Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry Jam



Do you remember all these strawberries that we picked at the Berry Patch?  As the strawberry juices began to flow, so did the juices in mind.  What could we make?  Strawberry Pie.... ?  Strawberry Ice Cream.....?  Strawberry Smoothies....?  Strawberry Muffins......?  The possibilities seemed endless.   So much deliciousness lay ahead.  Finally, I decided to start with strawberry jam.


Just as I had never been berry picking before, I have also never made jam before.  Somehow, anything related to canning just seemed too scary.  I don't know if it's the hot liquid or the tongs or the fact that if something goes wrong I might inadvertently send someone to the hospital with food poisoning, but the images in my mind have always loomed greater than the desire to tackle my fear.

Until now.  Until now when I realized that it is possible to make delicious strawberry jam without the canning process!



The first thing one must do is clean all the strawberries.  Don't let those big beauties at Costco fool you.  Strawberries grow very low to the ground and collect on them lots and lots of dirt!  A good soaking in a bowl of water is a great start.  I was amazed at how dark the wash water of hand picked strawberries became!


Take the stems off and admire your work as your freshly washed berries glisten in the sun.


Next, get out your grandma's potato masher and mash four cups of berries.  It's OK to share the fun.
Leave some chunks for good measure.  After all, this is JAM, not JELLY!


Next, add four cups of sugar.


Mix until the sugar dissolves.


Add 5 Tablespoons of Fruit Pectin and the juice of one lemon.


Bring Mixture to a rapid boil for 10 - 15 minutes or until the jam reaches the "Gel" stage.


This is the tricky part.  What is a "Gel Stage" anyway?


After a quick call to Aunt Margie, the expert jam maker, I learned that the mixture should stick to the back side of metal spoon.  Or, put a spoonful in a chilled bowl and see if it has thickened as desired.  Obviously, this is a skill that develops with experience.  When in doubt, go with the 15 minutes.  Cooked jam will deepen in color and, without canning, should be stored in the fridge.


Delicious!



Easy Strawberry Jam

4 cups cleaned, fresh strawberries
4 cups sugar
5 Tablespoons fruit pectin
Juice of one lemon

Mash the strawberries.  Leave some lumps.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add lemon juice and fruit pectin.  Boil for 10 - 15 minutes or until the jam reaches the "gel" stage.  Pour into five 1/2 pint jars. Refrigerate until ready to use.



9 comments:

  1. The first photo actually made my mouth water. Have you ever tried freezer jam? Ball has a low sugar pectic that does not need to be cooked at all. The process is mash, add sugar and pectin, stir, freeze (or eat). Easy.

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  2. I like easy! I've only recently started canning, a little more seriously this year than before. I avoided it for the same reasons as you--I can barely spell ptomaine poisoning let alone kill my family with it.
    I've done hot jam and freezer jam with success. We're all still alive. I'm trying my hand at peaches today. But your recipe looks simple enough that I might have to get myself some strawberries to try it soon! I wonder if you could do it with other fruit, too?

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  3. Yes, I'm sure any combination of berries or stone fruit would work! The basic recipe is 4 cups fruit (2 cups mashed) to four cups of sugar. I would definitely love to try the low sugar version. I see more berry picking in my future! :-)

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  4. Wonderful. I love strawberry ANYTHING...:))

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  5. What a beautiful Strawberry Jam and a very easy recipe. We would really enjoy this on our biscuits.Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week. Have a great week end!
    Miz Helen

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  6. That looks so good! I've been looking for a strawberry jam recipe. We would love for you to come share this at our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday" link party! http://sixsistersstuff.blogspot.com/2011/07/strut-your-stuff-saturday-week-2.html

    Love,
    The Sisters @ sixsistersstuff.blogspot.com

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  7. I've just got to learn how to make jam like you do; this recipe will help me do just that! I can't thank you enough!

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  8. I came across your blog on Add A Pinch...I love it! This jam looks delish!

    I'm hosting a linky party..."Fusion Fridays" {Open All Weekend!}
    http://janedeereblog.blogspot.com

    I would love it if you would come by and link up!

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  9. Beautiful photos! I have just started making jam and my boys love it. Thanks for more good tips too!

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