Strawberry jam

I invited a friend over recently, and she brought me a most fabulous birthday present: a canning starter kit. Wow! I was totally blown away, and very excited to make jam on my own. When Boyfriend came home and saw the canning kit, he got stars in his eyes and ran out to buy me some jars. Here is my first batch.

 

Before you get started: Listen up! Canning can kill (I should write slogans), so go read up on it before trying this at home.  In my first post about making jam with my sister M, I went into very detailed instructions, but this time I’m just posting the basic recipe and sterilization information:

  • Sanitize jars in the oven, pre-heat to 108°C / 225°F and heat jars for 10 minutes, then keep in the hot oven until needed.
  • Sanitize lids in a pot of steaming (not boiling) water, keep in hot water until needed.

Time required: 2 days (1 hour of actual work, needs to set 24 hours)

Yields: um… stay tuned on that

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $18.

Cost per jar: well…nevermind

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Pectin
  • 4½ C of crushed strawberries
  • 7 C granulated white sugar

Instructions:

1. Place canning rack in canning pot, fill with water about halfway. Simmer and cover.  Sanitized jars should be in hot oven, sanitized lids should be in hot water (see tips above).

2. In a bowl combine ¼ C white sugar and pectin. (Reserve the rest of the sugar for later.)

3. Crush the berries with a potato masher. Make sure you have 4½ C of crushed berries, which is not the same thing as 4½ C of berries. Very important difference!

Actually I didn’t own a potato masher until yesterday, I took the berries out to thaw, and realized I had nothing to crush them with. One rushed trip to the store and…

4. Transfer berries to large pot, and stir in the sugar/pectin mixture.

5. Put pot on stove and bring to a boil, then stir in remaining sugar. Increase heat til you achieve a rolling boil (can’t stir it down). Let pot boil for 1 min, stirring often.

You should stir often so it won’t scorch. It actually started to boil over at one point.

6. Remove from heat, stir and skim for 5 minutes.

Voila!

7. Place a funnel into a hot jar. Use a fresh measuring cup to spoon the jam into the jar.

8. Fill to the ¼” mark (the one tool I don’t have is a headspace gauge so I eyeballed this to the top ring).

What’s this?? Three filled jars and I’m out of jam. WTF.

9. Use the end of a measuring spoon to gently stir out air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar clean when you are done. (Jam on the rim will affect the seal.)

10. Use magnetic lifter to get the hot lids onto the jars.

11. Use your finger tips to screw the ring onto the jar. You don’t want it super-tight, because the air in the jar will expand as the hot jam heats it up, and that hot air needs to be able to escape the jar, to create the vacuum seal when the jar cools.

12. Now it’s time to use the canning pot and rack. The water should be hot but not boiling yet. Use the jar lifter to set the jars onto the rack. The water needs to be 1 to 2″ above the tops of the jars.

13. Turn up the heat until you have a full rolling boil, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.

14. Use jar lifter to remove jars from pot, and set into a lined pan. Leave room between jars for air to circulate. Let jars sit undisturbed for 24 hours. You should hear a “pop” as the jars cool.

15. The next day check the seal. (If you have sealed your jars correctly, you can pick them up by the lids without the lids coming off.) Remove the rings, the lids should be “sucked down”. Press down on the centre of the lids with your finger. If the lid goes down it did not seal.

Verdict: Well, considering I don’t even like strawberry anything (except the fresh fruit), I thought this was pretty good. I made strawberry because it sounded easy and Boyfriend likes it. The reason I only got three jars of jam is that I used the wrong size jars. I thought I would get six or seven 250 mL jars, but what I had was 500 mL jars, oh well!

Playlist: Final Fantasy

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