Monday, July 7, 2014

Strawberry Jam

Remember the strawberry picking excursion from a few weeks ago? Well, we picked a lot of strawberries.  I planned to make jam with most of them so the following morning I went straight to work in the kitchen.  I used Ashley English's recipe from her Canning & Preserving book.

All that's needed is strawberries, sugar & lemon juice and of course all the jars and other canning supplies.
Her recipe calls for:
4 pints strawberries, hulled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

This amount should make 3 half pint jars, however I wanted to make more.  I decided to double the recipe 3 times to make 18 jars.  I'm not sure if I used extra strawberries or didn't cook mine down as much, but I ended up with 23 half pint jars, with a little extra.

For my doubling & then tripling of the recipe, I needed 24 pints of strawberries.  I worked on one batch at a time (8 pints for each batch).  First, the strawberries should be rinsed of all dirt/sand, hulled and sliced.  As I sliced them, I put them in 3 large plastic containers since I didn't have 3 bowls large enough.  Once each container had 8 pints of sliced strawberries, I added 4 cups of sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to each. Then covered with a dish towel and let sit for 2 hours at room temp.

Strawberries after sitting for 2 hours with sugar & lemon juice

After 2 hours, it's time to transfer the berries to a large pot.  Bring to a boil and boil for 20-25 minutes.  I let mine cook for about 30-40 minutes since I had double the amount.  As the berries boil, you want to skim the foam off the top and stir to prevent sticking.  Once the berries have cooked long enough (In Ashley's book, she explains how to test for gelling), it's time to fill the jars.  I didn't take pictures of this stage since I was working quickly and forgot. 

Strawberries just added to the pot

Strawberries boiling down to thicken

Almost ready!

Once your jars are filled, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, it's time for their waterbath.  The jam only needs to process for 10 minutes and then rest another 5 minutes before removing the jars from the canner.  Please refer to Ashley's book or another food preservation book for the proper steps for waterbath canning.
Allow the jars to cool on a dish towel at room temp for 24 hours before moving them.  After 24 hours you can remove the metal rings and dry any water that may be remaining on the rings to prevent rusting.  Don't forget to label your jars with the contents & date.

Now I have plenty of strawberry jam for us to enjoy for many months and extra for gift-giving as well!


I had originally planned to post this last Thursday, but with family here, I haven't been able to sit still long enough.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I get this week's garden update posted tomorrow morning. :-D

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