How To Make Strawberry Jam
I started making jam around 11 am the morning of July 4th and didn’t finish my last batch until 5pm that evening. WHEW. PATRIOTISM. DIY. RED (for stripes?). 8 pounds of freshly picked strawberries are now in 16 jam jars.
The real beginning of this process began a few days ago at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island where we picked our strawberries.
Yeah, she lasted about 10 minutes in that hot sun. Don’t be fooled, Joe and I picked most of those. But she does look cute, doesn’t she?
Then we brought them home and the next day we washed them
and cut their tops off to get ready to make jam.
Strawberry top removal
Little fingers for little berries
These berries were SMALL and so 8 pounds of top slicing with a 7 yr old took a WHILE and by the end we felt like this:
"I never want to see another strawberry again bleehhh"
But that was only the first step! Next we mashed them. The berries should get mashed until they are liquid, it’s up to you if you want to leave some whole or partially whole berries in your jam. We mashed them all the way. The recipe we used is on pickyourown.org (awesome website) under strawberry jam but all Pectin boxes have good recipes inside. It’s recommended to only make 6 cups of strawberries at a time because any more and the pectin will not work.
Mashing with a potato masher
Then we set aside 4 cups of sugar in a bowl, taking 1/4 cup out of that to mix with a package and a half of Sure Jell Pectin. Also recommended by pick your own is the pectin that requires less sugar (3 cups less) because it tastes better and is less sweet!
Sure-Jell Pectin for less sugar recipes
(While Briana mashed, I got our jars and lids ready. The jars were sanitized and heated in the dishwasher while the lids were boiled on the stove. You can also sanitize your jars by washing with hot soapy water and keeping them in the canner to stay hot — they need to be hot so they don’t crack when you put the hot jam in them)
Then we put our mashed berries and the pectin-sugar mixture in a pot to boil:
Once this boiled, we added the rest of the sugar.
Then I boiled the entire jam mixture again (the berries, pectin and rest of the sugar), hard for one minute. The jam is ready to be put into jars when it is sticky enough to stay on a cold metal spoon.
Getting hot lids for the jars with a magnetic grabber
I poured the hot jam into the hot jars with a wide mouth funnel, wiped the threads clean, and then put the lids on. Now they are ready to be processed in the canner!
I left a bit too much head room on these two jars — you should only leave about 1/4 – 1/8 of an inch.
Make sure to balance the jars in the canner so they don't tip over while processing
Once they boil hard for 10 minutes, they are done!
Tools you should invest in: (jar tightener is really not necessary but it came in the kit I bought which also included that magnetic top grabber mentioned above and the wide mouthed funnel):
Jar grabber (L) Jar tightener (R)
I flip them over to ensure sealing:
Jam right out of the canner
It takes any amount of time between right away and a few hours to hear that “pop” which lets you know that your jars are sealed air-tight and you won’t be getting botulism. Joe explained to me that if botulism is present or growing, it produces air which prevents the air-tight seal thus letting you know not to eat that one. If one of your jars doesn’t seal, you can just eat it immediately/within a few days but don’t store it.
This was the first batch of 3! In total, 8 pounds of berries made eight 12 ounce jars and eight 8 ounce jars – 150 ounces of jam altogether! This procedure is pretty much the same for all jams and spreads, sugar may be tweaked, lemon may be added but this is pretty much what canning entails.