Monday, May 16, 2016

How to make strawberry jam

Making homemade strawberry jam is a little spring tradition I've had going for the past six years. We absolutely love it, and I usually make a lot because I don't like the taste of store-bought jam anymore (even when I was hugely pregnant last year I managed to crank out 5 batches!). Homemade jam is one of those things that sounds hard/annoying/intimidating, but this recipe is not! No sterilizing of jars is required! With the right tools and a good system, it is really easy (though a bit time consuming). I use my sister Lauren's recipe (also the recipe inside of the Sure-Jell package), which is below along with my tips.

Strawberry Jam
2 pints strawberries (we get ours from the local berry patch)
4 cups sugar
1 box Sure-Jell fruit pectin (near the jello + pudding in the grocery store)
3/4 cup water

Rinse and hull the strawberries. I use this strawberry huller which is a huge time-saver! Place hulled strawberries in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. It's best to use a potato masher instead of a food processor, because you don't want the fruit to be puréed.

Measure exactly 2 cups of the crushed strawberries and put into a large bowl. Add exactly 4 cups of sugar. Stir to combine and let it sit for 10 minutes.

While the berries and sugar are sitting, add 3/4 cup of water to a small saucepan. Add in the bag of fruit pectin and stir to combine. Cook on high heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Once it boils, stir and cook for 1 more minute. Remove it from the heat and add it to the fruit mixture. Stir together for about 3 minutes, until all of the sugar dissolves.

Divide the mixture into clean jars (no need to sterilize!). These Ball mason jars are the ones that I always use. They are pint-sized, freezer safe, and wide mouth, which helps keep things a little less messy. I highly recommend getting a canning funnel as well! You do not want this sticky jam mixture getting all over your jars or your countertops. Pour the mixture into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top so it can expand in the freezer. Tightly screw the lids onto the jars and let them sit on the counter for 24 hours. Store jam in freezer for up to a year. Thaw jam in fridge when you're ready to eat it. This recipe will fill 3 pint-sized jars.

Also, if math isn't your thing, there are 8 pints in a gallon. So, if you pick a gallon of strawberries at the berry patch, you can make 4 batches of the above recipe, which will fill 12 of these Ball mason jars (which is one pack).

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