Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Making Strawberry Jam - How To....

homemade strawberry jamI can't believe I waited so long to finally try my hand at making Jam, but now that I know how easy it is, I'll definitely be making it again. Honestly, start to finish took less than an hour. Also, I was surprised how well it turned out considering the fact that I broke a couple of official jam making "rules".


The first rule - Use fresh fruit.

Well, I didn't have any fresh strawberries, but I had a lot of frozen ones so I thought what the heck. I'm happy to report the frozen berries worked perfectly fine.


using frozen fruit to make jamThe second rule (and I quote exactly as printed in the directions) - "DO NOT PUREE... Jam should have bits of fruit".

Hmmm... that suspiciously sounded like the preference of the direction's author to me. Why not puree the fruit? What if I don't like chunks of fruit in my jam??? As it turns out, I really DON'T like chunks of fruit in my jam, so I threw caution to the wind and pureed my thawed berries in a blender. Again, I'm happy to report the pureed berries worked perfectly fine!


using frozen strawberries to make jamBut hey, if you're the kind of person who prefers chunks of fruit, by all means, smash your berries by hand.

Okay, now that we have all that sorted out, let's continue.


sterilize canning jarsBe sure you have all your sterilized canning jars, screw bands, tools, etc ready to go. The dishwasher works great for most of the items...


boil lids...but the flat lids were too small for my dishwasher rack, so I boiled them on the stove top. Keep the lids in the hot water until you're ready to use them.


tips for making jamYou'll also need to have a large stockpot full of boiling water ready and waiting.


And don't forget about the sugar. This particular recipe calls for 7 cups, or 1400 grams. For those of you who are trying to do the math right now, that's roughly 7/8 cup of sugar per jar... so uh, just forget I said anything.


make jamOkay, let's begin. Start by combining the fruit and pectin; stir to dissolve pectin. Add 1/2 tsp butter (this is optional, but it reduces foaming). Stirring constantly over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil, one that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred.


making jamImmediately add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute; stirring constantly.

(note: I could tell there wasn't going to be enough room in the small saucepan after I added the sugar, so I transferred my fruit/pectin mixture to a larger pan)


After boiling for one full minute, remove the pan from the heat and skim the froth from the surface. The froth isn't very pretty so you don't want to put it in your jars, but it's perfectly delicious and quite edible. Cook's treat :)


filling jarsNow it's time to fill the jars. This recipe yields a little more than 8 8oz jars. That nifty funnel helped make filling the jars pretty mess free, but I still managed to get a few drops of jam on my jar rims. Easily remedied with a warm paper towel.


canning magnet toolTime to top the jars with the lids. Check out this neat magnetic tool - allows you to place the lids on the jars without touching them - keeps everything nice and sterile. After the lids are in place, add the screw bands and screw them on "hand tight". That means don't over tighten them. Be careful, the jars are extremely hot!


processing jamTime to "process" the jars. I don't have a special canning basket, so I just put the jars in a large stock pot. The water level should be 1-2 inches above the jars. This jar lifter thingy keeps your fingers out of the hot water.


processing jamCover the stock pot and bring the water to a gentle boil; boil for 10 minutes*.
(*high altitude, follow the special instruction included with the pectin)


lids poppingAfter 10 minutes, remove the jars from the boiling water and let them rest on a towel until you hear them POP (mine started popping almost immediately). That popping sound is good. Very, very good! When the jars are cool, check the seals by pressing the middle of the lid with your finger. If the lid springs back, the jar isn't sealed properly and you'll need to store that jar in the refrigerator. For the record, all of my jars sealed up just fine.

That's about all there is to it!
I should mention that there are complete directions in the pectin package (I used SureJell).

A special thanks to my cake buddy Gia for sending me such great tips and directions.


Strawberry Jam
makes 8 8-ounce jars, plus a little bit more

5 cups crushed strawberries (frozen berries work wonderfully)
7 cups granulated sugar
1 package SureJell Premium Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter, optional

Directions: Follow the step-by-step instructions above (or refer to the printed directions from the Pectin's package insert).

