, sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words.  

A special thanks to SJLife Photos for the great pictures!

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Prewash storage containers.  
Since it is freezer jam, you certainly could use any old jar, but I prefer to use plastic Ball 8 oz. freezer jam jars because they are the perfect size, freeze well, clip together with other jars for stable stacking, and fit inside one another for easy storage until next summer.

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Gather necessary supplies.
The following directions are to be used with one 1.75 oz box of pectin.

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Rinse strawberries.  
After rinsing, I select the ones that were ripe or even over-ripe for making jam.

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Cut off the strawberry tops.

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Mash a few handfuls at a time. 
 I use a pie plate and a potato masher and leave the strawberries quite chunky.  

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Measure 2 cups of mashed strawberries.  Dump into a large mixing bowl.
I prefer my Pampered Chef measuring bowl as it has a pour spout for pouring the finished jam into jars.

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Add 4 cups sugar.  
Mix WELL.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

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Boil one package of pectin with 3/4 c. water.  
Stir constantly.  Once it comes to a boil, continue cooking one minute.

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Stir pectin mix into prepared fruit.  
Continue stirring until the mixture is no longer grainy. (2-3 minutes.)

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Pour completed jam into jelly jars.  
I use a large mouth funnel designed for canning, but simply pouring straight from the mixing bowl will work too.  Leave 1/2 inch space at the top to allow for expansion during the freezing process.

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Secure lids and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
Refrigerate for up to three weeks or freeze for a year.
This recipe will make about 5 Ball 8 oz. jars worth of jelly.  

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Since most of the steps are quite simple, even little ones can join in the fun. 
When the kids and I made jam last week, I assigned each one of them to one of the jam steps.  We formed an assembly-line type production and made 20 jars of delicious jam.

And that's THAT...easy peasy!
After all that work, I think it is time for a big bowl of ice cream
TOPPED WITH JAM!


Strawberry Jam
2 pt. fresh strawberries
4 c. sugar
1 box fruit pectin
3/4 c. water

1.  Wash and core strawberries.
2.  Mash until at your desired consistency.  
3.  Measure 2 cups mashed strawberries into large mixing bowl.
4.  Add 4 cups sugar.  Mix well.  Let stand for 10 minutes.
5.  In a small saucepan, combine fruit pectin and water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.
6.  Add pectin mix to prepared fruit.  Mix until sugar and pectin have been dissolved. (about 3 minutes)
7.  Pour into clean jars.
8.  Seal and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
9.  Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to one year.

Yields: 5 eight ounce jars


9 comments:

  1. Yum-interesting that your strawberries have suffered from the rain too. Our crop here, in the UK, has also suffered from very heavy rainfall. In our garden, the strawberries are still green not sure if they will ripen at all. By contrast the rhubarb has done very well but doesn't make such good jam esp for little ones.

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    Replies
    1. No, rhubarb jam does not sound nearly as appealing. It would make some great rhubarb crisp though.

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  2. Yum! We love putting our jam on waffles.

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    Replies
    1. Me too. It's a nice alternative for someone like me who doesn't really like syrup.

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  3. I've heard strawberries are great for whitening teeth -- do you know ??

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yum,we love strawberry jam here! What a fun way to get the kids involved! Stopping over from TGIF! Have a great weekend!!

    Nicole
    Mama Of Many Blessings

    ReplyDelete
  5. luv this! strawberries are my fav! thanks for sharing at tip toe thru tuesday!

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