Monday, May 9, 2016

Homemade Strawberry Jam

I recently got a free flat of strawberries (yay!) and I decided the best way to use them was to make strawberry jam. I really do love canning. It's incredibly satisfying to me. You start with some simple ingredients and jars and in the end you have homemade preserves to last your family for months. The best thing about this jam recipe is that it tastes SO good. It really tastes like fresh, sweet strawberries - so much better than any strawberry jam you can buy. I got this recipe from Pioneer Woman - her Food From My Frontier cookbook - but I also think this recipe is on her website. I use a propane camp-stove set up in my garage (with the door open of course) to can because it keeps the mess off of my cook-top inside and I find it boils the water in my canner so much quicker. With strawberry season coming I hope you'll try this recipe. Canning is fun!

Homemade Strawberry Jam
-makes 12 half pint (8 oz) jars

7 1/2 cups mashed strawberries (about 6 lbs strawberries)
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
1 1/2 packages (49 grams each) powdered fruit pectin
10 1/2 cups sugar
12 half pint canning jars
12 new jar lids
12 jar rings

1. Run 12 half pint jars through a dishwasher cycle, without detergent. Leave jars in dishwasher until ready to use so they stay hot. Fill your canner pot, rack removed, with water and bring to a boil. While it is coming to a boil, follow the instructions below.

2. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer. Add the jar lids and allow them to stay in pan while you prepare jam.

3. Place hulled strawberries on a large rimmed baking sheet and mash them with a potato masher until they are mostly mashed, but you have some small bits/chunks left. Measure out 7 1/2 cups of mashed strawberries and pour into a large stock pot.

4. Add lemon juice, stir and bring to a boil over high heat.

5. Pour in powdered pectin and stir to combine.

6. Pour in sugar and stir and bring to a hard boil.

7. Boil stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and skim off excess foam from the top with a large spoon.

8. Using a canning funnel, fill hot jars with jam mixture leaving 1/4 inch head space.

9. Run a clean knife around the inside of the jars to remove any air pockets.

10. Use a damp cloth to wipe any stickiness from the rim and outside of the jars.

11. Remove lids from the saucepan and place on top of the jars, center lid, and screw on jar rings. Don't overly tighten the rings, just make them finger tight.

12. Place jars into the removable rack of your canner. Lower the rack in the canner so that the jars are covered with water. Make sure the waster comes back up to a boil, then cover and allow to boil/process for 15 minutes (at my high elevation - over 6000 feet - I process for 22 minutes). 

13. Turn off heat and leave the jars in the canner with the lid on for another 15 minutes. 

14. Lift rack out of water and remove jars to a towel lined counter. Allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours. You should hear the lids pop as they seal.

15. After 24 hours, check the seals of all the jars: remove the rings from jars and press each jar's lid in the center. The lids should be tightly indented and not give at all when you press your finger on them. Jars can be stored on your shelf, but once opened store in the fridge. If any jars have failed to seal, store them in the fridge and use right away (you can reprocess them, but in the off chance you do have one not seal, why not just use it first).

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