Following our strawberry picking extravaganza, we went back to my house for an afternoon of using up all those strawberries we had just picked.
Last year was the first time my husband and I tried our hand at making our own homemade jam. I thought it was going to be really hard and a lot of work, but it turned out to just involve needing a few basic canning supplies and some time on your hands. The resulting jam is very much worth it!
This year we used the recipe for “Damn that’s Good Strawberry Jam” from the Intimate Weddings blog. It is a no pectin recipe – which means it takes a bit longer to make. I think the taste is worth it, but it’s easy to find pectin jam recipes, which do cut down on the time required!
The recipe makes approximately 8 half pints, or 4 pints of jam.
- 13 cups of fresh strawberries
- 6 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice (we just used juice from a bottle of “Real Lemon” juice)
- Canning jars (found at your local grocery store, hardware store, or Target!)
- A funnel for canning jars
- Tongs for lifting the jars in and out of the water
- Regular tongs for handling the lids
- A large pot
- A ladle
Ball is a great company and has several cheap homemade canning kits – starting at around $10. If you don’t have any canning supplies, I really recommend starting with one of theirs. You can get them online or at any local grocery or supermarket type store (Target, Walmart).
You first want to take all the tops of the strawberries. A strawberry huller would work for this, or just cutting off the tops.
We had two cutting boards moving at once!
You’ll want to boil all the cans, instruments, and at the very end, lids (because the wax gets too soft if you boil it too long) to sterilize them. Then, once they are finished boiling, make sure you use the sterilized tongs to pull everything out, not your hands. You otherwise risk contamination.
Put the strawberries in a large pot (I use non-stick for ease of cleaning after!). Cook them on medium heat for a bit, until they easily mush with a potato masher. Mash them down until pulpy and bring to a simmer. Then add the sugar and lemon juice. Mix all of it together.
Bring the mixture to a boil and have it boiling for approximately 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. You’ll want to be monitoring it the whole time and with a spoon, skimming off any of the foam that builds up on top. The foam is perfectly safe to eat (in fact I save all I skim off and put it in the refrigerator to use as my first batch of jam!) but the jam doesn’t look as nice and clear in the jar with all the foam.
After 30 minutes of boiling, your jam should be a thicker consistency (which can be checked by spooning some onto the plate and seeing how it runs – if it is thicker than syrup, then you’re good to go! If not, keep boiling for a bit!)
Time to can!
Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars using the funnel. Once they’re all full, put the lids on and put the jars back in the large pot of boiling water.
Boil in the pot for 15 minutes and then pull out each jar to cool. You should hear a small pop! shortly after pulling them out to prove each jar sealed properly. If you don’t, just put that jar in the fridge and eat it first!