*High Altitude - Processing times vary for high altitude locations. See pectin package directions for details.


Now you can sit back and enjoy a sense of accomplishment as you admire your handy work...


...and have fun pretending you're a photographer (unless you really are a photographer - I am not).


strawberry jamDon't forget to share!


home made strawberry jamEnjoy!


50 comments:

  1. If you are NOT a photographer, I am not sitting here writing this!!!
    Your pictures could grace any cookery book, they are SO good, and your jam/jelly looks good too. I love your jars, they will look so nice on the breakfast table. Jeannette

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  2. Hey! I'm really impressed for what you've done! How I wish I am living next door :D

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  3. Jeannette - you are too sweet! :)
    Thank you Anncoo!

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  4. Great Job!I love canning.I just did a batch of Bread and butter pickles!Nice Pictures.

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  5. Looks great! Your pictures do look like the magazine pictures. I bet it smelled good in your kitchen.

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  6. i LOVE strawberry jam too! I just made some the other day and all the jars are already gone :( That stuff goes FAST!
    -Mini Baker :)

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  7. What a great step-by-step for anyone who wants to make jam, and a fun read, too. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

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  8. I agree, your pictures are beautiful. My kids recently decided to make some strawberry preserves and since then that's all they want to eat. It's difficult when they are not in season anymore but it was fun doing this over the summer.

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  9. Homemade fresh strawberry jam is so delishous. I don't make it anymore since the children left the house. I'm the only one eating it. My husband more like bread with Nutella!

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  10. This looks wonderful! I too have never made Jam before. I've been tempted recently as there is a lot of fresh, wild fruit near my apartment. Perhaps I should go and do a spot of blackberry picking? Blackberry Jam, yum.

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  11. Three things: 1.Jam looks delicious and I will give a try next year. Good instructions. 2. I did not realize I could get the email alert either :) 3. Thanks for the rainbow picture :) :) !!

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  12. You made this look so easy, I think I'll have to find me one of those "jar lifter thingys" and give it a try. I always thought you had to have a pressure cooker or a pot with an insert, but I have everything needed — except the thingy. lol

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  13. Sounds like a lot of work that you've made sound simple :)

    I've never made my own jam. It would be totally cool to do that!

    Thanks for sharing.

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  14. yummy! I have been wanting to make my own jam/jelly.... now I really want to make it!!

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  16. OOOOOOOO my goodness.......what's more comforting than strawberry jam ?? Hello !!!!
    Gorgeous photos...........
    yummy lumma !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. This is really the best tutorial I've seen on canning and jam. I've always wanted to try both, but I wasn't exactly sure of the steps and how to do everything. But your post and the photos are really helpful. I will be bookmarking your site.

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  18. Love to see just canned jars of goodness all lined up. They just sparkle in the sun like jewels!

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  19. Your jars of jam look amazing! You gave such great tips too. I am back to making my peach jam again today. How wonderful it will taste this winter and share with friends, altho I did have toast and jam this morning for breakfast. Happy jam eating! Thanks for coming by.

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  20. I love your pictorial tutorial. Using your instructions everyone should be able to make jam. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

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  21. You did a great job. I highly recommend the book The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Topp & Howard. You will learn in there that frozen fruit is just fine as is frozen corn and other quick prep items. The best thing is you can do a few jars of something when you buy it on sale and you don't have to take over the whole kitchen for prepping and canning. Super fast.

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  22. I think it will be one you will end up buying. Glad to help. I look forward to seeing what you can. (not what you can’t, ha, ha I crack myself up)
    Lori

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  23. You wild rule breaker! Since I never had 5 cups of berries to harvest at one time, I collect my berries and freeze them until I have enough to make jam.

    P.S. I love the pictures!

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  24. I love homemade jam! I haven't made it in awhile. All those jars look so beautiful!

    Thanksfor stopping by my blog. And yes I remember Jiffy pop. We used to get so excited when my mom would buy to take along cmaping!

