Last month, Jeff and I went to a nearby farm to pick strawberries. Because I knew I’d be squatting to pick berries, I didn’t bring my phone with me so I have no photos of the beautiful fields of green plants with red berries. Oh well.
I picked 2 quarts of strawberries to use for the jam. I think I actually picked a bit more than 2 quarts because I filled them so high.
Strawberry jam is my favorite so I was happy to get a chance to make some jam. It tastes so fresh! And it’s fairly easy to make.
Getting Everything Ready
Before getting started, I get all my gear in order:
- jars (Mason jars, Ball jars, any jam jars and I like 8 oz. jars) washed in hot soapy water
- new lids with rubber seals and screw top bands
- a big canning pot or water bath, with a lift-out wire rack if you can get one
- a second fairly large (6-8 quart) pot to cook the berries and sugar in
- canning tools, especially a device to lift the jars into and out of the pot and a funnel with a handle that fits the jar mouths (Ball sells a little kit for less than $10 that’s really handy)
- long-handled wooden spoon
- potato masher
- pot holders
- a couple of dish towels
- pectin (I like Certo pectin)
- 7 cups of sugar measured out so that it’s ready to go.
Strawberry Jam Making Procedure
Next, clean the strawberries. Remove the stem and green leaves. Wash the berries without soaking them and dry them a little bit.
Jeff asked me to leave some of the strawberries whole or almost whole rather than mashing them all like I usually do. At first, I was resistant, but he won be over. I mashed about 2/3 of the berries, and left 1/3 whole or halved if the strawberry was really big.
Fill the jam pot with water to a few inches from the top and add the clean jars. Bring to a boil to sterilize the jars and add in the lids and rings. Boil for about 10 minutes.
- Measure 4 cups of berries and add them 2/3 of them to the second pot. Mash the strawberries in the pot, and then add the remaining whole or halved berries. FYI, I didn’t measure my berries, and I think that was a mistake because I’m sure I had more than 4 cups of berries. The more the merrier, right? Not necessarily.
- Add the 7 cups of sugar to the pot.
- Turn the heat on to medium-low to start.
- Stir in one pouch of liquid pectin. (This is what the directions say to do. The blueberry jam recipe calls for two pouches of liquid pectin.)
- Add about a teaspoon of butter to reduce the foaming, though it seems to happen anyway.
- Turn up the heat to medium or medium-high and bring to a full, rolling boil while stirring with a wooden spoon. It usually takes less than 5 minutes to come to a boil. Boil for exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Shut off the heat and skim off the foam with a metal spoon.
- Ladle immediately into the clean jars. Fill to 1/4″ of the top. Wipe off the lip of the jars with a clean dishtowel or paper towel. Place the rubberized lid on top and then screw on the band. Do not tighten them all the way.
- With the jar lifter, place the jars back in the boiling water and boil them for 10 minutes to process them so they’ll last for several months without spoiling.
- Remove the jars, place them on a wire rack or on a dishtowel. You’ll hear the lids seal as they make a sucking or popping noise. Tighten the bands.
- Let the jars cool. And let them sit for about 24 hours to fully thicken.
The recipe is supposed to make 8 jars of jam, but because I had more strawberries, I got more.
So how did the jam come out? It was delicious, and I liked having some whole and halved berries in the jam. But it wasn’t quite as jelled as I would like it. I think the issue was that I had more than 4 cups of berries, and strawberries are very juicy and watery. I should have put in an extra half pouch of pectin and probably a little more sugar (though it certainly tastes plenty sweet!) Actually next time, I’ll measure the fruit and not put in extra. 😳
At any rate, I’m glad I captured the taste of spring in a jar! It’s great on yogurt, ice cream and of course, on toast. 😀