One of my goals for this summer was to make jam. Nothing fancy… just a big batch of strawberry with no embellishments. I must admit, the whole idea of canning anything had me a little intimidated. I don’t know why exactly. I guess canning seems like one of those activities where you need to have 10 plates spinning all at once. And there’s so much to remember! Once I actually did it, it was easier than I ever imagined. The only thing that would make it easier would be to have a few people doing it with you and to assign everyone their own station… someone to sterilize everything, someone to make the jam itself, someone to fill the jars, and someone to wipe the rims and screw on the lids (not too tight, though!)
I managed to do it all by myself. I am nowhere near a professional jam maker, but I’m proud to announce that my first batch came out perfect!
Here’s how you do it…
~ makes 7 half-pint jars ~
3 quarts (12 cups) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 (1.75 oz package) regular, powdered fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter
7 cups sugar
Place 1 cup of sliced strawberries in an 8-quart, heavy kettle or pot. Use a potato masher to crush berries. Continue adding berries and crushing them until you have approximately 5 cups. Stir in pectin and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Slowly add sugar (don’t just dump it in… My friend Maria taught me this trick! If you add the sugar all at once it will create a bunch of bubbles in your jam!) Once the sugar is added, return the jam to a full rolling boil for 1 full minute. Remove from heat. Skim off foam with a metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Don’t twist the lids on too tight or your jars won’t seal properly. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water starts to boil.
Remove jars from canner and place them, lid side up, on a clean, dish towel-lined counter. (Placing them on a bare counter can cause your jars to crack.)
As the jam starts to cool, turn the jars occasionally, top to bottom, to help evenly distribute the fruit and to prevent all of the fruit from floating to the top of your jam jars. Store upright to protect the seal.
Allow jam to sit on the counter for 24 hours before opening any of the jars. Check seals.
Shelf life: 1 year.
Refrigerate upon opening.