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  25. Wow, I really need to proof read my comments before I post them! LOL Sorry for all the typos in that comment!

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  26. Hahaha... I hate when that happens!
    :)

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  27. Arent't they just poster pretty! Oh and how delicious on a homemade biscuit with butter.
    Happy Twirls

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  28. Your jam looks so pretty in the jars. Don't you just love to look at it. I love canning.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

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  29. I love the jam. Your pictures are beautiful! Now I want to make more jam. :)
    Have a great weekend!

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  30. I made homemade strawberry jam for the first time this year and i doubt I'll ever eat the stuff from the store again. There simply is no comparison! Without looking your recipe sounds the same as the one I used. I tried to reduce the sugar on later batches and learned that significantly decreases the amount of end product so I stick with all 7 cups.

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  31. Now that you have finished making my jam, which I truly appreciate ... chuckle! Gorgeous pics. Have a great weekend. TTFN ~Marydon

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  32. Everyone is making homemade jams and jelly and salsa this week at FF. I have never made fresh jam but your post photos helps me to see the step by step process. Thanks for sharing.
    Joyce

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  33. Great photos. These will make lovely presents too! Thanks so much for sharing with Momtrends.

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  34. I haven't made jam in many years. I never thought to use frozen berries, and I am going to have to give this a try. Great photos!

    Jane

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  35. I love canning and preserving! Thanks for sharing!

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  36. Awesome photo of the jars all lined up! I've never tried my hand at jam either, but you make it sound do-able. Maybe I'll have to give it a go one of these days.

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  37. I think the rule about having pieces of fruit in your jam is one of naming... it's a jelly otherwise ;)

    Great pictures!

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  38. Actually, jelly is made from fruit juice without fruit pulp, so I don't think this would be properly described as jelly.

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  39. What beautiful pictures, and I know that jam must taste wonderful. There is nothing better than homemade jam on homemade bread. Yum!!!

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  40. You must be so proud of your finished product! The red is gorgeous. :~D

    e-Mom @ Susannah's Aprons
    http://susannahsaprons.blogspot.com

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  41. What a great post! Thanks for the wonderful photos.

    I am posting about preserves today and I am going to link to your blog.

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  42. I love Strawberry Jam! Yours looks beautiful! I have been seeing so many canning posts lately & have really been wanting to try it myself. I think maybe you've inspired me to give it a go!

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  43. The pictures were great!!! You are talented. Thanks so much for the step by step. Maybe I'll try it some day.

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  44. Wow, those jars look so pretty! You did a great job.

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  45. Wow!! Yours came out so pretty! I didn't even think about if my family would like chunks or not. I hope they're ok with it. :)

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  46. Neat! I'll have to get me one of those magnetic lid picker-uppers! I've been canning for awhile but have never seen one of those...have had some pretty hot fingers though picking up hot lids! :)

    Have a great day!

    Sarah

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  47. Your jam looks terrific. If you like cooked jam, try Freezer Jam. Nocooking or boiling at all. Buy
    a package of Certo pectin which has 2 packages of pectin in it. Enough for two batches of jam.
    It has a brighter taste than cooked jam and right about now, it is strawberry picking season. I love it and so do all the recipients I give it to!! Try it - you'll love it. Just follow the directions given and it works out every time. Try the apricot recipe too. Maxine

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  48. Thanks Maxine - I have a package of certo in the pantry. I'll have to give it a try - thanks for letting me know the flavor is even better!

    :)
    ButterYum

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  49. This is excellent!! Only if my grandmother and great grandmother had the luxury of all our items we have today to can with. Canning is a lost art not many people attempt it. I always can and love doing it. I will can for years to come. This is a great how to post. I enjoyed reading this step by step procedure ;)

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  50. Another rule you can break when making jellies & jams....As long as your jam, jars, lids & rings are hot--put into to jars, tighten lids down & turn upside down onto a towel. Jars will seal, no need for processing. I have always made my jams & jellies like this and never had a problem.

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